Three of the College World Series teams arrived in Omaha Wednesday night and the rest come Thursday.
The Texas Longhorns have made this trip more than any other team, 35 times. Texas Tech is making its first ever CWS appearance and only Louisville was here last year. That means team hosts have their work cut out for them, making sure these players and coaches feel at home.
“Where they need to be, certain locations, finding baby-sitting for the coaches' family members or even how to cash a check, where to go to church, those type of things, just basically the PR for the city of Omaha with the team,” says Jim Costello with the Kiwanis Club.
The hosts have been meeting teams at the airport and meeting their every last need for decades. "South Carolina had a specific menu that they had to have in the dugout for every game, which really was a lot of fun. My wife and I would go to Walmart at 1, 1:30 in the morning to buy all this stuff for the next day or the next game."
Their hosting services include a team meal complete with more than 100 Omaha Steaks and 60 pounds of chicken.
The TD Ameritrade Park chefs have two goals in mind when coming up with the stadium menu, deliver a taste of Omaha and bring the “wow” factor. They've beefed up the old hot dog with a danger dog (buffalo pulled chicken and jalapeno slaw with chipotle ranch) and the cowboy dog (onions, bacon and barbecue sauce). Plus a bit of a nod to the old ballpark with the Blatt dog (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato).
Then there are the nachos. “It’s a colossal nacho meant for sharing three different varieties nachos, buffalo pulled chicken, barbeque pork and then the traditional chili cheese, lots of cool things, I'm sure everyone will enjoy that,” says chef Tyler Humphrey.
TD Ameritrade Park is hosting its fourth College World Series, which has seen an average of only half a home run per game during the series. Players hit an average of 2.5 homers every series game at Rosenblatt Stadium, but could this be the year when home runs make a comeback at the CWS? Those who've played the field so far this spring say it's likely.
"I think the folks, when we get to the College World Series, are going to notice a different ballpark this year,” says Creighton head coach Ed Servais. “I am not sure what changed, I am not sure if it was the not as much wind blowing straight in this year or what, but there seem to be more home runs there this spring, there seem to be more extra base hits, there seem to be more runs scored.”
We're almost guaranteed to see more home runs next year when the NCAA changes the seams in the ball to make it fly farther.