Omaha is hosting the Big 10 Baseball Tournament for the first time and Wednesday’s attendance for the opening games broke the single-day attendance record with 10,424 coming to TD Ameritrade Park.
Number 2 seed Nebraska defeated Ohio State 7-6, Indiana took down Iowa 5-2, Michigan State edged Illinois 2-1 and Michigan got by Minnesota 3-2.
From all over the conference a strong fan base drove nearly half a day, not only to see their boys, but to experience the atmosphere of downtown Omaha. “It's definitely a place where every kid dreams of playing,” said Illini fan Jeff Roper. “So to get a chance to come to this field and play and our team experience this and the Big Ten Tournament, it's a blessing and we feel very blessed to be here.”
Businesses around the stadium welcome this boost with open arms. The Dugout considers this a warm-up for next month’s College World Series, even using this time to test out what they expect to be one of the hottest trends for the summer and it's not your good old-fashioned ball cap.
"I'll show you the Husker one,” said The Dugout’s Sam Drusch. “It's really cool. Under bill they got the corn cob. It's a new style. The reviews been really good. We have ‘em in hockey hats, too. A lot of these are new so we brought the Big Ten schools in, too, the ones that we could get. I think the kids are gonna go nuts for these hats."
The “menace” cap really made its name in hockey, but if fans are willing to bite and make the look their own, these could become a common sight around the neighborhood over the next month. If the menace cap isn't your style, the store is well stocked with Nebraska baseball gear, especially since the Creighton-Nebraska game was cancelled twice, so they never got those fans in as they'd expected earlier in the season.
The Huskers face Michigan State at 5 p.m. Thursday. Iowa plays Minnesota at 1 p.m. The tournament continues through Sunday.