CWS 2023: TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos digs up old Omaha memories

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Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 10:58 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As a kid playing in a baseball tournament in Omaha, the Horned Frogs’ head coach Kirk Saarloos did what any 10-year-old aspiring baseball star would do in the city synonymous with championship baseball: bury a bottle cap at Rosenblatt Stadium.

“My dad and I-- obviously being in Omaha-- we had to go check out Rosenblatt,” said Saarloos Thursday after TCU wrapped up practice at Charles Schwab Field. “At that time we kinda snuck out on the field and dug a hole where the padding behind home plate is and just dug as deep as we could, probably about six inches, and put a bottle cap down there... I said to my dad we’ll come back at some point and I’m going to dig that thing back up because I’m going to play here.”

Saarloos did return to Omaha nine years later as a pitcher for Cal State Fullerton when the Titans made it to the College World Series in 1999.

“When back there to dig it up and couldn’t find anything,” said Saarloos.

Saarloos left Omaha without the bottle cap or a championship. The 1999 College World Series wouldn’t be Saarloos’ last. The former Astro made trips to the CWS twice as a player, four times as TCU’s pitching coach, and now for the first time as a head coach.

“The memories of this-- it’s the seventh time I’m doing this-- and my family gets to be a part of the last five it’s pretty special,” said Saarloos. “It’s kinda something that just keeps getting passed down. “

34 years after his first trip to Omaha, Saarloos is living out his baseball dreams in that same city.

“If you would’ve told me when I was a 19-year-old kid or a 10-year-old kid that we’d be back in 2023 as a 44-year-old head coach, I would’ve signed up for that,” said Saarloos.