OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The College World Series is in motion and the spotlight is on Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park.
6 News got a close-up look at the ballpark this week – the next generation fortress of college baseball lore.
The tradition of college baseball deciding its champion in Omaha goes back decades. Thousands of fans pack TD Ameritrade each year waiting to see who will claim the title.
But there's so much more to the CWS than the game itself.
It all started back in 1950 when the College World Series was first played in Omaha, “what was then the Omaha Municipal Stadium by Riverpark Zoo,” said Gary Coleman, a longtime Omahan who knows all about the CWS.
Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium was named for the former Mayor who brought the CWS to Omaha. The series had a humble beginning. In fact, for the first 10 years, it actually lost money. But after much nurturing from the community and teaming up with the NCAA, it grew and grew.
By 2009, the series outgrew Rosenblatt Stadium. “It was time to build a new stadium.”
And $171 million later, TD Ameritrade Park is now home to the games.
Beyond that field of dreams, Coleman said the park boasts every amenity a player might need.
“Probably one of the more popular spots is going to be the whirlpool which during baseball will be an ice-bath.”
Coleman especially likes the electronically-equipped lockers.
“The players can plug in their electronics and let them charge while they're out on the field.”
And of course, there's a prime area to warm up.
“They could use a batting tee like the one beside me here. They could use the pitching machine. That machine can send balls at a 100 mph plus.”
Fans also score at the stadium too - from a seat in the stands to 30 luxurious club suites.
“They can have a dinner catered up here - snacks, whatever they would like to have.”
Even when you're not watching the game there's also plenty to take in around the stadium.
“If you look up on the wall all the way around the stadium you'll see the historical plaques.”
Each of those plaques highlights someone key in the growth of the CWS.
“So that's something that's fun when you're in between innings or games is just to walk around and take a look.”
And everyone knows, with baseball comes the food. And lots of it.
“Around the stadium we have 8 permanent concession stands.”
During the CWS, 15 portable stands are added.
And speaking of stands. The stadium has a seating capacity of 24,000 with the ability to expand to 35,000.
“If you come to a game, chances are pretty good that you're going to get in to actually see the ball game.”
So in the next two weeks, catch a game if you can. The College World Series at TD Ameritrade - not just an event, but an experience.