CWS: I Left My Heart in Omaha. Again.

By Glenn Tanner - June 23, 2006

I'm leaving town today, headed back home to be a husband and a father to a family I love very much. But I have a confession to make. I have a mistress that I also love. I see her only one week a year but she brings me immeasurable joy. Her name is Omaha.

I first met her in 1993, and it was love at first sight. We've both grown older and changed since then, but my love for her has grown even stronger.

I love her because she is the perfect host for one of the greatest and most underrated sporting events in the world. No other place would do, no other place could mean so much just by hearing her name. Omaha. We all know exactly what that means. Mention that word to any college baseball player and his eyes will light up.

I love her because of her passion. No other place could draw more than 19,000 for a game that no one was sure would be played 20 hours ahead of time, like last night's game. No other place would have half-mile lines of people two hours before game-time, waiting for the right to sit in the baking sun in the outfield bleachers.

I love her because of her friendliness. Even though I visit her only once a year, I have an entire group of people here who treat me like family when I return. And none of these people are family. In fact, I had never met any of them prior to my 1993 visit, and never see most of them except for this week.

I love her because she's fun. You'll never see a collective tail-gating experience at a baseball game like you'll see here before/during/between/after the weekend games. Plus, on off-days, there's the Old Market and the Henry Doorly Zoo. That's right, the zoo. People had told me every year that I should visit it, and I always kind of laughed at the thought. Then a couple of years ago, my daughter flew in for the championship series and we went to the zoo and I felt stupid that it took me 11 years to make a visit. It's phenomenal. Seriously.

I love her because she's magic. How else can you explain Warren Morris' homer? USC's rally against Dave Winfield's Minnesota team? Chance Wheeless' homer? Cory Vanderhook's 100-foot bizarre-hop two-out two-strike two-run too-absurd-to-believe game-winning infield single this year? Or the fact that a baseball team from Oregon (OREGON!!!) has a collection of arms that no one seems to be able to hit?

I love her because she's real. She's a midwestern city that seems more like a friendly small town where no one's a stranger, where fathers and sons come every year to sit in the stands and eat funnel cakes and cotton candy and watch great baseball played with great joy by great young men, and most importantly, make great memories that will last lifetimes.

She has me hooked. She has my heart. As I pulled out of the parking lot last night, I looked back at this real world Field of Dreams like I do every year when I leave, and like I do every year, I damn near started crying.

I love you Omaha. See you again next year.

Posted by Glenn Tanner at 10:29 AM on June 23, 2006
Comments (3)


Great Article. You have expressed in very short order the reason why College level Baseball is becoming the sport to watch. No Drugs,no Huge Contracts just a bunch of soon to be Doctors,Lawyers,CEO's Teachers and kids realizing their youthful ambitions and dreams. School, Conference and personel pride on the line. A magnificent article.

Incredible article...this says so much in so little, and reminds me of my only trip to Rosenblatt in 2004. I dream of going back again, and soon. Great job!

Inspiring words. Kudos on the wonderful article. I love baseball also... Go beavers!

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