Stadium Views

Living Large with bus rides and free tickets; My introduction to the College World Series by gpiv
April 19, 2010, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sixty bottles of beer in the fridge.

The College World Series has undergone quite a revolution over the nineteen years that I have owned the store.  But the tournament is nearly unrecognizable from when I was a kid. 

My brother, you know the one writing the revisionist history of the CWS that leaves out any mention Stadium View, were talking at my nephews wedding (not the train wreck wedding the other night) about our childhood and its intersection with the CWS.  Sometimes you want to reaffirm that the memories you have are real. 

But then again this blog is based upon a true story and not necessarily true.

Well most of our memories meshed.  So either we were brainwashed together or it probably was the way we remembered it.

Back then games were played all day and the tournament was true double elimination (no pool play)and was not stretched out over a long period of time.  The week day games were played before sparse crowds.

We lived about eight or nine miles from the stadium.  No, I’m not going to tell you I walked there, uphill both ways.  We took the bus.  Yes, public transportation.  But we did have to walk about a mile to the bus stop.  Steve remembers going to the games with Bobbie Ringo.  I remember going with Mark and Jim Sullivan.  These were the kids that we usually played ball with from 10 a.m. to five o’clock.  Man, you thought I would have been better than I was. 

The best thing about walking to the bus stop was that it was right in front of a local drug store.  And what did that mean.  Hydrocodone!  No, just kidding.  Well besides the fact that if your mom called ahead you could buy cigarettes to take home to your parents, a drug store was about the only place near our house that you could buy baseball cards.  So, if you had any money, on the way to t he game you could buy a pack or two.

I digress.  The first pack of cards I ever bought was at Woody’s near 48th and Q Streets.  They cost a penny.  They were actually football cards and I think I bought five.  I was about four or five at the time I think.

Well anyway after arriving at the stadium (Steve said we must have got free tickets most of the time cause he doesn’t remember dad giving us money)you entered with the other twenty or thirty people and lo and behold, your general admission seat became a box seat. Living large.

And you could stay there for the whole day. One ticket for a morning and afternoon of baseball.  Sunshine, and a seat above the dugout, where you could look at these larger than life figures play baseball right in front of you.  College kids who you believed (since I never saw a major league game until I was in college myself) were probably as good as major leaguers.  A program that if you decided to spend some of your allowance on, was a four to eight page leaflet.  I wish I had those programs for the store right now.

If for some reason Dad decided to pick us up on the way home or at night, sometimes you would actually have to go to the general admission for the night games.  There might be a crowd for the night games.  Certainly not a crowd in todays terms, but the guy whose box seat I was in usually showed up, and the ushers actually got active in shooing kids out of those seats.

I don’t ever remember getting a foul ball.  However, I am sure that if any of us did it simply replaced what we were using at home or went in the ball bag for our sandlot team.  Money was hard to come by and new baseballs were a luxury.  Balls were only retired when the stitching got bad enough that the cover was coming off or when they got so soft or misshapen that you just couldn’t hit them anywhere.

I like to think that Omahas love affairs with the underdogs in the series started in those years.  We as a city seem to jump on the unlikely team.  I remember the Salukis from Southern Illinois in 1968.  They wore shorts, either that year or the following year.  In sixty-eight  they finished second to the hated USC.

Sal Bando, in 1965 was the first star I remember.  He was one of the first CWS stars that I remember going on to have a big career in the majors.  then Reggie Jackson came with Arizona ‘State.  The amazing Dave Winfiled, the powerful Bob Horner and Barry Bonds.

Then, in the eighties I took some time off of the CWS.  My children were all born in the eighties, except for Harper, and there were more important things to do.

1992 came, and The View was born Pepperdine beat Cal State Fullerton, in the most dreaded of all championship games, an all west coast final.

And the beer started to flow.

And it’s still flowing today, at least for another two or three thousand this year.

We’ll talk more abut the evolution of the series over the last nineteen years tomorrow.  But for now…….

I think I’ll go find a drug store, but some baseball cards, and take a bus down to the store.

Somethings never change.

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