Thursday, August 23, 2012

Section J - Row 12 - Seats 8 and 9

A source has just informed me that Rosenblatt Stadium is being demolished.  I will not share the photographs of this, because they focus my sadness on something other than what I am sad about.

My Grandfather, my father's father, was born in 1915.  Over his life, from childhood into his early 80s, he played in or attended hundreds of baseball games.  Before the war, when he was a high school teacher, he coached American Legion teams in Omaha.  In Concord (California) he played for softball teams composed of retirees--he kept this up after he and my Grandmother moved back to Omaha--even after his hip-replacement.  On one occasion I ran for him in a game--he hit and I ran out a triple.  That is another story for another time.

This is about Rosenblatt, home of the College World Series for decades, and now, apparently, nothing.  When my Grandparents moved back to the city they had grown up in, been married in, had their three children in, they pretty quickly bought "season" tickets for the Series tournament, and renewed their subscription each year.  In 2001 I visited them in mid-June, and he and I went to one of the elimination round double headers.  The first game was Tulane playing Cal State Fullerton.  Fullerton won.  The score sheet I have from that game says the score was 9-2, but we got to the Stadium a little late and missed the first inning and a half, and I missed the whole 6th inning--my note explains the blank space this way:

"1 Omaha Steak sandwich, 2 slices cheese pizza, 2 Regular Lemonade from Creighton Women's Soccer Team." 

So the 9-2 might not be the actual score.  I was not as fastidious about the 'keeping at this particular game as I usually am.  Usually, when I have to get up for food or other necessaries, Beth takes over the scoring.  I wish now I had asked Grandpa to score the 6th, to have it in his hand, with his unique symbols, but then I probably would not remember the really good lemonade from the Lady Jays (they were still called that, then).

Game Two was Tennessee against USC.  The seats we were in were roomier than the pair my Grandparents had for the first few years.  These newer ones were behind home plate, in the yellow section, I think...but our knees were still pretty close up to the row in front of us, and Grandpa's hip brace did not agree with the narrow, wooden seat.  My score sheet for this game stops abruptly with one out in the bottom of the fifth.  The score is Tennesee 5, USC 0.  The Volunteers have 2 men on and a run in already.  The Trojan pitcher, Dizard, has just walked Hopkins, the Tennessee DH.  In the middle of pitching to Hopkins, Dizard let loose a wild pitch that scored Shortstop Burke from third.  But Grandpa is too uncomfortable--we've been there for almost 13 innings, after all--so we leave the game early.  I think he might have said something quietly about how he did not like to leave games early, but I think it's just as likely that we both said nothing, knowing that it was a shame we wouldn't see the end.

That was the last baseball game my grandfather saw in person.  It was the last time, I am pretty sure, he was ever close to a baseball field.  It was nowhere near a shame, and this post is not about Rosenblatt Stadium, and thinking about all of these things focuses my happiness much more than sadness.  Two days later, after watching--in those same seats--Miami beat Tennessee to advance to the final, just outside Rosenblatt, I proposed to Beth.  She said yes.  At dinner with my Grandparents that night we celebrated our engagement, and we talked about the game. 

If anyone out there knows where seats 8 and 9 from Row 12 of Section J of Rosenblatt Stadium might be, let me know.  I'll buy 'em.


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