Why The College World Series Is The Greatest National Championship Event In College Sports: Glenn Guilbeau

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OMAHA, Nebraska – First of all, it’s because it’s here in Omaha.

And the College World Series is here every year. It started in this All-American city of about 500,000 on the Missouri River at the Iowa line in 1950 and has been here every year since, except in 2020 because of COVID.

The CWS is so entrenched in Omaha literally and mentally that people began using “Omaha” as a synonym for the College World Series decades ago. That doesn’t happen in many other sports. The Super Bowl, Final Four and, whatever they’re calling the college football national championship game these days, all happen in different places every year.

Those are great events, but they are not physical destinations.

The Warren Morris statue outside Charles Schwab Field, home of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo By OutKick’s Glenn Guilbeau).

Omaha is a place and a state of mind. It will be on wondrous display for the ninth straight day Saturday when No. 2 seed Florida (53-15) and No. 5 seed LSU (52-16) meet in the opening game of the best-of-three national championship series at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

The CWS is a marathon, not a sprint. But it is filled with a series of gleeful sprints ending in exultation.

Just look at any picture of LSU slugger Tommy “Tanks” White’s face after he hit the walk-off home run Thursday night to beat No. 1 Wake Forest, 2-0, in the 11th inning. You’ll see that Omaha state of mind.

Or any shot of The Walk-Off by LSU’s Warren Morris on June 8, 1996.

Or look at Florida beating LSU for its first national championship in 2017.

It’s always a mixture of pure joy and exhaustion.

The CWS also has more elements of amateur sports than any of the other NIL-soiled “amateur” sports.

They should get rid of the aluminum bats, though. The ping is about the only thing I don’t like about Omaha, other than Charles Schwab Field, which is an NFL-wanna-be stadium. The former Rosenblatt Stadium was truly pure Americana, and they should have never left it as they did after the 2010 CWS.

Here’s Why The College World Series Is The Best

There only used to be a ballpark there, but here are 10 other reasons why the College World Series is the greatest national championship event in college sports:

10. ONLY GAME IN TOWN – Omaha is most known for the College World Series, and it treats it as such. This is why the event is so great every year. It’s not just one more thing going on in, say, Atlanta, or Houston, or another city that hosts major events. And it is played during a part of the year on the sports calendar where little else is going on. Major League Baseball, and that’s about it, as the NBA Playoffs mercifully recently ended.

9. THE INVISIBLE MEDIA – The national writers and broadcasters stay away from this for the most part because it takes so long to cover, and it’s just not seen as cool. Well, they’re wrong. But it’s OK. More room for everyone else, which makes this akin in many ways to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

8. DODGE STREET – It is a huge street in the heart of Omaha, aka the “Gateway to the West,” that goes east and west. But that’s not it. It’s just cool to be in a town with that name. Sounds like you’re in the Old West.

7. THE DURHAM MUSEUM – You have to drop by this place in between games in the historic Union Station as Omaha was first and foremost a railroad town. Many members of the Greatest Generation stopped in Omaha to switch trains on their way to California and to the Pacific Theater in World War II, so that you and I can live in freedom and watch baseball.

6. OLD MARKET BUSINESS DISTRICT – This is an authentic area of bars, restaurants and hotels where LSU fans congregate. This is the real thing. It is not another fake strip mall made to look like something that was. This is it.

5. STEAKS – In an Old West, railroad town, men eat beef. And so do the women who love them and don’t love them. There are more steak restaurants in Omaha than bars in New Orleans. Most are good. I suggest Omaha Prime in the Old Market, The Drover with its whiskey steak and old school Cascio’s.

4. THE WEATHER – The humidity is often not around. Sometimes it dips into the 60s in freakin’ June. It’s wonderful. This is why so many LSU fans flock here as if to drink from the Fountain Of Youth, though they usually settle for beer (not Bud Light) or Jell-O shots. Baton Rouge tends to have a heat index near or over 100 this time of year.

3. HAVANA GARAGE  – Perhaps the greatest cigar bar in America with impressive beer and bourbon selections. It’s in the Old Market, so it’s only a short stroll from Omaha Prime.

2. THE PEOPLE – They truly are friendly and are legitimately happy to see visitors. Either that, or they are just besides themselves in glee because it finally quit snowing and is above freezing.

1. THE FORMER MICHELLE MILLHOLLON – My wife before she was and I went on our first date in the Old Market while each covered the College World Series for the Baton Rouge Advocate in 2000. I was covering the Tigers. Michelle covered the courts and crime, and had just covered an execution at the Angola state penitentiary. So, her editor thought she needed a break and sent her to Omaha to cover something fun. She sat with fans and did color. We went to a beer garden after LSU won the national title. I usually don’t like editors, but Michelle’s made the right pitch.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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