Friday, June 26, 2009
Updated: August 6, 4:15 PM ET
Perfect eight to send out Rosenblatt
By Ryan McGee
ESPN The Magazine
OMAHA, Neb. -- With all due respect to Virginia, Arkansas and Southern Miss, this year's NCAA baseball championship series pretty much ended up how the College World Series old-timers wanted it to -- the Texas Hook 'Em Horns versus the LSU Bayou Bengals.
And if they're honest, they'll say they'd like it this way next year as well. Two of the all-time classic college baseball programs matched up in a potentially all-time classic best-of-three matchup worthy of being followed up by a wrecking ball.
As the final College World Series held in Rosenblatt Stadium draws nearer (in case you haven't heard, they're flattening the place after 2010), the old ballpark has become abuzz with speculation on how the NCAA and the city of Omaha plan to send the six-decade-old building out.
There's talk about bringing back all the all-time CWS greats -- Dave Winfield, Pete Incaviglia, Mark Kotsay, Will Clark, Bob Horner, and perhaps even Don Zimmer and Sal Bando -- and maybe have them walk out of center field as if they were wandering in from nearby Iowa like Shoeless Joe and Moonlight Graham. However, the powers that be refuse to reveal their plans or who will be invited back to "The Blatt," confessing only that the sendoff "will be something special."
OK, fine. We'll just have to take things into our own hands.
During the first week of this year's 60th and next-to-last Rosenblatt CWS, we took an informal poll of media members, coaches and longtime Series stalwarts to compile what they believe would be the perfect eight-team field for 2010. It's a power-hitting, base-stealing, fastball-throwing lineup of classic College World Series powerhouses
along with one big surprise.
Others receiving votes: Arizona, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Minnesota, Rice, Wichita State, Maine, California
Ryan McGee is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. His new book, "THE ROAD TO OMAHA: Hits, Hopes and History at the College World Series," which chronicles the excitement and passion of the CWS, is now available.