Monday, June 27, 2011

Ghost in the machine

There's a ghost at the College World Series.

That is, apart from all the phantom home runs still flying out of the ballyard and into some fifth dimension amid this brave new era where real baseballs -- the ones made of leather, twine, rubber and cork -- tend to stay well within the outfield walls of Omaha's brand-new TD Ameritrade Park.

No, it seems to me the ghost haunting the College World Series this year -- haunting baseball's new digs in the River City -- is baseball's old digs in the River City. That old stadium perched atop a hill in south Omaha.

Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.

OVER AND OVER, its specter appears out of nowhere. The Ghost of Rosenblatt Past horns into casual conversations in the new park.

Into announcers' remarks on ESPN.

Over and over into the pages of the Omaha World-Herald's sports section.

It even interrupts your regularly scheduled video-screen programming.

And even though the new digs compare more than favorably with the old in every way, the ancient, cobbled-together haunt still haunts our hearts and our memories. I wonder whether TD Ameritrade -- shiny and new and sexy in every way . . . all made up with a long future to go -- feels like its competing with an old flame.

I wonder whether that's any easier to take when the old flame is a ghost.

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