|TD Ameritrade Park / College World Series / Creighton Bluejays|
|Introducing TD Ameritrade Park|
|A tale of two ballparks|
|Concessions and More|
Like many traditionalists, we were dismayed with Omaha officials announced plans to build a new downtown ballpark for the College World Series, abandoning Rosenblatt Stadium in the process. With TD Ameritrade Park now open and hosting a handful of CWS games, it’s easy to see the ballpark’s many strengths – and some high-profile weaknesses.
Capacity: 24,000 (includes club seating for 2,500)
Architect: Populous, with HDR and DLR Group
Construction: Kiewit Building Group
Dimensions: 335L, 375LC, 408C, 375RC, 335R
Cost: $131 million
Owner: City of Omaha
Parking: Plenty of parking in the general area, as there are 9,000 spots within a 12-minute walk. We found most lots and ramps within a three-block walk of the ballpark cost $10 and $25, depending where you park. Surface parking prepurchased from the NCAA is $10. Reservations are required for the more enjoyable lots, like Lot B, where tailgating is encouraged.
Address: 1200 Mike Fahey St., Omaha. Chances are pretty good your GPS doesn't recognize this address. You can use an alternative address of 455 North 10th Street, Omaha; this will put you within a block of the ballpark.
Directions: The ballpark is located next to Qwest Center in downtown Omaha and easily accessible via I-480, which runs east-west through town and is connected to I-80 and I-29.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
We always enjoyed College World Series games at Rosenblatt Stadium: the 1948 ballpark was full of history and college-baseball lore, despite being a little run down and awkwardly configured to host both CWS games and Omaha Royals matches. Indeed, some of college baseball’s greatest feats – like Dave Winfield’s one-man mission to bring a title to the University of Minnesota in 1973, dominating both at the plate and on the mound – were recorded at Rosenblatt.
As the College World Series grew in popularity, though, Rosenblatt Stadium became a somewhat uncomfortable place to take in a sold-out game: the outfield bleachers were crowded and uncomfortable, seats down the lines were angled awkwardly, and concession stands in the grandstand were completely overwhelmed. Of course, if your team is in the Series, you’ll put up with all of that and more. If you’re just a general fan, you might not. Plus, as the NCAA began to rely on revenues generated by the CWS, there were limited opportunities to placate sponsors on game days.
So, ultimately, there were plenty of reasons for Omaha to consider a new ballpark, especially when other cities (like Orlando) made noises about building a new CWS ballpark and some MLB teams sniffed around in hopes of hosting the baseball classic. Rosenblatt’s future as the CWS home was clearly dated.
Flash forward to this month with the first College World Series games played at the new ballpark. Though Creighton University had played some regular-season games at TD Ameritrade Park, the first real test came with sellouts and near-sellouts for the CWS. We caught a sellout game, giving us plenty of time to see how the ballpark performed with a full house.
The result: it worked as planned, admirably so. But our biggest problem with the ballpark was with those plans.
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