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Omaha: A Bucket List Trip

Jay-V 1

by Jovanna Vick

I grew up in Cheatham County (TN) as a Vandy fan and that is very unusual. My parents have always been fans of Vanderbilt Athletics, so you can say black and gold have always been in my blood. We were extremely happy when we learned that my cousin, Ethan Smith (#27), would be pitching for Vandy this season as a freshman. Not only did I get to cheer on the Vandy boys, but I also got to cheer and support Ethan.

When Vandy made it to the SEC tournament, my Mom and I started talking about going to Hoover, Alabama before deciding to watch it on tv. After the boys won the tournament, we attended all of the Regionals and Super Regionals at Hawkins Field. As Vandy continued to win, we casually talked about the idea of a road trip to Omaha for the College World Series. This trip had been on both of our bucket lists for quite some time. A trip to Omaha, Nebraska, would mean 11½ hours of a potentially very boring ride past corn fields. We talked ourselves out of making the trip until we heard of Simply A Fan! They were offering a road trip to Omaha for the College World Series. It didn’t take much convincing for us to sign up. We found ourselves piling into a van filled with eight strangers and being followed by a minivan carrying a family of six. Let’s just say I’m not normally a big road trip participant as I typically fall asleep within 30 minutes of hitting the road, but this trip was different as I did not sleep one minute!

Following our long drive, it was time to explore Omaha and TD Ameritrade Park. There were tents, tents and even more tents as far as my eyes could see. Mine and my Mom’s love for shopping paid off as there were so many CWS souvenirs to be found! I’m pretty sure I added a good five pounds to my luggage!

Before going to the ballpark each night, Vandy fans had the opportunity to attend a pep rally send-off at the team hotel. Giving high fives and cheering for the players and coaches set the mood before entering the park. Making this even more special was the chance to hug my cousin Ethan (#27) and wish him luck as he came through the line headed for the park.

Jovanna with her cousin Ethan Smith (#27) and her mom Candye.

After watching games this year at Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field, walking into TD Ameritrade Park seemed huge. The 3,500 seat capacity of Hawkin’s Field was dwarfed by TD Ameritrade Park’s 24,000 seating capacity, which for the CWS can expand to 35,000 spectators.

The TD Ameritrade Park has a seating capacity of 24,000, with the ability to expand to 35,000 spectators. As baseball fans know that where you sit can make or break your experience and our seats rocked for all three games. Monday’s game one, we sat on the third baseline row 11. Game two on Tuesday, had us sitting on the first baseline row 7. Believe it or not, for the championship game on Wednesday we sat behind home plate! Yes, you read that correctly behind HOME PLATE!

After losing our first game, then winning the second game it was time for the winner-take-all CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! The stadium was filled with baseball fans of all types – some from Omaha, some SEC fans, some Big Ten fans and of course the diehard Michigan and Vanderbilt fans – all ready to watch history being made! Thank goodness Vandy’s pitching was solid and our bats were hot. Michigan hit an early solo home run, but Vandy roared back with a vengeance with eight runs in the following innings for a final of 8-2. The Vandy Boys had won THE 2019 NCAA College World Series! The atmosphere was electrifying for everyone wearing black and gold.

Simply A Fan’s Operation Omaha group prior to Game 3. Photo courtesy of Hunter Long Photo.

Being front and center for Vanderbilt winning the 2019 College World Series was unforgettable! Experiencing this trip with people who started off as strangers and who are now lifelong friends was unexpected! Taking a once-of-a-lifetime trip with my mom was priceless!

We experienced Omaha.  We cheered on our Vandy Boys.  We returned home to Nashville as Champions!  Mom and I will be back to Omaha but we will be bringing my dad along on the adventure with us next time!

Thanks to Simply A Fan for giving us the opportunity to experience the College World Series and collect so many memories that we will not forget!    

June 26, 2019 – TD Ameritrade Park
College World Series, Game 3
courtesy of Hunter Long Photo

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