Handing Out the Hardware
There were no games today at the College World Series, as Oregon State and North Carolina prepared for their showdown in the finals that begin on Saturday. With a little down time, we figured it would be the perfect opportunity to check out some of Omaha's most legendary locales not named Rosenblatt.
When it comes to food, Omaha is most known for its steaks, however, the goodies don't stop there. A stone's throw from the Rosenblatt parking lot is Zesto's, a hamburger establishment that also specializes in milkshakes. It's a staple of Omaha, and quite possibly the most popular snack spot during the CWS. Even North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams said Zaesto's has the best milkshakes he's ever had.
A little further south on 10th Street is the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. You probably recognize the giant Desert Dome because it is visible on television beyond the right-field stands. That's just one exhibit, and the zoo provided us with close to three hours of entertainment. If you ever make it out to Omaha, it's definitely worth an afternoon of your time.
Even gorillas do calisthenics.
Because it was an off day, we figured this would be the perfect time to unveil the All-Going Yard team. We presented an early-season follow list, but now it's time to give you the team. Remember, this team is not about your performance on the field. A spot on this team means you distinguished yourself when the bright lights of our HandiCam were focused on you.
Catcher-Mitch Canham (Oregon State) This spot was wide open until we got to Omaha. Then we got the rap stylings of OSU's backstop. I've even found myself singing the chorus of "O-State Ballaz" to myself ever since.
First Base-Brandon Reichert (Florida State) In our first Tour de Handshakes in Tallahassee, Reichert led us through some of FSU's most outrageous shakes. He even mixed in some self-deprecating wit.
Second Base-Nick Crawford (Millsapes) The NCAA record-holder for hit by pitches took us through the finer points of taking one for the team. He even traded "Happy Gilmore" references with us.
Shortstop-Chris Cates (Louisville) The shortest player in Division I showed us the literal meaning of shortstop. His teammates call the 5-foot-3 Cates "Wee Man," but he plays much bigger than that.
Third Baseman-Chris Phethean (Savannah State) Phethean earned his spot on day four of Going Yard when he gave us the first of two silly dances we caught on camera. That alone was enough to earn him a spot.
Outfield-Ollie Linton (UC Irvine) This was one of the easiest choices for us. No one appeared in more of our videos than Linton (three), and he stole the show in pretty much every one. Even before he impersonated Stephen A. Smith and asked the Anteaters what their profession is, he locked up his spot in late April when he showed us his amazing Mortal Combat handshake.
Outfield-Aaron Ivey (Oklahoma) Ivey is thinking of walking on the Oklahoma football team now that his baseball eligibility is complete. We wanted to see if he still had the goods on the gridiron, and he was kind enough to run some pass patterns for us while we tried to cover him. Let it be known that when I was covering him, the pass was incomplete.
Outfield-Tommy Lentz (Winthrop) We had never heard of Korean Rock, Paper, Scissors before hanging out in the Wintrhip dugout. Once Lentz gave us a demonstration and explained why he is such a dominant force, he pretty much locked up his spot.
Designated Hitter-The Whammer (UC Irvine) His name is actually Zach Robinson, but it might as well be "The Whammer," because that is how he is known to pretty much everyone. Irvine's dugout captain is a riot, and his explanation of Irvine's dugout rituals clinched his spot. Yes, the same explanation that ESPN ripped off ten days later during the CWS.
Utility-JoJo Tann (Ole Miss)With the exception of possibly Linton, this guy was the biggest no-brainer on the squad. His tour of the Ole Miss bus was one of the more memorable moments of our trip.
We pity the fool that does not pursue a post-graduate education.
Pitcher-David Price (Vanderbilt) The best pitcher in college baseball (and the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft) let us hang out with him and his family at a postgame cook-out. He was so laid back, you'd never know he was such a star. On top of that, when we saw him in Omaha we discovered he had been keeping up with our trip pretty much the entire time. If you're a fan of us, we're a fan of you.
Pitcher-Will Kline (Ole Miss) Kline gave us the catch phrase of the trip, one that highlighted our ride on the Ole Miss bus and provided a perfect ending for our music video. "Online, offline, landline . . . bring it . . . We'll play at your place."
Pitcher-B.J. Hagen (Charlotte) Baseball players play some dumb games to pass the time during rain delays. But none is more juvenile and entertaining than "Flips." Hagen was kind enough to take us through the ins and outs of Charlotte's favorite time waster.
Pitcher-Ben Jones (Azusa Pacific) As we explained earlier for Phethean, doing dumb dances will earn you a spot on the team. Jones gets special points because, out of nowhere, he said to us, "You guys want to see a dance?" It wasn't used in our Azusa Pacific video, but we kept it on hold for our music video. He is the guy doing the Elaine Benes-style boogy after the first chorus of the Going Yard video.
Pitcher-Bo O'Dell (Florida State) The guy does a mean impression of Chewbacca. That's all there is to it.
Coach-Rich Hill (San Diego) Every team needs a coach, and any coach willing to take us surfing can coach our team any time. This probably won't take away the sting of getting bounced during regionals, but we hope it helps.
There you have it. The few, the proud, the All-Going Yard team. Congratulations gentleman.