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Well we took the field on a perfect day,

It was right out of a dream

Never seen a sky so crystal clear,

Never walked on grass so green

And in the stands when they clapped their hands,

Well I could feel it in my chest

Yeah they come from almost every state

To find out who's the best

So put me in, I'm your man,

I promise I can do it all

And it feels so good to breath the air

Back home in Omaha

This is the first verse of one of my favorite baseball songs, which debuted 20 years ago for the College World Series in 1999.

Songwriter and singer Todd Thibaud wrote Back Home in Omaha for ESPN's coverage of college baseball's greatest spectacle, which descends on Nebraska's largest city every year around this time.

It's been a long time since I've heard ESPN pull this song out of the archives for its coverage of the College World Series, and they've got some new ones that are good as well. This one is still my favorite.

My first and only trip to Omaha was for the 2003 College World Series. I was 21 years old and writing for the student newspaper at the time at LSU, The Daily Reveille, and the Tigers were one of eight teams to advance to the College World Series after a two-year absence in 2001 and 2002.

I can still remember walking into Rosenblatt Stadium the night before the games began for the opening ceremonies and parade of teams. Todd Thibaud was right. In my mind, I had "never seen a sky so crystal clear" or "walked on grass so green."

Gosh, just thinking about that memory sends chills down my spine. I love baseball.

Things have changed in Omaha over the years, though I can't personally testify to today's College World Series experience.

The event is no longer played at the colorful Rosenblatt Stadium. The College World Series moved to the beautiful TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha in 2011 -- a park with all the new bells and whistles, but I would guess lacks some of the old Rosenblatt charm.

I'd love to find out for myself though. A return trip to Omaha some day -- put that one my bucket list.

So for any Arkansas baseball fans heading up that way this week -- enjoy it, treasure it, appreciate it.

I told someone the other day that I compare making the College World Series similar to making the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament. Just getting that far is an accomplishment in itself, and you never know when the next time may be.

-- Graham Thomas can be reached at gthomas@nwadg.com or on Twitter @NWAGraham.

Sports on 06/12/2019

Print Headline: 'Back home in Omaha'

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