Carey Meitzler's Diary: Finally Going to the CWS.


Day (1) Wednesday:

Getting ready...

I'm going. It just sank in late today. Where? Omaha . Why? College World Series. The CWS.

For the past 15 years or so, it was a venue I always wanted to go and see. I saw a national championship football game 

in the Sugar Bowl; Georgia / Penn State. Herschel Walker was good, but it was Joe Paterno and Todd Blackledge's turn that

night in New Orleans. I was there when Jordan hit the shot for North Carolina against Georgetown and then Georgetown

threw the ball right into the hands of a wide open James Worthy (unfortunately for Hoyas, Worthy was a North Carolina Tar

Heel). But, the one thing I always wanted to see was the College World Series.

Two years ago, I was so close to going to see Tulane's Matt Riser play there, but too many folks on vacation at work nixed 

that plan. This time, I'm going mainly due to some great people at work allowing me to go, but mostly because my wife Michelle 

encouraged me to go and I love her for that; not just for that reason, mind you, but it's in the Top 10 now.


Driving the 1,059 miles from here to Omaha is a tall order, but I'm up for it. Going to the College World Series. Going to 

the College World Series and knowing someone who will be on center stage. Going to the College World Series. I feel like 

the winning QB of the Super Bowl when he says "I'm going to Disneyland".  Never did the Mickey thing and don't care to 

either. But Omaha, deal me in.  MacGyver (John's nickname), Dot, Cole, and Alison left tonight. 

Me, Jason (Gator), and Caleb will depart tomorrow afternoon. We gave 'em a head start. 

As I was driving home from work today, I got to thinking about Justin.  Not the CWS. Just Justin Pigott.


It's hard to think of a better young man nor a better role model for young guys to look at in today's world.  Justin's an Eagle

Scout, graduated second in his class at PMHS, played in the PMHS band, very active in FCA at Miss State, and he's never

backed away from letting people know how he feels about God and Jesus Christ. When he's on the mound pitching, he gets

more done with less than anyone I can recall in all my years of watching baseball. He battles you. He scraps.  He makes you

want to pull for him. Like Fred Cruse, biggest Ole Miss fan I know, says, "I pull for Justin even against Ole Miss."  I know

Fred talks with Justin on a regular basis and his admiration for the young man is immense.


When Justin chose Miss State over USM, I started calling him 'Little Bully'.  Specific moments stand out on "Little Bully" in my 

mind as I look back on him coming up through the PYAA youth leagues and his years at PMHS.

Number 1: He looked like the bat boy on his 10 year old all star team. A scrawny little kid who didn't look like a baseball player.  

His hat was always wrinkled a little. I think he must have slept with it on. I remember watching him pitch against a team 

from the Wiggins/Stone County area and had them swinging in circles for a few innings. 

Number 2: As a sophomore in high school, he beat Oak Grove at their place to send Picayune to the State Finals for the first

time.  He was magnificent that night. Still scrawny, but you knew he was a baseball player that night.

Barry Harper and Nicky Guidry still talk about that game at least once a year when we get together and start recalling old times.

Barry says it put us on the map in baseball. Nicky says it hurt Oak Grove's feelings. I can close my eyes and still see the grin on

Justin's face that night out in left field where the Picayune fans and players congregated right after the game.  I saw a similar grin

on his face in a picture on the web as he walked around Dudy Noble thanking the fans this past Saturday.  Right now, he's in

Omaha.  I'll be on my way soon.   Stay tuned.

God Bless You all.


Day (2) Thursday:

Are we there yet?

As I write this, Gator is driving, Caleb is texting, and I just saw a sign that said Cooter next exit.  Jason says we are in

Arkansas. I sure hope he knows where he is going.  Didn't Burt Reynolds run into troubled waters in Arkansas?



Before leaving town, I had to go see the Doc. When I say the Doc it always means Dr. James (Jimmy) Riser.  My wife says

I don't listen very well at times, and since my ears were bothering me a little, I went to see Doc to see if he could help me out.

He fixed me up with a good hose blow to the ear, flushed out what little sense I had left I think, and he said I was ready to go.

Now, you know it's never that easy when me and Doc get together. We had to talk and there is only one topic.

Justin and the CWS.


Doc says that there are always things you see and remember about special kids (I know he meant young men). When he thinks

of his son Matt and Rhyne Hughes, he hears the constant "ping" of bats in his ear. Doc recalls so many nights in the summers when

Matt and Rhyne would be out back out at his house hitting ball after ball til well after midnight on many occasions. Doc paused

for a moment. He said that he knew Justin was special.

When Doc would leave rounds at the hospital, he would see Justin out there running up and down Goodyear Boulevard . It seemed

like you knew he was headed somewhere back then, but Justin just didn't have time to tell the rest of us. Doc says he can only

imagine how John and Dot are going to feel when Justin takes the mound (20 hours from right now) at Rosenblatt. Doc paused

again.....I said go get your bag packed and I'll be back to get you this afternoon. He said don't tempt me. Doc has father duty

with Jacob playing and Matt coaching this weekend in Biloxi . He's with us though.


Caleb got us off to good start with a solid three hours of driving pushing us well north of Jackson. I'm really glad he came with us.

Speaking of being with us.With an old CD playing Johnny Lee's Looking for Love from the movie Urban Cowboy , Gator said,

"Sam hated this song."  On that note, we thought how ironic that Justin is pitching in Omaha almost exactly seven years to the day

that our friend Sam Adkins went to be with our Lord.  Sam's got a better seat than us for tomorrow's game. Count on it. Had he

still been of this earth, Sam would be sitting behind me in the empty captain's chair telling us to eject that CD.


I talked with Barry Harper a little while ago. Barry said he saw in the Clarion Ledger where Coach Polk said they are going to

start Justin because it gives them better match ups with North Carolina's left handed hitters. Barry says he thinks there is more to it.

Listen up. Though he may have written "the book", something tells Barry that isn't the reason. Polk and Russ McNickle (State

pitching coach) realize no one on this Bulldog team has ever been to Omaha . North Carolina has a lot of guys who have been here;

they played here in the finals last year. So, Barry thinks the decision to start Justin is also due to putting a guy out there who could

deal with the surroundings, handle a little adversity if it came about early, stay focused, and battle. After thinking about it, I think

ol' Barry may be on to something.


Well, got to go. Gator is just about to reach his designated pit stop on the trip itinerary, which means I have to take the wheel.

I don't need a cranky Gator on my hands come tomorrow.

God Bless and Keep til next time.

Day (3) Friday:

Game day 

Caleb finally went to sleep after breakfast in Kansas City around 7:00am (picture below).  Gator got back behind the wheel

(picture below) and I started looking at the road atlas reviewing the ground we had covered so far, I made a discovery. 

Cooter was in Missouri, not Arkansas. Gator deeked me on that one.   If you ask him, it doesn't matter where Cooter is,

but to me, what is right is right.

We arrived in Omaha at 9:30am having left Picayune the day before at 3:30pm.  One thousand sixty miles (1,060) miles and

three pounds of sunflower seeds later, we were in Omaha. I can honestly say we were so excited we didn't feel tired. Gator

took us straight to Rosenblatt to get our tickets.  Like many other Dawg fans who drove all night to get to Omaha, we were

all looking forward to a nap and more importantly a shower once the coveted tickets were in hand.  While waiting to get our

tickets for the game, I struck up a conversation with some young men from the Brandon area. One thing lead to another, and

in our delirious state, we started joking about how bad we all wanted and really needed a wash down. Next thing you know,

we are joking about how much we would pay for a shower (picture below). You do crazy things when you are sleep

deprived. Turns out, they were former classmates of my twin nephews Adam and Andrew (the Jeanfreau's) at Brandon High

a few years ago. Small world. Nice people that Brandon Wynn and Aubrey Owen are. 

After checking into the hotel and getting cleaned up, taking a two hour nap, and devouring a Subway sandwich, it was back to

Rosenblatt. Electric.  That's the first word that comes to mind. While Louisville and Rice were battling inside, the crowd outside

was building and building at parties (really get together's) with free food.  The Miss State gathering was awesome.  People from

everywhere were there in a two block area mingling, eating; just having a good time.  There was the Fan Fest across the street

in the parking lots, a band with some older guys (I mean that in a nice way) playing a mixture of oldies, jazz, and a pretty different,

but cool rendition of Take Me Out to the BallgameIt was like a festival. I'll never forget the fun we had seeing all the people

behaving themselves and just enjoying the moment.  I think baseball fans are a different kind of fan.  As Gator told WFCA radio

of Starkville during an interview he did, "Here, it's like a fraternity among all the fans from all the different teams".  Gator and

I both agreed our wives would have loved it out there today.

Dot Pigott, Carey, & Caleb with the sign Brooke and Dale Meitzler designed and made for us for the game.

Alison (Pigott) Raiford, Gator (Jason), and Cole Raiford an hour before the North Carolina game.

Rice rallied to outlast Louisville and the Bulldog contingent on hand finally got to enter the stadium around about 5:40pm.  We

had already moved near the entrance gates and were some of the first to enter the stadium after they cleared out the fans from

the first game and cleaned the seating areas.  To be in the first hundred or so in and then watch it grow to a capacity crowd of

23,000 plus was interesting.

Packed house of 23,000 plus at Rosenblatt for Miss State vs North Carolina.

Little Bully did a great job against the team I think has the best lineup top to bottom in our bracket.  The Tar Heels can

swing the bat and Justin was a ground ball away (an error that should have been a double play) from taking the Dawgs

into the seventh with a 4-3 lead, instead they tied the game at 4-4 and Pigott was pulled in favor of a reliever.  For those

who watched the game back in Picayune on ESPN2, I know you all were into it.  I can only tell that is was very emotional

being there in person.  North Carolina held on for an 8-5 win putting the Dawgs into an elimination game matchup

with Louisville on Sunday at 1:00pm.

John Pigott, Dot Pigott, Cole Raiford, and other player's family members just before the Dawgs took the field.

I teared up when they put Justin's picture on the jumbo tron and he trotted out the mound in the bottom of the first.  I don't

know what the Pigott crew experienced, but I know how I felt about someone from my hometown who has always been a

lead by example person to be out there doing what he did today. I told him after the game that I will never forget being a part

of this.  He just smiled and said he wished he could won.  No excuses.  He was already talking about what they needed to

do on Sunday in their elimination game against Louisville.  I am not sure Justin has yet realized that he just pitched in the

Greatest Show on Dirt (I saw a banner proclaiming this at Rosenblatt).  He made history.  Pigott and Matt Riser, who

played here in the CWS in 2005, have done something special.  Two mentally tough young men who give it their all every time

out.  The Doc told me this was a great thing to experience. He was underselling. I wish Barry Harper, Rob Sigler, and Jason

Baker could have been here today. I know how much they would have enjoyed this moment.

Justin Pigott on the Jumbo Tron at Rosenblatt as he was taking the mound; making his first pitch against North Carolina.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Jason, Caleb, and I thought we would be slick and move down from our ticketed seats and do the Bob Uecker

thing and get better seats.  I mean, the game was in the second inning and looked like some prime seats were not being utilized, so we did

our part to put them to use.  How were we to know it was a sellout? Why do people show up when the game is already in progress?

Anyway, the people showed up in the third inning. They were nice about it. Looked at their tickets a few times before commenting,

"I think we have all five of these seats."   We had three of them warmed up and ready for them. So we gathered our things and went

back to our original seats and wouldn't you know it, someone was in our seats. We played it cool and did the ol' pull out your ticket,

look at a couple of times as if maybe it was printed incorrectly, before saying "Sir, we have seats 1, 2, and 3" and then watched them

do what we did earlier.  I thought it was kind of funny watching them react like we did just minutes earlier. I bet those people bumped

somebody when they went back to their seats.  I wonder how many times this happened until everyone got situated?

Gator and Caleb watching the game in the 5th inning.

Well, Caleb and Gator are sawing timber right now.  We had a great day, a blessed day to say the least.  We met great people from all

over the United States today.  We saw a great baseball game.  Caleb told me, before he fell asleep, that he hasn't had this much fun at

a game in his whole life.  Thank you Michelle, my wife, for encouraging us to make this trip. If there is a next time, get ready to pack a

suitcase and come with us.

Left to right: Cole Raiford, John Pigott, Dot Pigott (back to camera), Justin Pigott, and Carey after the game.

Day (4) Saturday:

Bad directions, beach balls, bridges, and defensive Beavers

When I last checked in with you all, Caleb and Gator were sleeping.  It got interesting when I decided to turn in for the night.

Caleb had fallen asleep crossways in the bed rolled up in the comforter.  I tried to awake him and get him "tucked in" in the

correct direction. Well, that didn't work.  I roused him just enough for him to take a tighter hold, or should I say roll, on the

comforter.  It took me about three tries and five minutes to get him "squared" away, pointed in the right direction and under

the sheet and blanket.  The comforter got discarded on my third attempt to get him out of it.  After this encounter of the third

kind (or time), I was so tuckered out that I slept in til 8:00am.  I wish Dr Lohnes were here this morning as an adjustment

would have been nice after wrestling with the zonked Caleb left me twisted

After I returned from my morning 2 mile walk (wasn't going to let a little soreness or being out of town mess up my routine),

I returned to find the two bears still asleep.  I thought I made enough noise to wake them up, but had to finally open the

shades (that first light always seems to work everytime) to get 'em moving.  I asked Caleb why he was so stubborn last

night?  He looked at me like I was from Mars. "What are you talking about?" he responded.  He and Gator thought I was

making it all up.  You know, those two have spent too much time together over the past few days and have this little bonding

thing going a little too far at times. It now seems they back up each other on everything.  I'm starting to feel like the odd

man out on this trip.

Well, they finally got moving and we headed to the continental breakfast in the hotel around 9:45am. On that "continental"

thing, I never have really grabbed that concept.  Yes, we drove far enough to almost reach another continent, but what

can be continental in Iowa, just across the river from Nebraska? This is the land of corn and tractors and the CWS. 

Okay, I disgress.

After eating, the plan was to spend the morning at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum here in Council Bluffs. I looked at the

directions on Mapquest and thought I had committed them to memory (didn't have a printer with me). I got us lost three times

on the way to the museum. Gator finally convinced me to stop so he could ask for directions.  He picked out a lady working

in her yard doing what appeared to be a weekly ritual for her.  She rattled off directions so fast, I was sure we would be worse

off once we tried to use them to get to the museum. Well, I shouldn't have underestimated Gator because he remembered the

numerous turns and we ended up right in front of our desired destination in about 10 minutes.

Once inside, the self guided tour provided a lot of valuable insight to the history of the transcontinental railroad.  I was amazed

on how persistent these early Americans, with assistance from Chinese immigrants, were in forging the path to connect the

east to the west. They were the real deal based on one fact I discovered: they bored a 1,659 foot tunnel through a solid granite

mountain in 16 months with only black powder for small explosive charges, wheel barrows, railroad piques, and shovels. 

As I read this, the thought hit me that they would have come in handy last night to get Caleb out of that comforter.

The next stop was a trip to Old Market area to eat at the Old Chicago Eatery.  Rather than try to remember Mapquest

again (the boys were giving me a hard time about the museum blunder and rescue by now), I decided to let Gator call

411 information and get the number, call the restaurant and get directions and go from there. 

Well, ol Rand McNally Gator got directions and the next thing you know we are lost again, this time in Nebraska. 

Oh boy, I felt like Yogi Berra and his deja vue all over again thing.  What we found out later was that there are two

Old Chicago Eatery restaurants in Omaha and while we thought we called the one in Old Market, we were actually

given the number to the one was across town.  We drove around in circles for 20 minutes and wouldn't you know

we gave up and tried to find our way back to the 13th street (road that Rosenblatt is located on) and remarkably

drove right into the middle of Old Market and past the coveted Old Chicago Eatery.  I once heard that God places

angels to look out for drunks (we aren't that) and crazy people (now that's possible).

After finding a good parking spot, we sat down to a good deep dish pizza, a couple of sodas and self-sweeten

tea for Caleb (he asked for sweet tea and the guy chuckled) and watched the first five innings of the day's first

game between Arizona State and the California-Irvine Anteaters.  Now that's a mascot. The Anteaters.  They had

a hospitality area for their fans on 13th street across from Rosenblatt.  I initially thought is was a weight loss center

when I first saw the banner on the place where they had their hospitality station, but then I remembered that they

had made it to Omaha by beating the Wichita State Shockers last week. Shockers. Another cool nickname.

Caleb in front of the California-Irvine hospitality house on 13th street across the street from Rosenblatt.

We left for Rosenblatt around 2:30pm to buy some souveniors and get in line to get a good, first come, first serve,

seat in the general admission (GA) outfield seats.  One thing we have learned in our few days here is that good

parking is at a premium.  You have come early to get within walking distance of the stadium and you still may be

paying $10.00 to park in someone's back yard and have to dodge their gardens and get assessed a fine for killing

their tomato plants. Well, Gator came through again. Yesterday, he had discovered a place to park under a nearby

bridge yesterday and we went there and found a spot again today. It's about a 3/4 mile walk to the stadium and

on the way you walk down 13th street in front of all the souvenoir vendors and hospitality tents & houses. Is that

Gator great or what? Well, after all of the running around and overcoming bad directions, he was tired and asked

for permission to lie down under the bridge for a few minutes. Simon says rest. Gator rested on the cold concrete.

The "bridge" with Gator taking a needed rest while Caleb stands by the van laughing at Gator.

The way general admission seating works is like this.  You can buy a ticket for $9.00 and it is good for any game.

All seating is first come, first serve.  The kicker is that you have to wait in line on the side of a hill out beyond the

outfield for about one to two hours (most people sit or lie down in the grass) to assure yourself of a good seat.

After getting our soveniors purchased, we headed to the GA line around 3:45pm for the 6:00pm game between the

Cal State-Fullerton Titans and the defending champion Oregon State Beavers.  We saw a great game with four

"web gem" plays by the Beavers' defense and some great pitching by both teams. There were three solo shot

homers and two of them landed to our right and left respectively.  It was a very fun time in the GA bleacher seating.

The crowd of 24,559 was the 9th largest of all time for a CWS game. It was standing room only just like last night,

but even more folks in the 'Blatt.

Our view of another packed house from our seats is above. The players don't look that small

in real life. The second picture of the Beaver player batting is more realistic.

The GA crowd has a game of its own.  As good as ESPN is at covering the CWS, they don't give you the whole

story. First off, beach balls are illegal at the 'Blatt.  People find all kinds of creative ways to get them into the stadium.

It's a game of cat and mouse between the security folks and the fans.  The beach balls emerge slowly as the game

goes on, but only in-between innings when the action on the field is limited to the pitcher getting his warmup tosses

and the fielders doing the same.  We learned fast today that the security officers take "capturing" the beach balls

as serious as some of my friends back in Pearl River County take hunting deer. Whatever it takes, get the beach

ball seems to be their motto.

Gator (wearing Caleb's camo Dawg hat) and Caleb (sporting his new mesh Dawg hat) follow

the bouncing beach balls while a local Nebraska fan walks by my unoccupied seat. The guys

to Gator's right are seminarian priests at Creighton University in Omaha. Ironically, the

guy is left handed like Justin Pigott. Who says the world is right handed?

Two things about this beach ball thing are downright funny.  One, the outfielders want to be fan favorites, so they

go out of there way to return the beach balls to the fans in the stands rather than letting the security guards run

out from the respective foul line chair seats and destroy them with their Uncle Henry pocket knives.  In the stands,

the fans keep hitting them around totally immersed in keeping an eye on where the security guards are lurking. 

It's hard for you to understand or really grasp this without being there, but I hope the pictures inserted below

help shape it in your mind.  Secondly, the fans start out with one big ball and eventually have five to ten balls

bopping around in the air while the security guards get frustrated.  I know that sharing this information may not

be setting a good example for the youth of tomorrow on following rules, but come on, this is the College

World Series, also known as the Greatest Show on Dirt and according to the locals, traditions like this

are sacred to this event, so I am not about to frown on the fans carrying on a CWS tradition.

One ball for a couple of innings, then they go to a two ball game.

Above, there are five beach balls in the air  while the two security guards plot their strategy.

A hero is born as a Titan player flips the ball back into the stands just before the security guy

arrives, and gets some friendly harassment from a fan delighted that the beach ball has survived.

With the knife in his right hand, the security person has his "game" ready for the kill.

Wes Roemer warmed up just to our right in the Titans bull pen.

Well, the Beavers hung on for a 3-2 win defeating the Titans' first round draft pick pitcher Wes Roemer. 

In a losing effort, Roemer struck out seven to become the school's career leader in that category.  We had

the pleasure of watching him go through his pre-game warmups right in front of us.  During the game, he

made two bad pitches and both went for home runs.  The Beavers got great defense from their middle

infielders and good pitching from Jorge Reyes, Joe Paterson and Eddie "not Haskell" Kunz. Geez, Wally.

A great game and a great day.  Caleb and Gator are out again.  I'm going to make it there shortly.

Sunday will be a Dawg Day afternoon as Mississippi State has to win against Louisville in a 1:00pm

elimination game. We are going back to the grandstand seating for that one. Thank goodness, we know

where we are going.  I don't think we can survive another set of directions. Good night and God Bless.


Day (5) Sunday:

Game Day number 2...

Doggone it, DAWGS 2 and done; The Road Home Program

First thing Sunday morning (6:30am), we dropped Gator at Rosenblattt to get in line to get some of the daily

allotment of reserved grandstand sitting.  Caleb and I went to Mass at a local church and when we returned

to the stadium, I relieved Gator in line around 8:15am. Just a few minutes before the ticket booth opened

at 10:00am, a Miss State fan came by and had 5 front row tickets he wanted to unload.  I grabbed three

at face value and then hooked back up with Caleb and Jason at the van, which they had already parked near

the "bridge".  We were set for the Dawg's game.

John and Dot were to meet us at the famous Zesto's for a pre-game snack. While making our way from the

van, we ran into another diehard Bulldog fan from Picayune, Dave Hobgood, and he strolled with us up

13th meet the Pigotts just past 11:00am.  The cheeseburger is everything it is advertised to be. That's

all you need to know on the food.  Didn't get a milkshake, but just about everyone else on the block had one.

Dave said this was his first trip to Omaha, but he would be back.  I guess that's what happens to baseball

fans; you come once and get hooked because this event is too good to be true in so many facets.  We enjoyed

visiting with Dave.  I hope he has a safe trip home once he decides to head back to the 'Yune.

Gator, Dave Hobgood, and Caleb wait for John and Dot at Zesto's across the street from

Rosenblatt Stadium.

We went into the stadium just after noon and we found our seats to be even better than we expected;

Halfway between the Dawg dugout and the bullpen on the front row.  Too good to be true. As game

time approached, more and more State fans arrived and were pretty vocal on a hot, hot day. 

"In the front row....finally"

Once the game started, it was all Louisville as they hit just about everything the Dawgs pitcher's threw near

the plate. They hit long balls (home runs), singles, doubles, sacrifice flies to build a 8-0 lead; we got to

see just about the entire State pitching staff warm up and get a chance to throw. 

It was just one of those days.

Aaron Weatherford warms up as Caleb and Gator look on.

Brandon Turner hit a three run homer to cut into the lead for a short period of time and gave the Dawgs'

faithful something to cheer about, but the Cardinals kept scoring. 

Jeffrey Rea finished 3 for 4, his last hit coming in his last at bat in the ninth. Everyone there pulling for the

Dawgs came to their feet and gave him a fitting standing ovation.  I think his career leading hit count is

in the 335 range.  This guy can hit and he is a class act the way he plays and handles himself.  I hope he does

well in his professional career. I know I've enjoyed watching him on TV and a couple of times in person.

Jeffrey Rea is safe at third.

Jeffrey Rea singles above.

With the game, over it was tough on the State fans and players, but as Gator and I discussed later, there

are no losers in Omaha, only one champion is crowned.  The accomplishment of a team to make it to this

place, when you consider that hundreds of teams started the year with hopes of getting to Rosenblatt, is great.

To be in the final eight is a great season, period. We thought of teams you figured would be here

that didn't make it: Vandy, Texas, Florida State (Little Bully Justin had something to do with that), and so

on.  It takes a little luck.

Dot Pigott and Alison Raiford in the middle of the crowd on the last day.

After a few goodbyes with the Pigotts and other Dawg fans we had meet during our stay, we left for the journey

home at 5:17pm.  The intent was to get as far as we could and bed down for the night. That plan was scrapped

in Kansas City after a good Cracker Barrel meal. The thing that kicked us over the top was that when we walked

up to the restaurant, Roger Miller's King of the Road was playing on the sound system.  All we needed was a

little motivation to go straight through, and this welcome from the CB, got us ready to take on the miles ahead

without a sleep over. My favorite line is "no phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes.

We left K.C. at 8:50 pm. Caleb drove us to Columbia, MO, I took over and made it to just south of Cape

Girardeau, MO and brought in relief help from Gator who took us to West Memphis, AR.  I jumped back in

and got us down the road for another hour or so; then Gator pulled his last relief effort and after breakfast in

Senatobia, MS at 7:00am, we made the call to the bull pen and brought in the left handed closer Caleb.

Caleb, who was well rested having slept from St Louis to north Mississippi.  Caleb was flawless, allowing no

hits, no runs, he left two in the van (Gator and me), and picked up the save while facing three major highways.

We arrived in Picayune at 11:17am.  The end of line.

Caleb on the last leg south of Hattiesburg. Well rested, he held I-55, Hwy 49, and I-59 in check.

I can't tell you in words how wonderful this trip was for all of us. We plan to go back next year unless something

gets in the way.  It would be great if Justin and the Dawgs could return again, but we all know how difficult that

is to accomplish.

Near the end of the trip, I told the guys we would have to watch the rest of this year's tournament on ESPN

and look forward to the outcome. Caleb, in the middle of his relief effort around Hattiesburg, commented

that he may watch a little bit of it, but wouldn't be glued to the tube.  Jason and I were confused.  Then, Caleb

told us something that made a lot of sense: "After being in the stands and watching it live and seeing all the fun

stuff going in the stands on that ESPN doesn't show you, it won't be the same for me. You have to be there

in the stands to get all the good stuff."   He's probably right.

That's the best way to sum it all up.  Go It is the best venue of college sports anywhere. The people

of Omaha and the surrounding communities are so hospitable.  Below is a picture of one of those folks

who were so kind, Sue Hronek.  We sat by Sue for the last game and she gave us great insight to what

the CWS means to the local area, the talk of a new stadium versus refurbishing of Rosenblatt, and she

thanked us for coming and was just downright friendly. We told her we'd be back even if we don't

have a team in it.  We will.