Royal Blues

June 27, 2010 11:49 PM

Help a family come to Omaha - they could use it

RoadToOmaha.jpgIs it weird that I haven't blogged at all about the College World Series? It's my town, and it's often called "the center of the baseball universe" during this month. I haven't been to any games yet, actually, but I've been working and more importantly, soaking up the CWS atmosphere while it's still intact in its Rosenblatt-centered glory.

13th Street is a hoot, in particular. I've had the pleasure of working in a tent right next to Zesto's, where the crowds are constant and happy, and the employees are great fun. Our other tent, located near the front gates, has been great as well. Chit-chatting with family members of players and coaches has been fascinating. I'm not sure how much is bloggable - I didn't mention that I blog, and I don't usually post stuff from conversations without the other person being aware of what's up. But it's glorious to see how proud all the family members are. I especially liked the father of a catcher; he had so much pride and love in his eyes when he was talking about his son. He was eager to boast - in an adorable fatherly way - about his son's success, and stayed and talked to us about him for quite a while.

Family is a big part of the College World Series experience. It's a time when a lot of young kids figure out that they really love baseball. A coworker took her 6-year-old son to a game, and the kid was, for the first time, more interested in the game on the field than in finding stuff to do away from the field. That kid, with the CWS as his springboard, is going to grow up to be a great baseball fan.

A little boy in South Carolina didn't get that chance. Bayler Teal was 7, just old enough to be getting into baseball in that splendid way that the game grips all of us, but he died of cancer last week. The South Carolina team, moved by his two-year battle, dedicated their series to his memory. The Gamecocks are playing in the championship series, and Bayler's family wants to come to Omaha see the team that the little guy loved so much.

Because this is the age where generosity is easier than turning away from people in need, I wouldn't be surprised if total strangers covered ever penny of the Teals' trip to Omaha. A bank in Bishopville, SC, has an account set up. But for generous baseball fans who don't live out there, Travis Haney, who covers the Cocks for The Post and Courier, will pass along donations made to his PayPal account (his e-mail address is HERE). All he asks is that you mention that it's for Bayler's family so that the money gets to the right place.

Most of you reading this are Midwesterners, and the thing about Midwesterners is that we care about people and we love our baseball. For this family, we can combine those two things and make the final CWS at Rosenblatt special for more reasons than it already is. Go Cocks.  

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