Omaha vendors do big business with Bulldogs’ fans

By NEMS Daily Journal

OMAHA, Neb. – Mississippi State fans continued their College World Series assault Tuesday, even after Monday’s 3-1 loss to UCLA in the best-of-three series opener.
Some of their favorite haunts are the T-shirt and apparel vendor tents surrounding TD Ameritrade Park.
“All the Mississippi State fans have been here buying T-shirts,” said Al Keller, who manages the Pro Image shop. “We’re hoping they’ll win (Tuesday) and be here another day … not that I don’t like UCLA.”
Speaking of the Bruins, Keller says his shop received its “UCLA national champions” T-shirts Tuesday, just in case they sweep.
MSU fans blanketed the stadium shopping area on Tuesday morning. There were no UCLA fans to be found.
“I’ve seen more LSU fans than UCLA fans today,” Keller said. “I sold one LSU fan a Mississippi State hat. He told me he ‘might as well join them.’’’
Adam Jeup, a cashier at another vendor tent, was just about sold out of MSU gear. “We’re selling a lot of Mississippi State stuff. I’m surprised because they all came here in full uniform,” he said, then chuckled.
OMAHA’S BULLY
If you’ve seen ESPN showing a bulldog standing near the celebration statue outside the ballpark, it’s more than likely Omaha’s Rosie. The 5-year-old bulldog, owned by Omaha’s Cari Tokheim, is a frequent visitor to the site.
“She’s photo bombing everybody’s pictures,” Tokheim said. “The Mississippi State fans all want to pat her for good luck.”
Tokheim’s family owns a CWS/Nebraska gift shop across the street from the stadium. When the CWS games were played at famed Rosenblatt Stadium, the Tokheim’s had a T-shirt tent on site.
“Georgia was playing Fresno State,” Tokheim said. “A lady came into our tent holding a baby bulldog. I knew I had to have it.”
She bought the dog, named it Rosenblatt – Rosie for short – and the rest is history.
THE FRONT ROW
Columbus residents Nancy Duke and her nephew Dalton Ford, were at the front of the general admission outfield seats ticket line for Tuesday night’s game. They had been there since 8 a.m.
“This way you get the seats you want,” Duke said.
“I want to be on the front row, next to the UCLA bullpen,” Ford said. “That way I can see the scoreboard (in right field). I’ll also be in left if Wes Rae or Hunter Renfroe hit a home run.”
FIELD OF DREAMS
The former CWS site – Rosenblatt Stadium – is now part of the Omaha zoo’s recreation area and is called “Johnny Rosenblatt’s Infield at the Zoo.”
The mini baseball field includes the site of the original homeplate, seating from the stadium and the foul poles.
MSU fan Reed Breckenridge, 13, of McComb played with others in a short game of wiffle ball on the field.
“This is really neat,” he said. “I’d like to have this in my backyard.”
gene.phelps@journalinc.com