• Interactive Tour: All-Access at TD Ameritrade Park
• Panorama: Were you at the game? See the full stadium or zoom in on your seats
• Ballpark Comparison: How do TD Ameritrade Park and Werner Park stack up to other ballparks?
• Photo Showcase: TD Ameritrade Park opener, April 19 (game action)
• Photo Showcase: TD Ameritrade Park opener, April 19 (fans)
• Video Below: See sights and sounds from around the stadium, game highlights, a postgame interview with Creighton coach Ed Servais as well as the first collegiate pitch at the ballpark
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For the big dry run, the weather finally turned dry.
Omaha opened TD Ameritrade Park to baseball on a night better suited for football, with temperatures dropping into the 30s and a brisk wind blowing.
It was the kind of weather the College World Series never gets.
But Tuesday's grand opening offered the first read on how Omaha's signature event will play in its new $131 million home.
The anticipated full house for the Nebraska-Creighton game didn't materialize, thanks to the weather. Although paid attendance was announced as 22,197, actual attendance was estimated by Creighton officials at 18,000.
By the 6th inning, the crowd had thinned out considerably.
Still, Creighton announced that the crowd was college baseball's biggest this season, topping the attendance at the Florida-Louisiana State game March 18 in Baton Rouge.
Nebraska won Tuesday night's game 2-1.
The NCAA had 15 staff members on hand to monitor the game and grounds, from big issues like pedestrian and traffic flow to little details like the location of the baseball-storage room and the time it takes to walk from the umpire room to the field.
Dennis Poppe, the NCAA vice president of baseball and football, said he noticed when the 6:30 p.m. game started a few minutes later than scheduled.
Poppe said Tuesday's analysis may seem like over-planning. But he said the little details are critical to carrying off an event as big as the CWS.
NCAA officials will be back at TD Ameritrade Park for the May 10 Nebraska-Creighton game, which will be televised by ESPNU.
“June 18, we're going to hit the ground running, and we'll be on top of it,” he said.
Before the game, Roger Dixon, who heads the ballpark's management authority, toured the 360-degree concourse to see how everything was functioning.
“So far, so good,” he said.
Dixon, president of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, said Tuesday night's event produced no big surprises. He said the stadium music was a little loud, and he noted that the ballpark still doesn't have ATMs, although concession counters accept credit and debit cards.
Dixon said the stadium crew was prepared for a late-arriving crowd.
Sure enough, fans made a late rush on the downtown stadium; at one point traffic was backed up six blocks on Cuming Street. But by game time, the street was clear.
Fans spent some time acclimating themselves to the new surroundings.
Jim and Margie Lukas, who own Creighton season tickets, enjoyed drinks and concession food along a rail just behind the reserved seats.
Jim Lukas said the wide concourse flowed well and the concession stops all were within walking distance. “The travel around looks big, but it's really not,” he said.
But the wide concourses still bunched up at times. A stand giving away T-shirts to people with special tickets clogged up one spot, the Hot Diggity Dawgs stand another.
In the outfield, two beer stands stood some 30 drinkers deep.
Brian Thompson and his family, with heavy coats on and two blankets in tow, shrugged off the cold from their seats 26 rows behind home plate.
Thompson said he had no problems arriving 1½ hours before the game and parking at a Qwest Center Omaha parking lot.
“I think it went really well,” he said.
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• Video: Sights and sounds from the TD Ameritrade Park opener:
• Video: Game highlights from the opener at TD Ameritrade Park:
• Video: Creighton coach Ed Servais after the opener at TD Ameritrade Park:
• Video: The first collegiate pitch at TD Ameritrade Park: