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College World Series is back — with changes

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:49 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The countdown has begun.

TD Ameritrade Park Omaha will be full of fans Saturday, when the first pitch for this year’s College World Series is thrown. The series could be the largest in-person event since the COVID-19 slowdown, and fans will see some changes in the usual events.

The playing of the national anthem will be virtual, tickets will be digital, and a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be open. But some fan favorites — team autograph sessions, and opening and closing ceremonies — won’t be held at all.

“While not everything’s exactly the same as we hope it to be,” said Jack Diesing, president of CWS Omaha, “let’s just say we’re happy to be at the forefront to getting back some sense of normalcy.”

Fans will be able to tailgate, but they won’t be able to buy general admission tickets. A lot of individual game tickets are still available, though.

“I would say that people coming from out-of-town probably should have a pretty good chance of getting a ticket,” Diesing said.

Officials say there will be efforts to sanitize during and between games to help fight the spread of COVID-19. No cash will be accepted to buy concessions. Reverse ATMs will be available to change visitors’ cash into ATM cards.

“Each of these measures will help us to achieve our goal of implementing the best safety practices of reducing potential touchpoints between our guests and our event staff,” said Diane Duren, chairwoman of the MECA board of directors.

CWS officials remind fans that other safety protocols from years past are still in place.

“Just like in 2019, any bag larger than 4 1/2-by-61/2 inches must be clear, uncolored plastic in order to gain entry,” Duren said. “Additionally, we will continue the practice of wanding individuals who enter the stadium.”

CWS officials say they are doing all they can to make sure the event is a safe one. The park can be at capacity, but it will be up to each person to decide whether to join the crowd during a pandemic.

“If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask,” Diesing said.

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