OMAHA—A little excitement was expected in the baseball game, but the weather provided it this evening at TD Ameritrade Park when an approaching thunderstorm accompanied by high winds interrupted the sixth game of the 2011 College World Series, with Florida leading Vanderbilt 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
When tornado sirens rang out just after 8 p.m. local time, fans immediately got up and began exiting the stands. Play actually continued as Vanderbilt got an out before umpires called the delay at 8:02 p.m. Many of the fans retreated to the main concourse, a touted feature of the new ballpark that earned a big thumbs up on this night.
Here’s a view from both sides of the aisle:
Buddy and Pam Leach, Commodores fans (their sons attended the school) in town from Franklin, Ky.:
“We saw the forecast this morning,” Buddy said. “We knew weather was moving in about game time. It was beginning to look like we’d get the game in, but then here it is. We couldn’t see it from where we were sitting. It came in from the Southwest, I think."
What did you think when you heard the sirens?
“That there was probably a tornado in the area,” said Buddy. “But we hear those sirens at home, too, in Kentucky, and we’ve had some bad tornadoes there. It does make you worry a little bit . . . The fans filed out pretty quickly. I think they took it to heart. There wasn’t really any lightning and I don’t think from the field you could see the cloud that well. But the darkness of the cloud and then when the wind pick up, I think it made believers of everybody.
“I feel safe here (on the concourse). It seems to be well built. A lot of structural steel. I feel safe.”
When is the last time you had a tornado back home?
“About six weeks ago,” his wife Pam said.
“We have a basement we can go to,” said Buddy, “but it was in the middle of the night and we didn’t make it to the basement. It did sound like a freight train coming through, but it was so quick and over so fast that it happened before we really had a chance to know what was going on and take shelter.”
So are you going to stick around for the resumption of the game?
“Sure,” said Buddy.
Taylor Blalock and his father Robert, Gators fans (and both graduates from the university) from Jacksonville, Fla.:
“To be honest with you,” said Taylor, “we didn’t hear the siren. The thing that made us the most nervous was seeing the skyline, seeing the cloud line. We’re not used to seeing that in Florida. When you think of a tornado forming that’s kind of a classical skyline. That made us nervous. Then they started rolling down the (doors at the concession stands) and people started getting behind (them).
“Hurricanes are what Florida’s known for and we get a week notice for those."
Were you nervous at all?
“Oh, yeah, definitely for a little bit. Mostly you feed off a little bit of pandemonium in the stadium. My brother was texting me from Florida saying it looks a little scary on TV. He said, ‘What’s your plan? You guys have a plan?’ “
So, did you have a plan?
“My plan was to go into the dugout so we could get underneath the stadium. That was my plan. I’m not sure my dad was with me.”
Are you going to stick around until the game resumes?
“We’ll wait it out,” said Taylor. “We’ve got nothing else to do, except sit in a hotel room. So we’ll sit here for a couple of more hours, anyway.