As Omaha baseball assistant coach Brian Strawn talks over a Zoom interview, you can hear the enthusiasm in the fifth-year assistant’s voice as he raves about Tal Anderson Field.
“It’s been incredible,” he said. “The guys have been talking about it, and we’ve been talking to them about it for four or five years now and now we finally get to practice on it and play on it and it’s better than we even imagined it would be.”
The $22.5 million baseball and softball complex that opened earlier this spring comes with several features that Strawn said the team has taken advantage of.
“There’s a lot more space in the bullpen for the pitchers to get their work in,” Strawn said. “You go down the ramp and you’re in a dugout that’s three times the size that we’ve been used to. It’s a major league dugout and they modeled it after TD Ameritrade’s dugout.
“There’s just so much more room and having bathrooms connected to the dugouts is really nice as well. Just about anything you can imagine is just major league level.”
Tal Anderson, which seats 1,500 fans, also boasts a turf field and a concourse that connects it with the softball complex next door. It’s paid dividends for both programs early on.
“For them to be able to work on their own without a coach present is just so much easier when it’s field turf,” Strawn said. “They can just jump on the field and get going right away and not have to worry about dragging the field or doing the work we have in the past, so it’s just so much more practical for them to get out there.”
It’s also added a unique element as fans can watch both games at the same time when they overlap, plus the two programs that share the complex can support each other.
“It’s really kind of cool because baseball and softball are on opposite sides, but we’ve had days where baseball and softball play at the same time and you can just hop from one side to the other,” Strawn said.
“It’s just amazing for our athletes. When Trev (Alberts) became the athletic director, he had a vision for athletics and it started with Baxter Arena. That was phase one. Now going into phase two with baseball and softball, it’s been a long time coming, but with his leadership it’s just been incredible the transition down to south campus for athletics.”
Even going to the stadium this late in the 2021 season, the feeling is still overwhelming. The assistant said it’s still surreal and it truly feels like a major league baseball stadium. However, his favorite feature is one the fans might not see.
“My favorite thing about the stadium is that there is a bluetooth connected right there in the dugout,” Strawn said. “The guys can play music from their phone, and it goes on all the speakers in the stadium. There are a lot of cool aspects that you can run from your phone.”
It’s been a long time coming for the Omaha baseball program and athletic department, but so far it’s been a roaring success. For someone who has been there every step of the way the past five years, it’s nice to have a place that’s their own.
“Playing in the city park wasn’t too bad, but now we’re in our brand-new stadium,” Strawn said. “It’s finally our home.”