Dennis Poppe, one of the architects behind the College World Series’ ascension into the national spotlight, is retiring after this year. So he was recognized before the first game Saturday.
Poppe and his family stood just in front of home plate as Jack Diesing, president of CWS of Omaha Inc, thanked the NCAA’s top baseball ambassador for his 26 years of work.
After a short video presentation, Diesing announced that a space just outside TD Ameritrade Park on the southwest side will be named the Dennis Poppe Plaza. A dedication ceremony will occur next year.
The Dennis Poppe Plaza will be identified by a permanent monument standing more than 8-feet tall with a description of the contributions made by Poppe during his tenure.
The CWS fans gave Poppe a standing ovation.
And perhaps in one of the more classic examples of Poppe’s dedication to the sport (he’s always emphasizing the importance of the players’ CWS experience) — he was the first one to start ushering his party off the field.
“Let’s go,” Poppe said, motioning toward the dugout. He knew that Oregon State’s players were ready to take the field.
>> Here’s a story on Poppe’s replacement, Damani Leech.
>> And for those interested, here is a shot of the ballpark as Nashville’s Mary Sarah performed the National Anthem. Holding the flag were Sue’s Stepperettes, an Omaha dance and baton-twirling team that was part of Friday’s shortened opening ceremonies. Shortly after that, Poppe was recognized.
Here’s a video rendering of the new Dennis Poppe Plaza: