World Series notebook
Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2011
World Series notebook …
OMAHA, Neb. ó ěGideon the Hippie Ministerî returned for another visit to the College World Series, and members of a nearby church are glad he did.
Texas Longhorns fan Peter Manry, an ordained minister, has attended almost all the games here since the late 1980s.
He makes the 900-mile drive from his Houston home with his dog, Bonnie, and each year he donates thousands of T-shirts he brings along to the First Christian Church in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Most shirts are leftovers from Houston-area road races. Local missions canít use the shirts, Manry said, and many are sold as rags.
ěWe take them to somebody that needs a change of clothes,î he said.
Manryís trip is always timed around the CWS. This yearís a bonus. His Longhorns and rival Texas A&M Aggies are here.
ěWe always come up, whether the team comes or not, to bring a little Texas flavor,î he said. ěItís really special. But we have fun either way.î
Manry, 58, quickly developed friends since making his initial 1989 visit. In his younger days, he earned his nickname because of his long hair and hippie lifestyle. Even today, he answers to ěgideon.î He prefers not to use a capital ëg.í
ěMy first year here I was introduced to about 15 different people that had been coming every year for 30 years,î he said. ěNow Iím one of those people. There are hundreds of people that come looking for me every year.î
This yearís trip to Omaha had one hurdle. Because of Missouri River flooding, Manry had to detour off Interstate 29 near the Missouri-Iowa border. He finished the journey on U.S. Highway 75.
One year, Manry returned home via Highway 75, which runs all the way to Houston, and enjoyed visiting with folks during stops in small towns.
ěItís very interesting when people ask me where Iím going for my vacation and I say Omaha,î he said.
ěPeople donít realize Omaha was a vacation spot, but it really is.
ěItís lovely, people are nice. The series is awesome. Itís good old-fashioned baseball.î
PROUD CAL DAD: Sunday was an extra special Fatherís Day for Roy Johnson. He got to watch his son Erik pitch Californiaís CWS opener against Virginia.
ěThis is immensely pleasing, unbelievable,î Roy Johnson said. ěItís a dream come true.î
The Johnsons, from Los Altos, Calif., were worried for Erikís future when the Cal administration announced last fall it would be cutting the program in 2012. That was before Erik, a junior, was drafted in the second round by the Chicago White Sox.
The Cal baseball program was reinstated after a $9 million fundraising effort wrapped up in April.
After the tension of the offseason and early part of this season, the trip to the CWS is a nice way to end it.
ěI still have to pinch myself in the morning to make sure Iím awake,î Roy Johnson said while watching Calís batting practice. ěIt doesnít seem real.î
Johnson admitted that he and wife Margaret were battling nerves ahead of Sundayís game.
Erik, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior who was drafted in the second round by the Chicago White Sox, was lifted after three innings.
He allowed just two hits and no runs but walked five and the Bears lost 4-1.
SIT AND WAIT: Texas A&M fans Michael Robbins and cousin Mark Schmidt were assured they would get a front-row general admission ticket for Sunday nightís game by being first in the long general admission line.
They secured their spot two hours before Sundayís first game.
They lounged in lawn chairs for more than 51/2 hours until the GA line opened for the Texas A&M-South Carolina game. Schmidt said the wait was worth it.