Hip-hip. . . . Hip-hip. . . . Hip-hip . . . HOORAY!
Count 'em, that's six hips — the total number of hip replacements among three top folks at the College World Series.
In baseball lingo, each pulled off a double play — both hips. And yes, all three are cheering the results.
“We all wish we had done it earlier,” said Dennis Poppe, 65, the top NCAA official at the series.
“I feel 20 years younger,” said Kathryn Morrissey, 57, executive director of CWS of Omaha Inc.
Public-address announcer Bill Jensen, 66, joked that he feels so much better with his new hips that he has to remind himself there are still limits.
“You have to be careful not to do certain things,” he said. “Like bungee-jumping and parachuting.”
They all can laugh now, which is a big difference from last year's College World Series, when each was hobbled. In their pain, they comforted each other by joking that they would run the bases at TD Ameritrade Park after their operations.
So on Wednesday, at a mostly empty stadium, they met at home plate and jointly headed down the first-base line.
OK, they didn't “run” the bases, but they made the circuit, celebrating the medical home run they felt they had hit.
A wag in the press box wrote in lights on the giant scoreboard: “The Bionic Hip Club.”
It's all so much better than last year, when the three did some consulting with each other to see how things were going.
“It was more like commiserating than consulting,” Denny said. “I had lived with pain for some time and thought it was part of the aches of aging.”
Kathryn said her pain worsened over seven years, and she rode around in a cart at last year's CWS. Bill said that for part of the 2012 series, he walked with a crutch.
Dennis, who lives in Indianapolis, had his surgeries in July and October. The Omahans had theirs locally by the same surgeon — Dr. Sam Phillips.
Cracked Bill: “We call him 'Sam the Butcher.'”
The term is playful, and in one sense it's not far off — Sam the Surgeon is the “pitmaster” for tonight's smoked-meat feast for players, coaches and other invitees.
This is the 13th year he and Phil Davidson of Omaha have headed a crew of about 25 volunteers who call themselves “Last Year's Champions.” They started smoking some of the meat at midnight.
“There's a lot of scrambling to cut up 1,500 pounds of meat,” the doc said, wryly adding: “Patients I've operated on come by, or those who might be considering surgery. It's probably not the best scenario to show my skill.”
The annual behind-the-scenes barbecue on the night of opening ceremonies at TD Ameritrade Park is only for the eight teams and invitees — part of Omaha's warm welcome to the universities whose ballclubs qualify for the national championship tournament.
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