June 14, 2000
By Mark Long
OMAHA, Neb. – Florida State always visits its favorite practice
facility during trips to the College World Series.
This year, something was missing, though.
Gene Ralston, from nearby Bellevue, wasn’t at the Seminoles’ practices this
week at Don Roddy Field. But his cooler was.
Ralston, suffering from a bleeding ulcer, kidney stones, cataracts and other
ailments, collapsed at his doctor’s door in December, spent several weeks in
the hospital and nearly died.
Though Ralston always tries to make FSU feel at home in Nebraska, he was too
ill to make it down to the practice field this week. But he made sure his
cooler was there, filled with cold drinks for the Seminoles.
When coach Mike Martin found out about Ralston’s health problems after
practice last week, he loaded up the bus for a short road trip.
Ralston’s wife, Marilyn, had been warned in advance the team was coming, but
“So he opens his front door and he sees the bus in his driveway,” Martin
said. “And you should have seen the look on his face. I don’t know if you can
ever feel better than I felt right then.”
The Seminoles lined up to shake Ralston’s hand, wish him good health and
tell him they missed him at practice.
“That’s what Omaha is all about,” Martin said.