Archive for the ‘College World Series’ Category

CWS Leaderboard

June 13, 2009
Back here at Omaha-a-a-a-a-aaaa.

A few fun facts as you get ready for the College World Series that begins today:

Most appearances –> Texas with 33
Most titles –> Southern California with 12
Most wins –> Texas with 78

Largest comeback for victory –> 4 by Southern California over Missouri and LSU over Miami (FL)
Largest margin of victory –> 12 by Rice over Stanford

Longest game (time) –> 3:59 Southern California vs. Arizona State
Longest game (innings) –> 15 by Michigan vs. Santa Clara and Southern California vs. Florida State

Highest batting average –> .714 by Jim Morris
Most at-bats –> 35 by Johnny Ash
Most consecutive hits –> 8 by Dave Magadan and Barry Bonds (in consecutive CWS)
Most home runs –> 4 by several but Charlton Jimerson has the most lead-off with 2
Most RBI’s –> 17 by Stan Holmes
Most HBP –> 4 by Kurt Suzuki

Most wins –> 3 by several
Most saves –> 4 by Huston Street
Most innings pitched –> 27.2 by Bob Garibaldi
Most runs allowed –> 20 by Rob Souza
Most earned runs allowed –> 16 by Ben McDonald
Most strikeouts –> 38 by Bob Garibaldi
Most wild pitches –> 6 by Bob Garibaldi

Most errors –> 8 by Gary LeFevers

I’ve always liked the College World Series, and I’ll try to watch as much of it as I can. Though I don’t think they should use aluminum bats, I still love the sound of the ping of the aluminum bat. And just like most college championships versus professional championships, there’s just so much more passion on display, and that makes it that much more fun. Most, if not all of it, is on ESPN, and unless you’re in a foreign country, go watch some of it.

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Rosenblatt Stadium

June 13, 2009
Enjoy it while it lasts.

Omaha Municipal Stadium was built in 1947 to hold minor-league teams. The St. Louis Cardinals were the first team to locate a team in Omaha, making it the home of their single-A team. In 1955, the Omaha Cardinals were promoted to AAA status as part of the American Association. Six years later, the Los Angeles Dodgers took the team and renamed it the Dodgers, but the team did remain part of the American Association for two seasons. Between 1962 and 1969 (and 1960), no minor-league teams played in Omaha, but in 1969, the Kansas City Royals moved its AAA team to Omaha. The Omaha Royals have played their ever since, but now, they are part of the Pacific Coast League (the AA disbanded in 1998).

In 1964, the stadium was renamed Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium after the city’s former mayor. Rosenblatt played in semi-pro and even professional baseball before coming back to Omaha and entering into a life of public service. He saw the potential of the city and pushed for the construction of the stadium. From 1954 to 1961, he served as the city’s mayor, and he was a big reason the College World Series stayed in Omaha despite financial losses. Unfortunately, Rosenblatt had Parkinson’s Disease, but his service and dedication led to the renaming of the stadium in his honor.

Though home of several minor-league teams during its history, Rosenblatt Stadium (aka “the Blatt”) is most known for holding the College World Series and has since 1950. Every time that the contract has ran out, the NCAA and Omaha have come to quick agreements to continue the relationship, and the newest contract has Omaha retaining the rights until 2035. However, there are concerns as to whether or not Rosenblatt Stadium will be a part of the College World Series much longer.

Originally capable of holding 13,000 people, the demand for tickets led to renovations that added 10,000 seats. That’s great for the College World Series, but it doesn’t help the Omaha Royals, who struggle to bring crowds that occupy even half of the stadium. The Royals believe a smaller stadium would allow for a more intimate experience. Though the Royals would like to remain in Omaha, a partner for 40 years, they do have to run a business. But what do they do? One suggestion is to build a new stadium with removable seats to house the CWS and the Royals, but the Royals doubt that it would allow for an intimate experience even with the removed seats. Another is to build a stadium for just the Royals, but Rosenblatt Stadium needs more than just the CWS to survive.

As of April 30, 2008, an agreement has been reached to build the new downtown stadium for both the CWS and the Royals. The remaining Rosenblatt stadium will be sold to the local zoo and demolished. However, there is a campaign to save Rosenblatt Stadium, but the desire for modern luxuries and amenities is too powerful. Built back in the late 1940’s, the stadium isn’t beautiful. It’s looks a little piecemeal due to all the renovations, and its bright blue steel beams aren’t exactly attractive. A new stadium would be in the heart of downtown with shops and restaurants. It will have bigger concourses. It will be prettier. As for the Royals, they will not join in, but they will stay in Omaha, building a new stadium in the suburbs. By the time the 2011 College World Series rolls around, the new stadium will be unveiled.

As with most historic stadiums, history and tradition with a renovated facelift or modernity as part of eventual progress? It’s a tough call for all involved.

College World Series

June 12, 2009
I really like the song that used to begin every College World Series game. It’s still occasionally played, but I’m disappointed when it’s not. Omaha-a-a-a-a-a-aaaa.

Baseball has been played on college campuses for a long time, dating back to the late 1800’s, but the games were mainly held within conferences. Late in the 1930’s, the National Collegiate Athletic Association began pondering a national tournament for basketball, and in 1939, the first national collegiate basketball tournament was held. This landmark beginning paved the way for national championships in other sports, including baseball.

In 1945, the American Association of College Baseball Coaches was formed, and their first idea was an All-Star Game. The first contest between East and West, which ended in a 6-2 East victory, was a success and promoted discussion of further events. University of California coach Clint Evans proposed a national tournament, such as the one involving basketball, but to be more like the World Series. Two years later, the idea was officially brought before an NCAA committee, and predictably, it was accepted.

Evans immediately benefited from his idea. The first College World Series (the name is a Major League Baseball trademark licensed to the NCAA — does everything have to be about money?) pitted Evans’ University of California versus Yale University. Originally, the tournament was pure double-elimination, and Yale had moved through without incident. In the first game, Cal pummeled Yale 17-4, bringing up a final game. Happy Chandler, the contemporary commissioner, had thrown out the first pitch and was extremely happy with how the tournament flowed, and he was excited for the last game. Yale put up a hard fight, but Cal won 8-7 to take the first College World Series. The last out? George Bush Sr. The place of that College World Series? Kalamazoo, Michigan

The College World Series was held in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1947 and 1948. A year later, Wichita, Kansas held the tournament. But for as good of an idea as it was and appears today, it wasn’t profitable back then. In 1950, the tournament moved again — this time to Omaha, Nebraska. For the first 12 years, the tournament did not turn a profit, but the city believed it could become a marquee attraction in the future and held onto it. Nice decision. Rosenblatt Stadium held the tournament in 1950, and it still does today.

Double-elimination was the preferred choice for the tournament through the 1987 season, but in 1988, it was slightly changed (a lot happened in baseball in 1988, my birth year). Instead of a pure double-elimination, it was divided into two brackets of four teams. Those brackets would play out in pure double-elimination fashion. The winners met for a championship game. Believing that only one championship game was unfair and unlike baseball (and the College World Series, for that matter), outcry led to the ending three-game series we see today, which began again in 2003.

But the College World Series isn’t the only part of the tournament. At the beginning, 48 teams played in 8 six-team brackets. The winner of those brackets went onto the College World Series. In 1999, the tournament expanded to 64 teams. With the addition of teams, 16 four-team double-elimination brackets begin the tournament in what are called regionals. The winners meet in 8 matchups of three-game series entitled Super Regionals. The winners of those matchups come to Omaha.