COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
SEEN & HEARD

Seen and heard in Omaha, Neb.

2012-06-16T00:00:00Z 2014-10-10T11:25:54Z Seen and heard in Omaha, Neb.Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 16, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Description of the day

"Our special marinade is a combination of secret ingredients - including whiskey, of course. Your steak is soaked for fifteen minutes only when you place your order so the marinade does not overpower the flavor of our certified Angus beef. The steak is then grilled to order on an open flame and basted with the marinade."

That's the description of The Drover restaurant's signature Whiskey Filet, a steak soaked in booze. Yes, we like Omaha.

The big numbers

22

Consecutive innings without a walk for Arizona Wildcats pitchers before Kurt Heyer threw four wide ones to FSU's James Ramsey in Friday's third inning. UA pitchers threw 19 walk-less innings last week.

24

Number of "Stony Brook Alumni Success Stories," a (hastily) assembled sheet produced by the school's media-relations department. The list includes New York City meteorologist Craig Allen and Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan.

22,391

Attendance for Friday's Arizona-Florida State game in Omaha. The early game between UCLA and Stony Brook drew 21,662.

Statuesque

Before holding their first practices at TD Ameritrade Park, all eight College World Series teams posed in front of an iconic statue.

"The Road to Omaha" statue was commissioned by the College World Series in 1999 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the tournament. When the CWS was moved from Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011, the statue came along. Artist Josh Lajba refinished it before it was transplanted to the front of the new park.

The statue depicts four ballplayers celebrating, presumably after a walk-off win. Arizona took its team picture wearing red tops, a nod to Arizona's cardinal-clad teams of the 1980s.

Oh boy!

We've been walking to the ballpark all week - gotta burn off those steaks, dontcha know - and so we were surprised to stumble onto the patron saint of junk food today.

Chef Boyardee, is that you?

You bet. ConAgra Foods chose Boyardee - real name: Ettore Boiardi - as the face of its empire when it moved into a new headquarters at 10th and Farnam streets in downtown Omaha last year. The statue of the famous chef lords it over the entrance. ConAgra has turned the Boyardee plaza into a festive baseball diamond this week: Hungry fans can stop by for baseball-themed food.

Rosenblatt bucks

People here still love Rosenblatt Stadium, the quirky but comfortable park that hosted the College World Series from 1950 to 2010.

You can take home a piece of the park - for a price.

The CWS gift shop inside TD Ameritrade Park is selling old Rosenblatt seat backs - not the chairs, just the backs - for $39. For $59 or $119, fans can purchase lithographs bearing the slogan "Never Forget." Our favorite, however, are the bricks. CWS officials have taken bricks from the old park and emblazoned them with your favorite team's logo. For $59, you can buy a Rosen-brick with a Block A on it.

You know you want one.

Fan favorites

Here's what separates the College World Series from, say, the Cotton Bowl: Smart locals.

The city of Omaha is passionate about college baseball, and - like all baseball fans - gravitates to underdogs. Which means a solid 75 percent of all locals are rooting for Stony Brook and Kent State, the two cold-weather, small-college powers still playing. TD Ameritrade Park was saturated with red T-shirts and Stony Brook signs as Friday's opener between the Seawolves and UCLA began. The Bruins neutralized it with a five-run first inning.

"Two years ago, we were kind of in the same situation with TCU. The whole crowd favored them over us," UCLA's Beau Amaral said. "Coming into it, we had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. We just have to play our game."

And the Bruins did, cruising to a 9-1 win - and disappointing a whole mess of Nebraskans.

He said it

"I'm a flat-ball pitcher, and I don't shy away from that. It's a lot easier to get outs with the ball in the air than with the ball on the ground." - UCLA pitcher Adam Plutko, after limiting Stony Brook to five hits in seven innings of a 9-1 win Friday.

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