College World Series Blog: Cardinal Arrives In Omaha For 2008 College World Series
June 13, 2008
Omaha, NE. - Friday, June 12: Omaha, NE -- Rosenblatt Stadium
The Stanford men's baseball team arrived in Omaha along with the seven other rival programs that will look to win the 2008 Baseball national title. The team flew in on two separate flights, with the hitters arriving a little earlier than the pitchers as they took batting practice at nearby Creighton University.
The first day in Omaha didn't provide any game action, but that didn't mean the team wasn't busy on the opening Friday.
The day began with a practice session at Rosenblatt, which enabled the team to get acquainted with the surroundings they will inhabit for the rest of the season. A crowd of about 2,000 watched the Cardinal prepare for the Florida State Seminoles, who had the practice session preceding Stanford's.
After the practice the team proceeded to an autograph session that lasted nearly 45 minutes and fulfilled the requests of over 500 people. The first fans in line said they waited nearly two hours to see their favorite Stanford players up close.
The Clark and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball Mark Marquess then went to a press conference with all eight College World Series coaches and was upbeat about his team's chances and praised all the other teams that also made it to Omaha.
'There is so much parity in the college game today,' said Marquess. 'It is a testament to these seven other coaches that have made it to Omaha as the game has changed a lot in the last 30 years. You used to be able to pick out of a group of only four or five teams that had a chance to win the national title, but now there is a group of probably 40 to 50 teams that could easily win the title and you wouldn't be surprised.
The team had a little downtime in the afternoon back at the hotel, but quickly had to make it back to Rosenblatt Stadium for a dinner with all eight teams and opening ceremonies to kick off the two-week tournament.
Heavy metal band 'Candlebox' blasted through the airwaves with a lot of songs that were hard to distinguish, and a local Omaha catering company treated the out of town teams with an Omaha BBQ dinner.
The teams proceeded to the opening ceremonies and each had a highlight video as they were paraded across the field to cheers of the Omaha faithful. Miami was the lone team to get booed in the event, and North Carolina had the loudest cheers of any of the teams.
A presentation for academic excellence followed with Stanford's own David Stringer picking up the award for highest GPA of any participant in the College World Series. His 3.92 GPA in Mathematical and Computational Sciences beat out all the other competitors to pick up the plaque.
'It is hard sometimes to balance schoolwork and Division I baseball,' said Stringer. 'But I have worked hard through my four years and just want to enjoy being here in Omaha.'
The night concluded with an elaborate fireworks show that lasted nearly 15 minutes long. It ended with many fireworks going off to the '1812 Overture', which concluded the busy first day for the team.
The Cardinal will not prepare for national number two-seed Florida State, who won their own Regional and Super Regionals and boast a team batting average of nearly .350. They are led by one of the top players in the country in Buster Posey, who was the fifth overall selection by the San Francisco Giants in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft almost two weeks ago. The game is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. PST on Saturday, June 14.
The photo gallery below is courtesy of marketing guru Andy Sikic and Stanford baseball SID Aaron Juarez.