OMAHA, Neb. - The scoreboard at Rosenblatt Stadium is more likely to reflect a baseball score this weekend than it did in 1998, when Arizona State and Southern California slugged their way to a footballlike 21-14 final in ASU’s last College World Series appearance.
In 2002, the park was made more pitcher-friendly during renovations that included raising the 6-foot-3 outfield fence to 10 feet and lengthening the power alleys by 15 feet. The new dimensions of the park are 408 feet to dead center, 335 feet along the foul lines and 375 in the power alleys.
By comparison, Packard Stadium’s dimensions are 395 feet to center, 339 down the lines and 370 in the power alleys. The fence at Packard is also 10 feet tall.
Like at Packard, wind can play a large role in the outcome of games at Rosenblatt. The wind blew in while Tennessee took batting practice Thursday morning and kept the ball in play. By the time ASU took batting practice, the wind had died down and Jeff Larish and Zechry Zinicola both pounded souvenir shots to young fans in the outfield bleachers.
"If it plays as a pitcher’s park, it’ll help us," outfielder Colin Curtis said. "We don’t have a lot of power numbers and our pitching staff has been pitching great lately."
SPEAKING OF 1998
ASU’s College World Series run has jogged memories for first-year pitching coach Jack Krawczyk, who helped lead USC to the national title in 1998. Krawczyk, a graduate of Arcadia High School, is considered one of the best relief pitchers in NCAA history and picked up the 23rd save as a senior when he closed out ASU in the 1998 title game.
"It’s exciting to see this place because we won a national championship here," Krawczyk said. "You still get that same adrenaline going, but it’s different because now it’s not about me, it’s about (the players). I’ve been fortunate to come back in my first year of coaching."
CWS TO MLB
There were 80 former College World Series participants on major league baseball rosters on May 2. Wearing ASU’s maroon and gold while in Omaha were the Giants’ Barry Bonds in 1983 and 1984, the Marlins’ Paul LoDuca in 1993 and the Mariners’ Willie Bloomquist in 1998.
Three Diamondbacks played in the College World Series. Randy Choate appeared with Florida State in 1995 and ‘96, Troy Glaus with UCLA in 1997 and Russ Ortiz with Oklahoma in 1995.
ASU’s record against College World Series teams this season should have been listed as 4-6 in Thursday’s Tribune, including a 2-1 mark against Baylor.