CUTigers' Omaha Blog (June 19)

OMAHA, Neb. - Brett Jensen of CUTigers.com brings you a live blog from the College World Series, as the Tigers begin their march towards what could be their first ever National Championship in baseball. Check back every day for more updates!

CUTigers' Omaha Blog
JUNE 19, 2006- Cha-ching! Eric Boynton of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and I went to the local racetrack Sunday afternoon in Iowa to bet on the ponies and it was a profitable day. Well, at least for one of us.

After three horse races, I was up a hefty amount. Eric, on the other hand … not so much. I should have left earlier than I did, but I still walked away with a solid sum to the good. Eric wound up losing as much as I won.

We left the horses and went straight to the ballpark to watch one of the best-pitched games I've ever witnessed in person. It was a masterful performance by both pitchers and one that was a pleasure to watch.

After the game, when talking to second baseman Taylor Harbin, designated hitter Herman Demmink, pitcher Stephen Faris and head coach Jack Leggett, you could sense the frustration of not producing any sort of offense and being shutout for the first time in 131 games.

Yet, at the same time, there didn't seem to be a panic in their voice or mannerisms. They still seemed confident as though they were still the team to beat. It was as if they were like, "OK, we had a hiccup and we'll just take care of business and do it the hard way."

That's all well and good, but their offense, which really hasn't been the same since Travis Storrer went down with a foot injury, better pick it up and return close to form. The team has to rely on the first six hitters because it's asking way too much to have freshman D.J. Mitchell produce pressure situations. He had a nice ACC Tournament, but he doesn't hit doubles or triples and has never sniffed coming close to a homerun.

Having him and catcher Adrian Casanova hitting in the last two spots is like giving away two free outs. I'm not trying to hate on them, but facts are facts.

I still think they will beat Cal State Fullerton, but taking two from UNC is another story.

To post comments about Brett's blog, or ask a question about the Tigers while they are in Omaha, please click here.
JUNE 17, 2006- I swear, this trip is turning out to be a comedy of errors among the South Carolina media. I haven't seen or heard so much odd and laughable material since I witnessing Larry the Cable Guy in Charlotte, back in February. It's a wonder some of these guys can even feed themselves.

It starts off with radio talk show host Phil Kornblut, who Clemson fans love to hate. He's been in Omaha since Wednesday with no luggage because the airline he flew has lost his stuff. They literally have no clue where his bags are. Thus, he's been sporting the same outfit day after day.

Late Friday night, he finally ventured across the river to a Wal-Mart in Iowa to buy some clothing, which seemed logical.

Well, Saturday morning, I got a firsthand look at his sense of fashion. It's obvious all his taste is located in his mouth and that his wife shops for him.

He showed up wearing a black and gray mesh Starter athletic shirt that was sleeveless. Nearly every single member of the media and most of the baseball team just laughed at him and made snide comments. Here is this older, white, Jewish guy sporting gear that looked like he came straight out of Compton. Kornblut said he was just trying to fit in with the rest of the Iowa rednecks.

I'm waiting with baited breath to see what outfit he pulls out his wardrobe next. Stay tuned.

Following baseball practice, six of us went to play some hoops at Creighton University. It was a pathetic display of ineptness and uncoordinated white guys that obviously had very little basketball savvy. The one exception is Paul Strelow, the Clemson beat writer for The State. He played in high school and it showed.

But the North Carolina Tar Heel came out in him as he did his impersonation of former Heel Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse is suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals for committing a flagrant foul on Shaq. Strelow did the same to me when going up for a close shot. It was a foul so brutal that he's been suspended from our next game.

To post comments about Brett's blog, or ask a question about the Tigers while they are in Omaha, please click here.
JUNE 16, 2006- I have found my first experience in covering the College World Series to be as great as everyone said it was. One veteran sports writer, who has done it all, said it was the best collegiate event he's ever been to. I have to agree. It beats the Final Four, BCS bowl games and even the Champs Sports Bowl.

The atmosphere is unique and the "scenery" is a site to behold.

The trip was made even better when I got a call from the front desk at the hotel at 9:15 a.m., that my power cord had arrived. I haven't been so happy since Roy Philpott gave me a pay raise.

However, as happy as I am to be here, Spartanburg Herald writer Eric Boynton is equally as miserable. Had it not been for Clemson making the CWS, he would be covering the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

He half jokingly said, "I cried today while watching the U.S. Open." Knowing Eric like I do, he probably did.

One of the funniest things to occur Friday came immediately following Clemson's win. While the entire horde of media started walking down some outside steps to get to the media room, Anderson Independent-Mail writer Greg Wallace fumbled his cell phone over the railing.

He went chasing after and leaned over the railing to see where it was headed.

It fell a minimum of 20 feet and luckily onto a roof below instead of some unsuspecting fan's head. It just so happened there was a worker on the roof, who gave the phone back to Greg. Incredibly, his Sony Ericsson didn't have a single mark and still works like a charm.

Golf is on the schedule for tomorrow and tonight's activities are still up in there air. There's talk of casino action, which is just fine by me. I love to gamble, which would explain why I ate the barbeque in the press box today.

To post comments about Brett's blog, or ask a question about the Tigers while they are in Omaha, please click here.
JUNE 15, 2006- Day two in Omaha meant the first chance to talk to the players and interview the coaches. The players were fine and seemed loose. They looked as though they had soaked it all in and were ready to hit the field Friday.

To be honest, I think it's the coaches of the eight teams that are the tightest and on edge. While doing the hour-long press conference today, most glared into the cameras and media with stern faces as though they needed a dose of Pepto-Bismol.

In only my second day here, I've already been honored with the John Brasier Award, named after the current sports editor of the Anderson Independent-Mail. He is famous among the media for constantly losing or forgetting things, like his entire computer.

Late Wednesday night, I discovered that I had left the power cord to my computer on my couch back in South Carolina. I had to call my landlord, have them open the door so a friend could get it and overnight it to me so that I will have in time of Friday's game. In case you're wondering, it costs $27.50 to overnight a power cord.

In the meantime, I am using laptops from other members of the media.

Rosenblatt Stadium is a site to see, especially with the carnival-like atmosphere going on just outside it. Picture a county fair with a huge baseball stadium plopped down in the middle and you'll have what it's like here.

There's even animals. Just beyond the right field wall is the Omaha Zoo. On television, it's the big dome looking thing that's 10 stories tall.

The temperature for Friday is suppose to reach 97 degrees, which means it will be well over 100 on the field. If Clemson is smart, it will wear the white uniforms and force Georgia Tech to wear its dark blue ones.

To post comments about Brett's blog, or ask a question about the Tigers while they are in Omaha, please click here.
JUNE 14, 2006- Live from Omaha, it's Brett Jensen and his daily blog.

I'm not getting paid to say this, but if anyone ever has to fly to somewhere in the upper Midwest, I suggest you fly Midwest Airlines. Though it's a small operation based out of Milwaukee, it might be the best airline I've ever had the chance to fly. And I've flown quite a few airlines.

The seats are huge and leather. It's as though they took all the seats in first class and put them throughout the rest of the plane. If space weren't enough, midway through the flight they serve freshly made chocolate chip cookies. What more could you ask for?

Me and another sports writer, Larry Williams of the Charleston Post & Courier, made an unexpected visit to Rosenblatt Stadium, site of the 2006 College World Series. There was no security, so Larry and I just walked onto the field, where the grounds crew was getting it all dressed up for Friday.

We had no credentials and no one asked for them, so we acted as though the field belonged to us. We goofed around and took pictures standing on the pitcher's mounds, acting like we were yelling at the ump from the dugout and making sensational catches against the centerfield wall. Good times.

We then went and ate at an Omaha tradition better known as Mister C's, which is an odd, but very delicious steak house. The bill was $30 each, but it was worth every penny.

Gotta go and get some rest. Clemson practices early Thursday morning and work actually comes first.

Until Thursday, Brett Jensen

To post comments about Brett's blog, or ask a question about the Tigers while they are in Omaha, please click here.

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