The big number: 19
College World Series champions, out of the last 22, who started their title run by winning their first two games in Omaha. Arizona and Arkansas are the only two teams in this year’s tournament to start 2-0.
He said it
“The young man in question, John Holland, made a serious error in judgment.”
— Florida State coach Mike Martin, on his decision to suspend Holland — his team’s starting designated hitter — indefinitely. The Seminoles’ freshman was arrested, and subsequently pleaded guilty Tuesday, to one misdemeanor charge of damaging property after he and his brother allegedly swapped price tags while trying to buy merchandise from a sporting goods vendor.
Ice cream, man
The Omaha ice cream battle has been joined.
We gushed Monday about Zesto’s and its delicious hot-fudge chocolate shake.
Tuesday, we checked out the competition.
Ted & Wally’s, located near the Old Market district about 1 mile from TD Ameritrade Park, has been making super-premium (aka, don’t ask about calories) ice cream since 1986 — coincidentally, the last time the Arizona Wildcats won a College World Series here.
We stopped by Tuesday afternoon and ordered one scoop of blackberry pie ice cream in a waffle cone.
At $3.60, the sweet stuff — loaded with chunks of real pie crust — was delicious and a welcome break from the Omaha heat.
Put an ice cream scoop to our heads, however, and we choose Zesto’s. It’s just way too good.
Next up: The Omaha steak challenge — and, almost certainly, morbid obesity.
Never too much
Since arriving in Omaha a week ago, the Wildcats have practiced five times, played two games and been witness to non-stop baseball action and analysis. Heck, the postgame press conferences are televised on ESPNU.
Which begs the question: Is it too much?
Alex Mejia laughed.
“When you talk about overload, you talk about the (regular) season,” he said, mentioning the stresses of school, travel and competition. “This is a nice getaway from the school atmosphere because you only have to worry about baseball.”
Mejia’s even filling his down-time with it.
Arizona’s star shortstop attended Monday night’s game between Arkansas and South Carolina as a fan.
He ate a pretzel with cheese, and regretted not chasing it with a lemonade. He wanted the souvenir cup.
“It was interesting,” he said, “to be a part of the wave.”
Two of the top three seeds have already been eliminated from the College World Series, and South Carolina — the two-time defending national champion — is facing elimination.
That’s good news for Arizona. Sort of.
Coach Andy Lopez has been to too Omaha too many times — this is his fifth trip in 20 years — to handicap the two-week, double-elimination tournament.
“I came here with Pepperdine in 1992 as a No. 7 seed and won it all. I came here as a No. 1 seed in 1998 (with Florida) and lost,” he said.
“Once you get here, it’s the eight hottest teams in America. They’re all pretty good and, on top of that, they’re hot.”
No convincing him
Arizona players spent Tuesday afternoon at an Omaha children’s hospital, where they visited — and subsequently befriended — kids with both minor and serious medical issues.
All but one of them came away with a new favorite team. One patient, Sean, is a die-hard Arizona State fan who carries a stuffed Sparky with him.
UA coach Andy Lopez tried to convince him to root for Arizona instead, but — as any Territorial Cup fan knows — Lopez had no chance.
Read more on the College World Series in Wednesday's Arizona Daily Star.