CWS official says attendance dip is not a concern
OMAHA, Neb. -- The head of the local organizing group for the College World Series says there is no concern about the drop in attendance this year.
The average crowd was 21,734 at TD Ameritrade Park. That was down from last year's record of 24,392.
"Actually, we think it's quite an accomplishment to average 22,000 people watching college baseball where there is no home team," CWS Inc. president Jack Diesing Jr. said Wednesday.
Diesing said last year's attendance was an "anomaly." LSU and Mississippi State were among the eight teams in 2013, and each school brought along strong fan followings. Mississippi State had an estimated 5,000 fans migrate to Omaha just for the finals, Diesing said.
CWS crowds have averaged more than 20,000 every year since 1996. The event has been played in Omaha every year since 1950.
Total attendance of 347,740 for 16 games beat last year's record of 341,483 for 14 games.
Wednesday's crowd of 18,344 was third lowest this year.
ALL-TOURNAMENT: Vanderbilt second baseman Dansby Swanson was chosen CWS Most Outstanding Player. Five players from Virginia and three of Swanson's Vanderbilt teammates were selected to the all-tournament team.
The Virginia players were catcher Nate Irving, second baseman Branden Cogswell, outfielder Brandon Downes, and pitchers Artie Lewicki and Brandon Waddell. The Vandy players were third baseman Tyler Campbell, and outfielders John Norwood and Rhett Wiseman. Swanson was listed as designated hitter to make room for Cogswell at second base.
Also on the team were TCU first baseman Kevin Cron and Texas shortstop C.J. Hinojosa.
JUST THREE HOMERS: Texas' C.J. Hinojosa, TCU's Kevin Cron and Vanderbilt's John Norwood were the only players to hit home runs. The three homers matched last year's CWS total, which was the lowest since 1966, when the bats were made of wood.
ABOUT THAT OFFENSE: The eight CWS teams combined to bat .219 in 16 games, the lowest average since 1972.
ROUGH STUFF: Vanderbilt fans booed Virginia's Mike Papi when he came to bat for the first time Wednesday night. But he wasn't about to apologize for putting his shoulder into Vanderbilt third baseman Tyler Campbell at the end of a rundown between third base and home in the ninth inning Tuesday. Campbell hit the ground and cut his mouth on the play.
It was just hard-nosed baseball, Papi said.
"It was a dead-on-arrival play, so when the ball went back to the pitcher, I was in a rundown," Papi told reporters. "My job was to get the batter to second base, and I was going hard and (Campbell) was in the base line when I was going back to the bag."
Vanderbilt fans chanted "Throw him out" as Papi jogged back to the Virginia dugout. Commodores coach Tim Corbin said it could be argued that it was an overaggressive play on Papi's part, but he deferred to the umpires' judgment. Corbin said he didn't think the incident would carry over to Wednesday's game.
"No way," he said.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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