Sept. 12, 2002
Details have been finalized for the ceremonies honoring the 2002 Notre Dame baseball team, to be held Saturday, Sept. 14 (prior to and then during the Notre Dame-Michigan football game).
The primary 45-minute ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Eck Stadium, with the program slated to include audio recaps of the season’s highlights (with play-by-play radio calls), presentations of College World Series rings to the players and coaches, and the raising of a CWS flag beyond the rightfield fence.
The ceremony at Eck Stadium, which is open to the public, also will include comments from Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri, Indiana lieutenant governor and former Irish catcher Joe Kernan, and baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, a longtime friend of the Mainieri family. Lasorda also served as the keynote speaker at the baseball program’s kickoff dinner prior to the 2002 season (which helped sell nearly 1,000 season tickets) and he also addressed the Irish squad at a team breakfast in Omaha during the CWS.
The first 2,000 fans at the Eck Stadium ceremony will receive a commemorative CWS flag.
The team additionally will be honored later in the day at Notre Dame Stadium, with an onfield recognition at the end of the first quarter of the ND-Michigan football game (kickoff for that game is set for 1:30 p.m.).
The eight members of Notre Dame’s 2002 senior class – the winningest class in the program’s history – are expected to join the returning Irish players at the ceremony. Two-time Academic All-American Brian Stavisky – who signed with the Oakland A’s after completing his junior season with the Irish – also has returned to campus as he works towards completion of his graduation requirements (Stavisky is one of five members of the 2002 squad, including four graduates, who went on to pro baseball careers in recent months).
Notre Dame’s 2002 team overcame an injury-riddled 9-10 start to fashion an historic season that included the program’s first-ever BIG EAST Conference tournament title, three straight wins to advance from the NCAA South Bend Regional (highlighted by a record-setting 25-1 win over South Alabama) and an upset of top-ranked Florida State in the three-game Super Regional round – sending the Irish on to the College World Series for the first time since 1957.
Check back to www.und.com for a recap of the ceremony, updates on all Notre Dame players who played in professional baseball during the 2002 season (including righthander Brad Lidge, who notched a relief win with the Houston Astros last weekend), a rundown of the current ND baseball players who competed in various summer leagues (including J.P. Gagne’s run with the Alaska Goldpanners that ended with a win in the National Baseball Congress World Series) and general fall season updates (the annual Blue-Gold intrasquad series will be held Oct. 8-10, with game times at 4:00 p.m.).