NEW YORK — Despite weather delays and flight cancellations throughout the week, Kansas State fans were well represented at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
K-State athletic director John Currie said the university sold 50 percent more tickets than it was expecting to, and easily cleared their ticket allotment of 2,500. Currie estimated close to 3,300 K-State fans purchased tickets from the school, and several more bought tickets on their own.
"Our fans, as they always do, have done a great job of making themselves seen and representing our entire university,” Currie said.
But there was no denying that getting all the way from Manhattan to New York was difficult for a large number of fans. President Kirk Schulz said he’d heard his fair share of travel mishaps this week, and had a number of fans pull him aside in New York to tell him they would prefer a warmer bowl destination next season.
He suggested creating an online forum where fans could share their stories, and said he wouldn't mind K-State returning to the Pinstripe Bowl in a few years.
"It was amazing to talk to K-Staters about how they got here, and I think for the next 30 years those fish stories will get bigger and bigger," Schulz said. "I think that's all part of the experience, there are a lot of people we saw this morning, they just talked about, 'Hey, we're just glad to be here in time for the bowl game.’ ”
All for effect — Snow covered portions of the grass at Yankee Stadium surrounding the football playing surface, but Yankees president Randy Levine said it was left there purely for effect. He wanted a national TV audience on ESPN to notice the game was being played outside in the elements.
A blizzard hit the Northeast over the weekend, but following several days of work from maintenance crews, the rest of the venue, including the stands, was snow free.
The game started with clear skies and temperatures in the 40s.
"At the end of the day," Levine said before kickoff, "the sun came out and it's beautiful here in New York City."
Basketball next? — Currie said he has been in discussions with Syracuse administrators about playing a basketball series with the Orange. He didn't specify how far along those discussions are, but said ideally they would agree to a two-game series with games being played on neutral courts at Madison Square Garden and Kansas City’s Sprint Center. New York is a big recruiting area for K-State coach Frank Martin, and four current Wildcats are from the Big Apple and surrounding areas.
Slippery when frozen — The playing surface at Yankee Stadium was cleared of snow, but it still showed effects of cold. K-State players said the ground was hard and slippery. They thought it affected their performance.
On a Marcus Sales touchdown in the second half, Ty Zimmerman slipped and fell while trying to defend him. Daniel Thomas once fell before he could take a handoff and defensive lineman Antonio Felder said they had to stay flat-footed as often as they could.
"That was the toughest field I've ever played on," Felder said. "It was really slippery, and hard to deal with."