By Eric Olson
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. — Oklahoma State pitcher Tyler Buffett was money in his first game at the College World Series.
What would you expect?
Buffett is in Omaha, the hometown of Warren Buffett, and he’s related to the billionaire investor, too.
The Cowboys’ “Candyman” found time this week to meet the famous “Oracle of Omaha.” Tyler and his immediate family and friends from Albuquerque, New Mexico, had dinner with Warren and his wife Astrid on Sunday night at the home Tyler’s parents are renting during their stay at the CWS.
Tyler said he had never met Warren until this week. Tyler’s father, John, is the son of the late George Buffett, Warren’s first cousin.
On Monday, Tyler pitched eight strong innings in the Cowboys’ 1-0 victory over Arizona, putting his team within one win of next week’s finals. Warren watched the game on television. Tyler visited Warren’s office at Berkshire Hathaway headquarters on Tuesday.
“I went with my parents and saw some of the cool baseball memorabilia he had down there,” Tyler said. “He told me I did a good job. He also said that, in his opinion, Dustin’s foot was on the bag.”
Tyler was referring to the ninth-inning play where first baseman Dustin Williams originally was ruled to have pulled his foot off the bag on a putout. The runner was ruled safe, but the call was overturned after umpires conferred.
Warren wrote in an email to The Associated Press that he first heard about Tyler’s pitching prowess while visiting John Buffett in Albuquerque a couple years ago. He said he has followed Tyler from afar.
“He’s a terrific person just like all of the Albuquerque Buffetts,” Warren wrote. “I watched the entire game last night despite it going well beyond my normal bedtime. I like watching Tyler in action. He doesn’t waste time between pitches.”
Warren was a part-owner of the minor-league Omaha Royals (now the Omaha Storm Chasers) from 1991-2012. He said he may invite fellow billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens, a major Oklahoma State booster, to Omaha to cheer on the Cowboys together. He then made reference to the popularity of his business advice, always eagerly sought.
“All pitchers of course want my tips on the various pitches for which I am famous. (Each of course looks like a changeup but there are subtleties involved),” he wrote.
Tyler is studying management and marketing at Oklahoma State, but business did not come up in his conversations with Warren. Tyler’s grandfather in 1956 started Buffett’s Candies, an institution in Albuquerque. See’s Candies is part of the Berkshire Hathaway empire. Tyler, aka “Candyman,” said he remembers his grandmother joking about which branch of the family made the best candy.
“He is family, but he’s sideways on the family tree, so you don’t see those members of your family a whole lot,” Tyler said. “He’s still family, so he treated us like family, and we treated him like family. It felt like he had always been around. He seems just like my grandpa, so it was cool.”
MORE, AND TOUGHER, COMPETITION
Longtime Miami coach Jim Morris has brought 13 teams to the CWS and won two national titles. After his team was eliminated Monday after going 0-2, with the second loss to the University of California Santa Barbara, Morris said it isn’t necessarily harder to win in Omaha. He said it’s a bigger challenge to get here, though, because there are more capable teams.
“There are so many good teams that I never heard of 15 years ago, one being Santa Barbara,” he said. “I wouldn’t have known anything about them. But this is their first time. And I want to congratulate them. It’s a great thing. And them getting here or even TCU — to the point you heard of them, but they weren’t a baseball school (years ago). The coaches have gone in there and done a good job.”
For the first time since 2005, the Atlantic Coast Conference failed to advance a team past its first two games. … A total of 27 runs were scored through the first six games, the fewest in CWS history. … Arizona’s pitching staff is the first since 2010 to have two pitchers with at least 10 strikeouts in a game. Nathan Bannister had 11 against Miami on Saturday and Bobby Dalbec had 12 against Oklahoma State on Monday.
AP Business Writer Josh Funk contributed to this report.