On the '97, the block drain plug holes were used for the knock sensors, one front and one rear. Removing these will (I think) drain more of the coolant from the block than just removing the hoses. When you put them back in, you can use any good thread sealant on the male threads of the sensors to help prevent them from leaking. The temperature won't reach 300F and the pressure won't exceed 20psi, so read the label on the sealant. RTV would probably work, or teflon pipe joint compound. Just don't use anything that will set up hard and make it difficult to remove them in the future.
More info on knock sensor location at: