Monday, June 28, 2004

Notes on my napkin while Rosenblatting from my recliner.

With no Omaha these days I rotate between my own honey-do list and the television version of the NCAA baseball title time and try and sort a sock drawer and in-basket neglected the past month or so.

The first item is to report that my pal Shayne Schroeder, a former LBSU sports info boss, lost his father a week before Father’s day and this week he made the sad sojourn back to suburban Chicago for the services. Ironically his dad will now get to root on the Angels, the real ones, while Shayne gets stuck with the Cubs.

My own dad lives in Florida and is already getting geared up for college football and trying to keep his Miami, Virginia Tech and Florida State sons on their toes. He is West Virginia alum but prefers to stir the sporting pot with his kid’s favorites.

Another dad tale came when I partied with a former student, Mike Netter, who just earned his doctorate from UCLA. That brought his extended family to town and Mike’s pop shared a sporting take about little brother Louie. “Lou really was a little nervous about baseball, since ten year old pitchers were a bit wild. But he hung in there and one day got both a foul ball and a triple and then quit the game.”

Next up on family matters is the news that Long Beach State Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Reynolds is beginning to fill in the blanks for next season. The latest, but not likely the last adoption, is a husky inside enforcer out of Compton College. Sam Byrd who comes to campus at 6-10, 235 averaged a mere 6.9 points per game. He can rebound, 5.2 rebounds per game, and his team won the state JC title.

He will be one of six newcomers who will be crucial to Dad Reynolds still heading the hoop family after next year. Previously Larry signed a couple of what Seth Greenberg used to call suspects-not exactly blue chip prospects-but folks he suspects could be difference makers. One is 6-10 Erik Atman, a referral from the previously signed but yet to play Shawn Hawkins, grandson of legend Connie Hawkins. He averaged 4.1 ppg. Another family referral is Keion Kindred, a high school teammate of current Niner Travon Free. Not a deadly shooter but at 6-5 a big tough guard who could open up the shooting spot for Jabril Hodges, son of legend Craig Hodges. Stay tuned.

DOLLAR DUST- While Dirtbag Jered Weaver racks of more national awards I tried to figure out how many columns I would have to write to match just his bonus money. For opening day if Jered will throw some of his bonus to the crowd I will throw my whole paycheck.

Best of the quips from the College World Series is this from the other USC, South Carolina. Zinging old rival Clemson the Gamecocks say, “Friends don’t let friends wear orange.” Sort of sums up my feelings about Fullerton.

Last Add is Next Up. The next live action at the U is women’s volleyball and despite the dire reports on the damaged goods that Gimmillaro and Green have to work with the schedule is friendly enough. The Beach gals could well be 9-0 before the team heads up to Pacific where they will be decided underdogs. In fact the whole sked is loaded with lightweights except for UOP, UCSB and maybe Cal Poly. Taking baby steps in a rebuilding year (12 0f the first 15 contests in the ‘Mid) is a wise decision but won’t toughen the team enough to be a playing host in December when the Final Four comes to town.—DR. DAN



With the June gloom behind us and actual competitions completed maybe we can pull the Beach chairs around the fire pit for a mid-summer session of the hot stove league. Hot-stoving of course is a no holds barred, no facts necessary free from reality free for all.

First up is this item from faithful reader and true rocket scientist Mike Hickey. Mike gave his take on the pitching limits of college kids, such as his and my favorite Dream Weaver, Jered. “…maybe holding Jered to about 110 pitches all through the season would have been a better idea instead of letting him ever get over 120 pitches. Let's see... pitch # 124 grand slam to UCSB, pitch #123 home run to Fullerton, pitch # 135 annoying the hell out of the Angels brass. Very few good things ever happened to us after Jered hit pitch # 120. Even in his complete game he gave back half the lead (after pitch # 120) before he could finish it up.”

Next up was the worried look on the ESPN faces who finally got a huge audience but not much of a power show. Still dreaming of those Omaha nights that resembled home run derby for the most part the eight entries this year turned Rosenblatt Stadium into a singles joint. Of course a key factor is that the NCAA brass swung the bat pendulum back from those outrageous howitzers days to sticks that almost resemble wood. Now if the major leagues would help themselves by funding wood for everybody they would be able to save a zillion on bonus babies who can’t make the switch to ash from aluminum.

Another post-College World Series reality is that football is almost around the corner. Proof of which are the early Las Vegas lines for the NCAA-BCS championship. USC- not the baseball guys- opened at 3-1 and is now 2-1 based on no recent arrests. Oklahoma is 4-1, Miami is 6-1 and LSU is 9-2. Go figure and then remember the Big Ten where I have a hunch that Michigan (9-1) will rise to the top and play Miami in the Orange Bowl title tilt. The NFL early picks are New England, Philly, St. Louis and Tampa Bay.

Back to the home bases many locals fear that the upcoming coaching carousel, with UCLA as exhibit one, could cause some havoc with existing staffs, maybe even the Dirtbags who have a highly regarded number two guy in Troy Buckley. Recruits very well and I’ve heard tell has done a pretty fine job with pitchers. Of course the head guys at Irvine and Fullerton are also on the short lists of coach-hunting ADs.

And now the final list for the elite Team USA baseball will indeed include to Niner soph sensations pitcher Cesar Ramos and SS Troy Tulowitzki. Both are team leaders and will be joined by Ricky Romero of CSUF who apparently has been playing in some sort of tournament in Nebraska. The skipper is Frank Cruz of LMU who ironically watched two of his transfers in the CWS, starters for Miami and Texas.

Last add numbers game. You got to figure that consensus All-American and NCAA player of the year as a pitcher Jered Weaver doesn’t much like metal bats sixty or so feet away. He may change his mind since the latest prize on his crowded Simi Valley shelf is a Rawlings gold-plated bat given to the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year. It is his sixth POY this year. The last of the big prizes will be announced in mid-July when the final votes for the Roger Clemens Award and the Golden Spikes Award are revealed.—DR. DAN

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


As the little kids pack for summer camp they might well have an up close and personal experience with the game of horse shoes. I did many, many years ago and ironically played again back in 1989 and 1990 as part of the late and truly great LBSU football coach George Allen’s superstitious pre-game ritual. Once when he discovered that the real horse shoes were locked up in the PE building George had me fashion a set from soda pop cans and we played on. Great fun.
I thought of that time and those games in the super gloom of Sunday night in conjunction with the saying that “close only counts in horse shoes” (and maybe dancing). The Beach faithful were just short down at San Diego in the 2001 finals of the NCAA women’s volleyball championship. Short again earlier this spring in the NCAA men’s volleyball title match and of course an extra inning loss Sunday night in the fight for a ticket to baseball’s title town of Omaha. Three times close and none of them fun.
All of that said and done the Beach brass will now lock up all the sporting stuff until September first when a rebuilt—many of them surgically—women’s volleyball team hears the first whistle followed by the rest of the Beach portfolio of soccers, swimmers and jump shooters. No word on whether or not the Intramural department still has the horse shoes locked up.
WRAPPING-UP DUST-Nobody can be sure how Arizona will do this weekend in the Dirtbag’s Omaha spot but the Cats played six of the last eight weekends on the road and won. Ironically Mike Weather’s said that other than enjoying the big crowds at home his 2004 team actually played better on the road than they did in their spacious Blair Field home grounds.

On top of the great gate it was nice and breezy all weekend at Blair. Meanwhile down in Miami, where the Canes beat rival Florida, the press noted ”the game baked at about 100 degrees…If anybody was selling shade, they'd have gotten rich. The sweating-room-only crowd of 5,097 included plenty of people laid prone by heatstroke; with paramedics treating a dozen fans who fainted”.

In the Blair stands was one of the first big boosters for Beach baseball Don Dyer down from his retirement villa on the San Juan Islands in Washington State. He cheered the home team all weekend and also greeted his new neighbors, President and Mrs. Maxson, who have traded their So Cal mountain retreat for a San Juan Island getaway place.

The super regional also marked the end of a college career for one of the best college pitchers of all time, Jered Weaver. Secretly battling swollen glands the last half of the season he still competed tooth and nail and will now get some time off before the Angels drive him to the bank. Angel GM Bill Stoneman stepped across the lines when he complained about JW’s pitch count on Friday. Perhaps he thinks that colleges are his free farm system.

Last Adds and Subtracts. The five guys drafted will be gone but the 2005 nucleus should be good with all stars Cesar Ramos and Troy Tulowitzki returning as anchors plus the heavy hitting of Danny Mocny and Sean Boatright. Mix in the young talent that got valuable work this season with some outstanding recruits and the Beach will be back in the post-season again. Write it down.—DR. DAN