Wednesday, June 16, 2004

CLOSE ONLY COUNTS IN HORSE SHOES AND OTHER TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE

CLOSE ONLY COUNTS IN HORSE SHOES AND OTHER TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE
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

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