Monday, June 28, 2004



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


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