Monday, September 27, 2004


Folks can fuss about America’s fascination with sports but at least these conflicts, except in soccer loving South America, generally aren’t about life and death.

Last week the esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the NCAA, working secretly in their smoke and/or perfumed-filled rooms, again want to tweak the landscape of college sports, this time baseball.

Now all of what follows is subject to affirmation, modification, or rejection by the NCAA Presidents later this Fall, but take a gander.
First of all spring practice would not begin until the first of February and games on the first of March. Those New Year’s day practices would all be gone, and by extending the season only one week the 56 games would be crowded into some four game weekends, two contests in the mid week, and obviously a lot of double headers. In total three weeks are gone.

Competitively it may be that these changes would play into the strength of the Dirtbag program, lots of good pitching. Not all great, but probably a deeper staff than other schools, especially the Northern and Eastern teams that have long been jealous of the head start that warm weather Western teams enjoy.

The negatives of course include money, as colleges who end their term before their season have to feed and shelter their troops and of course during the term players will miss a lot of class in the compressed format. Stay tuned, the NCAA’s big boys are really playing hardball for a change.

NAME DUSTING-The only silver lining in the proposed NCAA new baseball calendar is the fact that LB featuring Troy Buckley and the wide open spaces of Blair Field is a pitching magnet.

Your ladies of the spike split last weekend and reportedly the kinder, gentler Gimmillaro is letting his young ‘uns learn on the job. Those of us on the press table have noticed a lot more praise although Brian still insists that confrontation occurs being the scenes with good effect. “It helps good players get better.”

Two of the best of the baby boomers are Mariko Crum and Alexis Crimes. Their fans love to see them terminate with a big swing but both players sear they love the block party more than scoring.

Water Polo world figure Rich Foster is keeping score on how often we mention his favorite sport so I have to catch up by reporting that LBSU will hit the road next weekend for the NorCal Tournament in Stockton. Last weekend the locals whipped Redlands 10-4 Sunday morning, took a power nap then routed Chapman 17-2 Sunday afternoon.

Last add water working. The Beach pool is busier than ever with youth swim and water polo clubs featuring great youth coaches and Rich is still angling for a national training center for aquatics and volleyball, perhaps near the Belmont Pool

Beach tennis is also improving with the signing of Aussie Stephanie Bengson. She was ranked No. 18 in the Australian National 18 and Under Rankings. Head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello figures the new comer will “make an immediate impact on our line-up.” The other two Down Under wonders are Nicole Bouffler and Alanah Carroll.

More ladies news, the word is out that another tall talent is coming to Beach volleyball. 6'4 Middle Blocker Naomi Washington has given a commitment to LBSU. Our v-ball source Randy Loughlin gushes that “Naomi came in at #52 on John Tawa's top 100 recruits for 2005. In fact all five recruit's for 05 made the top 100 according to prep volleyball. Naomi enjoyed her visit to the Beach so much, that she cancelled a recruiting visit to Hawaii.”

The last LB team reporting in is the 2005 Edition of Long Beach State Men’s Volleyball which begins a five week practice regimen starting with the Black ‘n Gold Intersquad match on Friday at 5:30 pm in the Gold Mine. The next weekend on Saturday, Oct 9th is the Alumni Game and then the team travels up to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for the Can-Am Tournament on Friday and Saturday October 15 & 16.—DR. DAN


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