Friday, February 25, 2005


He hasn’t swung anything other than a fungo since September 30, 2001 but every where the student baseball group from our sister institution in San Diego goes they are known as Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State Aztecs. And boy do they go places--that is part of their problem--but forgive Long Beach State if they worry about their own issues.

When your coach is a former major league all-star, a home town hero for 20-years with the San Diego Padres and a nice guy you get invites from coast to coast and in between. SDSU (2-8) opened the season getting swept by Texas, got the same broom from NC State in Raleigh last weekend and after a Tuesday with the Titans travel to Mobile for always tough South Alabama next weekend. LBSU meanwhile jetted out to a fancy 5-1 record before the Dirtbags turned into a MASH unit on spikes. Five losses later the coaches are a mix of medics and shrinks trying to give the Beach boys that feel- good-feeling again. The problem is that, as we noted last weekend numbers, lie. Cal came in with ERAs fatter than a Titan ego and went home with a gift sweep scoring 13 times on nine unearned runs. SDSU arrives with a similar chip on their shoulder and that spells danger again. Their pitching is young but talented. On offense the team is hitting .384, Garrick Evans sports a .385 average, Tim O’Brien, .367 and Evans, Clemson transfer, was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week going 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run, double, three RBI and four runs scored. The Propeller Heads on both team’s web boards are all second guessing the coaches but slow starts don’t forbid fast finishes—assuming the injured heal. Out this weekend is the surgically-repaired Tulo, the hobbling-hamstringed Boatright , crash Mocny who hit the wall, literally the outfield wall, in the fall and then re-banged his shoulder last weekend, and maybe Jamison who got a come-backer to his pitching arm. The bright news is that the national spotlight has not totally disappeared, the 49ers are ranked 22nd in this week's Sports Weekly/ESPN poll, is hitting .303 as a team with a still impressive 2.39 earned run average. The defense, well, stay tuned.

NEW STREAK DUST—Last weekend’s rotation of Ramos, Estrada and Hughes will stay the same going against Bruce Billings (RHP, 1-1, 5.87), Alex Hinshaw (LHP, 0-2, 9.28) and Andres Esquibel (RHP, 1-1, 5.27)…The LB vs. SD series began in the Niner’s year one, of baseball in 1956…the Weather-man explained the Boatright at bat with the bases loaded late Sunday as a “Kirk Gibson kind of thing. The trainers said that if we needed an at bat that might win the game we could use him.”…double play and a hobble back to the bench….for the fifth time in the last six years, SDSU has been picked to win the regular-season Mountain West Conference championship, the tough non-conference schedule is designed to help boost the MWC RPI but the Aztec players and their coach get tired of the team being known just for their skipper…

The NCAA will release on Monday the names of schools that have and have not met the new graduation rate targets…from the Miami Herald, “baseball, it seems, is the sport that will become most controversial in this formula, as top teams lose many of their players to the draft after three years, and many others transfer because the sport doesn't require players to sit out a year as with football and basketball”…”And even if a baseball player is in good academic standing, if he leaves early for the draft and has one course left to complete in the summer that he would have had he stayed, the team is penalized... obviously it's a system that still needs to have some things addressed to be a better accurate picture of a student-athlete's academic success. Baseball is one of our main concerns, as are basketball and football. There still needs to be some discussions about the individuals who leave in good academic standing. Our thing is you're penalizing kids for being good athletes when someone is throwing millions of dollars at them. If they leave and they're not in good academic standing, then we should be penalized and you're penalized for kids leaving in good academic standing.''

Speaking of leaving, I already miss seeing Armando Contreras hanging with the Prez…final note, make your Saturday a double dip and help break the women’s basketball crowd record tomorrow night in the ‘Mid…guaranteed good time.—DR. DAN


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