Monday, April 18, 2005


Long Beach State baseball coach Mike Weathers grew up in his sport hitting and catching and throwing. He was an infielder, first as an All American at Chapman College, then in the Oakland A’s organization as high as triple A, picked off the A’s farm by Toronto then traded back to Oakland in a deal that included Ron Fairly. Been there, done that.

Fast forward to 2005 and perhaps you can understand some of the frustration that Weather’s has about what is, on paper, a pretty good team. “Our pitching has been fine, really excellent, but the other things we don’t do are going to catch up with us.” Oh yes the pitching is fine, statistically the best team in the land, a sub 2.0 team ERA (1.95) over all and 1.09 (just five walks and 83 strikeouts) in conference games. Fine as in fantastic.

Nice mound work but it is running and throwing and executing those little things that despite a 27-12 overall record (#14 or so in the national polls) that clouds the skies for this Weatherman. Errors are up, 48 so far, execution is down, 315 men left on base, many in scoring position. I asked him about all those things and our interview ended with the winning coach, winning all but two series all year, heading back to his office to try and fix his offense. “We just can’t put everything on our pitching.”

This weekend the next LBSU test comes on the road from the Pacific Tigers, 17-21 and 3-6 after being swept by the other Big West bully, Fullerton. Pacific had changes all weekend but didn’t execute. The difference is that the Dirtbags can Weather those rain drops when you have the best pitching staff in the USA.

SPRING DUSTING—Volleyball skipper Brian Gimmillaro was out on the recruiting trail last weekend but his 2005 team won 4 of their 5 scrimmage matches in a practice tourney in the Pyramid, including whipping rival UCSB. The downer was a mild ankle injury to sky-walking middle blocker Alexis Crimes.

Brian Stevens, Houston Bob and their posse put the shiny cars on display outside Blair Field last weekend for the Dirtbag Car Show. The fund raiser included a wining entry from second baseman Chuck Sindlinger whose family brought his classy 1967 Chevy Camaro down from Reno

As to the question of who’s on first, fans were caught off guard on Friday when redshirt freshman Brandon Godfrey was suspended indefinitely for breaking a team rule. One of the best first baseman in the conference, Godfrey was hitting .333 with a .994 fielding percentage. Insiders say the suspension, the first in a number of years, could last two weeks or so. Coaches tried Scott Bradley and Tito Cruz but the dominoes are still being shuffled.

Back to the amazing mound men of the Beach, Friday ace Cesar Ramos, now 8-3 with a 1.53 ERA, thinks that despite the loss of last year’s aces Jered Weaver and Justin Vargas this staff is better because LB pitching Coach Troy Buckley, “just keeps bringing in big arms”. Speaking of the Dream Weaver, insiders say a couple of big league teams will watch him work out soon, including the Dodgers of LA as opposed to you know who of LA. The Arizona Diamondbacks had three key scouts in the house (including a cross checker) head swiveling between Ramos and slick shortstop Troy Tulowitzki now hitting .386.

Wrapping up the rest of the Beach spring flingers, women’s water polo won every match in their tournament and now await the MPSF Championships April 26 in Berkeley, the sprinting women of track, especially Charlene Deardorff who ran a 11.85 100 to be the best in the Big West, set two school records in the sprint relays. In tennis third seeded LB will start the BWC tourney playing Northridge Friday at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens. Finally, softball coach Pete Manarino has his troops hitting on all cylinders, passed the 800 career win mark and gets the weekend off.—DR. DAN


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