Friday, June 03, 2005


Champions. What a nice word, a destination, a destiny, nine letters that can last a lifetime. College baseball and basketball have a pretty uncomplicated system to disperse that honor; in fact every collegiate sport except D-1 football does it the same way.

Pick your best, let them play, and when the games are over the champion is crowned. We’ll get back to football in a minute but after weeks of cyber heat on the various internet web sites college baseball leaves the spin doctors for the scoreboards. Long Beach State as you know by now begins today at 7 p.m. against Atlantic 10 Champion Rhode Island (34-19) following what should be (or has been) a heck of a 3 p.m. game between USC (37-19) and red hot Pepperdine (38-21). The RI Rams, 15-9 on the road and a .318 batting average, barely recovered from the jet lag when they got their first glance at the wide open spaces of Blair. Ram starting pitcher Dan Frederick liked it, Ram hitters, well they didn’t didn’t like it but despite the lovely sun worried when their batting practice bombs never left the yard. Ironically Frederick opened this year playing at #12 Florida and finishes it at #12 Long Beach.

So well treated by the NCAA with a home spot, top seed and a first time in the tourney opponent, what does the Niner skipper Mike Weathers have in mind for the first big step on that rocky road to Omaha? “We want to win the weekend not just the first game,” suggesting that the normal rotation should be shaken and stirred. Translated, Cody Evans gets the nod. “We told him six weeks ago to get ready for this situation. We have rolled the dice before and we are comfortable doing it again.” Other new spots are Jose Hernandez in what has been a troublesome left and suddenly slugging Jordan Struble in right.

More Ram Tough Stuff. URI could have used every means of transportation known the last week or so. They played in Dayton last weekend, took a bus to Cleveland at 4 a.m. Sunday, flew to Providence, bus and car to campus. Back out at 3:30 a.m. from campus to coach travel 90 minutes to Boston, fly to LA and then pub crawl on Wednesday night down Second Street. No word if they hit the AI because Heckie says what happens in the AI stays in the AI. Anyhow the dined, if you do that, at Legends, where the coaches tried to keep the kids awake to 10 p.m. An infielder supposedly fell asleep in his French dip but the time clock is getting adjusted. A team spokesman said that the Rams are all huge Boston Red Sox fans and loved the announcement that there game would be on at “10 Eastern” just like their pro heroes. Ironically Dirtbag AAAer Abe Alvarez is a BoSox farmhand a few freeway exits from campus at Pawtucket. Tonight’s URI hurler is big and strong and a little wild. Three WP’s this year 8 HBP’s and 30 BBs in 75 innings but he does have 3 CGs in his 4.54 ERA and 5-5 record. Their skipper is a scholarly MBA holding Frank Leoni who got the job in 1993 just after graduating but then was told it was time to fold the tent. He and some enlightened Associate Ads at URI kept it alive and hopefully building to the level of say women’s field hockey and gymnastic. Typo, nope baseball gets a mere 2.1 full rides (LBSU has 11.7) and the other two sports get 12 and 13 scholies. Now those are guys who play for the love of the game.

UNSANCTIONED DUST-The shine on the Niner resume came largely through the great pitching, finishing as the best in the USA at 2.44 a notch better than Nebraska (2.51) who has the shortest road to Omaha (just a tornado touchdown away from Lincoln…Looking over the LB regional field the big visiting dog is of course USC who swept the Beach, but those three games were decided by a mere four runs while the Niners traded 4-3 outcomes with Pepperdine...SC also whipped Pepp…Rhode Island (34-19) who earned the Atlantic 10's automatic berth by sweeping through all three games of their conference tournament. The defending A-10 champs defeated Dayton 7-4 in the opener, then took down Richmond 8-3 and held off No. 2 seed George Washington 9-7 in the finals. It is their first NCAA Tournament and they come in ranked 23rd in the nation in team batting average at .318 and 25th in the country in team ERA at 3.69…but now is now…six Dirtbags walked last week in campus graduation ceremonies and now that the NCAA is tracking that stuff degree completion is real important. Not such a nice walk for the underclassmen was out of the dorms to who knows where because housing closed last week and lots of out of town guys were scrambling to find three hots and a cot…joining the Beach as one of the anointed party hosts are (with the exception of newcomer Oregon State) all household-host names, Florida State; Florida; Miami; Georgia Tech; Clemson; Texas; Baylor; Fullerton; LSU; Ole Miss; Nebraska; Tennessee; Tulane; and Arizona State…neat quote is from retiring but not shy President Bob Maxson who was offered a seat next to Mike and Charlotte Weathers at the selection show breakfast party. “I turned Mike down to sit next to Troy Tulowitzki because he’s going to make a lot more money than Mike next year.”…if Tulo and Ramos both go in round one it would be the first time ever...Cal Poly insiders felt snubbed but say that would like to “toughen the schedule, unfortunately they can't do much on Tuesdays, which people traveling can more easily play someone in LA/SF than SLO…at Bakersfield they would like to come into the Big West and with a razor thin margin of 893 yes and 864 no voted in favor of the fee increase from $51 a quarter for student union and student body fees to $168 and capping in 2008-09 at $224…Dream Weaver note, Jered will be here Sat on but is signing his deal today…"When you talk about victories, he took a lot less money to play in his hometown," said agent Scott Boras, who also negotiated Stephen Drew's four-year, $5.5-million deal with Arizona before Monday night's deadline to sign 2004 draft picks. "We could have easily said, 'We want what Stephen Drew got.' You can see the difference between what a hometown situation is and what isn't." Brother Jeff told the press, “Now he's playing for a team in his hometown, and that's what he wanted," Jeff said. "It's a tough process to go through, but he never had an opportunity to sign until recently."…promised football note, Memphis unveiled its campaign for tailback DeAngelo Williams, a NASCAR-themed race-for-the-Heisman pitch built around a 7 1/2-inch model stock car that will be mailed to potential voters this summer…I will wait by my mailbox…"Our main objective is to get something a media person would receive and not throw in the trash," said Memphis sports information director Jennifer Rodrigues, who designed the campaign. "Even if the media person gave it to a son, maybe that kid will walk in the room on Sept. 5, and say, `Hey, dad, this guy is on TV right now.''…this perspective from the Big West boss Dennis Farrell concerning the cyber heat on the proposal to move all conference Saturday basketball games to afternoons when a lot of preps play…the commish says , “as the parent of two high school age boys, I fully understand your concerns , however, if we do go to afternoon games, these start times will be scheduled at a school's discretion between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m….the Pac-10 Conference plays most of its Saturday games in the afternoons for television purposes and …the attendance at those afternoon games were actually up from comparable games.” …missing in that argument is convenience for big buck business boosters who likely want to entertain in the evening hours…if the Beach wins and SC does also will it be Cesar on Saturday…he hasn’t had much luck with the boys of Troy according to the web whizzes, 2005 - Ramos Loss, 5 innings 4 runs SC won 4-3, 2004 - Ramos Loss, 6 innings 4 runs SC won 6-4, 2003 - Ramos Loss, 3.1 innings 4 runs SC won 12-7….one more football note if the BCS uses the Coaches poll instead of the AP…the 10-team Pac-10 will continue to have considerably less voting clout in the coaches' poll than the 12-team leagues -- the SEC, Big 12 and ACC. Each of those conferences can count on having seven voting coaches most seasons (out of 61) while the Pac-10 most years will have only five…"The mathematics don't work for us," sayeth Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen….meanwhile our PAC 10 rep USC will save (11-2) all American Ian Kennedy for a hoped for bout with the Beach Saturday by using Jack Spradlin against Pepperdine who will keep their normal rotation…supposedly Jack has a rubber arm and could throw some again on Monday, if necessary…hard to say what the visiting crowds will be but the beer will flow only from your trunk, per NCAA rules…URI expects about a hundred families and friends…Pepperdine had CSUF down last year but lost two in a row when they ran out of arms…and it is true that Pamela Anderson, who’s young son is a wannabe Wave bat boy, waved the Wave busses good bye Thursday…or did she buss the waves goodbye…I’ll get more info…Weathers said he had good practices last week and told me that the guys were crisp and loose that he could extend the innings for the closing arguments of Anderson and Jamison to three innings or so if necessary…Jamison is a first team Collegiate Baseball choice but Tulo and Cesar fell to third team, go figure…for the Rams Jim Harrick, old coach there and out here is a heck of a fan and suggest coaching moves from the stands…my diamonds in the rough to step up this weekend are catcher Josh Nestor of URI, red hot last weekend; Niner RF Jordan Struble, 4-7 at CSUF, Billy Hart of USC who had 7 rbis at Oregon State and Pepperdine super frosh Barry Enright…as Barbara Walters says, enjoy the view—DR. DAN


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January 17, 2006 at 4:35 PM  

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