Sunday, April 30, 2006


Our word of the week for Diamond Dust is finally…Diamond! Yes indeed the home boys and home girls of LBSU played their way back into post season in baseball and softball with twin sweeps of Pacific last weekend and back inside it is time for the annual Jewels of the Night scholarship fund raiser Saturday eve in the Pyramid.

For the outside report the Dirtbags upped their Big West record to 7-1-1 and are percentage points ahead of that F Troop known as the Fullerton Titans. The keys to victory were something old and something new. The old was another solid offensive effort by All American Evan Longoria who went 5 for 9 with a bunch of walks and a bunch of RBIs plus stout pitching by Jared Hughes and Andrew Carpenter. The new was the work of the energizer bunnies at the top of the order, Robert Perry and AJ Pinocchio, plus three freshmen Shane Peterson, Danny Espinosa and Vance Whorley.

Next up is a road trip to Cal Poly SLO.
The other outdoor entry, softball, is also making noises about post-season play and helped themselves with three Ws over Pacific, including wins number 21 and 22 for junior Michele Turner who is aiming for the school record of 25 set in 1988. The softball 49ers also take to the road this weekend for a three-game series at UC Davis.

Now those inside Diamonds and other precious stones are up for auction at the 12th Annual “Jewels of the Night” event in The Walter Pyramid. The grub comes from more than 50 area eateries and there are hundreds of unique auction items for your health and beauty, international and domestic vacations, entertainment, kid’s stuff, cuisine and sporting life. The night begins with the silent auction from 5pm-7:30pm followed by dinner and live music until you run out of money or energy. Oh yes, special guest, new LBSU AD Vic Cegles who is in town from Philly.

SPRING DUSTING ---While Niner volleyball deserved better the NCAA Final Two plus a pity party for teams from the East and Midwest goes on this weekend at Penn State. UCLA deserved the Bid and maybe UC Irvine if you believe in only a season record but LB should be there too. However, until the sport gets more entries, the current seeding-less system will prevail.

For women’s tennis however the gals are where they should be holding up the hardware for their third consecutive league title after they swept past UC Irvine 4-0 in the championship match at the 2006 BWC Championships at Indian Wells. The 49ers (21-4) have won nine consecutive Big West Tourney matches, own Big West titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005 and get the word on their NCAA regional play this week.
Of course if you like to swing the thing called a golf club yourself the Century Club is holding their annual golf tourney fundraiser on Friday at Big Rec and their food lineup isn’t shabby, Tantalum, McKenna's, Joe Jost's, plus ice cream and hotdogs served by the Wilson Softball Team. The tournament starts at 11:00 a.m.
Our closing notes are about sporting characters, such as spoiled sports like the Sacramento Kings' Ron Artest. As of press time he has now been fined $5,068,421 in two seasons. Heck that’s a house payment for the Reggie or George W. Bush. Last add from Blair Field, comes from super fan Jerry Gaynor, whose dad was a set artist for TV back in the day. Working on “The Little House on the Prairie” series he drew a graveyard for a scene and in honor of star Merlin Olsen inscribed all the tomb stones with the names of Merlin’s NFL rivals, Dan Dierdorff, Conrad Dobbler, et al.—DR. DAN

Saturday, April 29, 2006


When the dust settled yesterday the 49er baseball team had indeed won their sixth straight baseball game (7-5) and stayed percentage points ahead of Fullerton in the Big West conference race. And now, as Paul Harvey would say the rest of the story.

First of all the day started with excellent production from the top of the LB order, a Robert Perry triple, AJ’s sac fly and Evan Longoria who went Long-ballia for a a2-0 start. Then the roller coaster began. In the top of the second, the Tigers got on the board with three consecutive two-out hits but had to settle for a 2-1 deficit.

The Beach then answered with two runs in the bottom of the second thanks to hits by Hernandez, Espinosa and Perry plus some nice sac work by Cruz and Cline. Almost in cruise control the Beach got another run in the fourth with some small ball and wobbles by Pacific’s substitute starter Curtis Pasma who replaced Joey Centanni who was taken out by a BB, that means bad burrito or some sort of food poising. The score remained 5-1 until the top of the sixth, when UOP began to crawl back, two runs on just two hits and now the Tigers came within two at 5-3. Not mindful of how hard it was to get this streak thing going the Bags swung early and often and then gave up their lead in the top of the seventh when back to back singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Strep Throated Troy Buckley then went to the pen for Brett Andrade and then slumping home run specialist greeted Andrade with a sharp single to left field; it was now 5-4 game then Manning tied the game at 5-5 with his second consecutive sacrifice fly. The next roller coaster stop was the top of the eighth inning when with two outs, Ching and Jackson singled, and then Berezay walked. That brought Baum, with 17 dings last year the best in UOP history, back to the plate. He fell behind in the count 0-2, fouled a bunch off, took some close ones, and then Blair Field reared up to hold his deep fly ball to deep left and the faithful exhaled.

The final chapter was written by Perry who drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth and Longoria who suicide squeezed with two outs for the 7-5 final. Oh yes, that would be after Dirtbag reliever Vance Worley (2-6) got three-straight in the ninth to close it out. Usually unflappable Andrew Carpenter went six-plus giving up 5 runs on 8 hits but no decision.

SUNDAY MY DUST---the posturing for regional hosting gets hot and heavy this week and the city of Houston would like two–a bid by the Houston Cougars and one by cross-town rival Rice... UH and Rice share a conference affiliation and are 5 miles apart,…would the NCAA allot two regional sites in the same city? happened here in 2003 and 2005 Long Beach State, Southern Cal and CSUF...pitching ain’t easy---UCI’s Justin Cassel, National POW after he struck out a career-high 15 batters beating UCSB last weekend, fanned but one Friday and needed his team to score three times in the 9th to beat Davis 4-2…and Wes Roemer of the F troop gave up six earned on Friday…you got to love pro sports (okay spoiled sports) when you read that the Kings' Ron Artest has now been fined $5,068,421 in two seasons….heck that’s a house payment for the Bush family…the Dugout store lost a big smile this weekend when Jennifer Hernandez, social work student and marketing worker, pulled her last shift in favor of stuff more related to her major…the Niners hit for the cycle Saturday, singles, doubles, a triple and Evan’s big fly…Scoreboard City-- Santa Barbara 8, Cal State Northridge 4; Irvine 4, UC Davis 2; Fullerton 11, UC Riverside 3; Oregon State 8, Cal Poly 4; Cal Poly 6, New Mexico 4…another v-ball note…it was in April of 1991 when the Beach hooked up with UCLA at Irvine but that time the Bruins won the first two games before a mysterious power failure knocked out the lights…by the time they were back on UCLA was off and lost the next three games 15-111, 15-0 and 15-10 and LB went on to win the NCAA title…I should have gotten a ring for …last add from super box fan Jerry Gaynor who’s dad was a set artist for TV back in the day…working on “Little House” he drew a grave yard for a scene and in honor of star Merlin Olsen inscribed all the tomb stones with the names of his NFL rivals, Dan Dierdorff, Conrad Dobbler, et al.—DR. DAN


You have wait for a week to break the Da Vinci Code but your faithful correspondent had to work overtime to break the Dirtbag Code after last night’s relatively uneventful 5-2 win over Pacific.

One says relatively because the Friday night flinger is the always-exciting Jared Hughes who went eight, fanned five, plunked two, walked two but ended up the evening 7-1 in the Big West. Held to five hits, Hughes turned the Tigers into mild cats, dropped his ERA to 2.83 and introduced me to the expression “lots of levers”. Translated that means when the baseball occasionally goes in a direction other than over home plate it is in Jared’s own words, “a 6-7, 20 year old with lots of levers to control.” Post game his pop Wandering Bill Hughes gave me a short lesson on kinesiology to explain that when you have long arms and long legs not everything is always in perfect harmony. Good enough for Randy Johnson, good enough for me.

The second coded message came from Coach Weathers who complimented his hit-happy team (well they got a dozen last night following on 13 at UCLA, 12, 20, and 5 at Davis, and 15 against SDSU) on “centering the ball early on.” Decoded, for the first half of the game the people with the long metal objects hit the round horsehide thing using the middle of the metal which made it go fast and sometimes far. After that Mike didn’t like the “quality of at bats later on.” The pitching begun by Hughes was finished by Bryan Shaw (3rd save) who nursed a game-ending double play ball from UOP’s best bat Matt Berezay. The Bags improved to 21-18-1, 5-1-1 in the BWC but thanks to Riversides’ extra inning beat on Fullerton took over the statistical first place in the conference .833 to .800. Five Niners had two hits, AJ Pinocchio who upped his average to .425, Shane Peterson (now .329) along with Sean Boatright and Danny Espinosa. Evan Longoria, in front of a couple of Rockies scouts including Dave Snow, doubled and walked three times. Brandon Godfrey drove in two and Pinocchio hit in his eighth-straight. Today the guy some say is Pacific’s best, lefty Joey Centanni (2.40 overall, 1.96 in the BWC), faces Andrew “Complete Game” Carpenter, 6-2 overall, 2.78 ERA and a league best four CGs.

DUST BAGGIN—On a day that began with Kaleidoscope on campus ends tonight at Irvine with LB vs. UCLA for the MPSF title…folks know that the Bruins won the two conference matches this year but forget that the Beach led by Tyler Hildebrand, Robert Tarr and Teddy Liles led the Niners to a 25-30, 36-34, 30-25, 30-22 win over UCLA in the championship match of the season opening Elephant Bar Classic…and I expect them to finish the season in similar fashion…oh yes, with help from a guy who never got off the bench that night (or for the first half of the year) Norm Hutton…new AD Vic Cegles comes to town for a student union reception Thursday at 3 p.m. then goes to Jewels of the Night Saturday with house hunting in between…then Sunday super model and sprinter Charlene Deardorff and the student athlete council has a fund raiser called the St. Jude Miracle Mile Walk-A-Thon…join me and call your pledge to Charlene at 408-891-8250…scoreboard baby-- UCSB 4, CSUN 2; Irvine 4, Davis 2 and, ta –dah, Riverside 9, Fullerton 7 (11)…Niner hoops continues to generate chat, this time the news that one month before finals Shawn Hawkins leaves the U for a minor league basketball job, passing up graduation and lowering the LBSU grad rate that is part of the APR standard that can cost you scholarships…these web gems from the Titans on the Titans, “we have the #1 team in DIV 1 Baseball, the best starting pitching staff in the country, the best bullpen in the country and the biggest clutch hitters in the nation”…okay even more reason to get your season ending series tickets early before they are gone…The F team says they will pack the house because Blair “has beer and Philly Cheese steaks”…no mention of the other team

Press box chatter is that the Rockies line-up in 2008 could be Tulo at Short and Evan at second… …Correction from Westwood, you can not call Al Scates dinosaur as we did Friday, UCLA prefers “the legendary Bruins' coach”—DR. DAN

Friday, April 28, 2006


Contagious. That’s our word of the weekend for Niner baseball. An adjective meaning infectious, catching, communicable and transmittable. Also meaning don’t catch, transmit etc. that strep throat from Coach Troy Buckley and do catch, transmit, and communicate the hitting from suddenly sensational players AJ Pinocchio and Robert Perry. From February flops and March misery, the suddenly tough top-of-the-order guys AJ and leadoff Robert have caught the hitting fever just in time to right the Dirtbag bus on their road to the post season. The next speed bump is or are the puzzling Pacific Tigers (22-16, 3-6 in the Big West) and coached by World Series winner Ed Sprague.

As usual the table setters are the respective aces of the two teams Jared Hughes (6-1, 2.88) and Andrew Carpenter (6-2, 2.78) against Pacific righthander Luke Massetti (5-4, 4.25) tonight and Tiger lefthander Joey Centanni (3-2, 2.40).tomorrow. The Dirtbags enter the weekend two games back of first place CS Fullerton, as the Titans and 49ers each have just one loss on the season in Big West play. That’s important since a so-so overall record sort of demands a top two conference finish for that NCAA invite. Meanwhile with their new field all done the Stockton Record notes that “Pacific's baseball team still harbors dreams of becoming the next Rice University, the private school of 3,600 that shocked the college sports world by winning the 2003 College World Series.” Although the Tigers have 22 wins, those hopes derailed (swept) last weekend by the Caltrans orange suits from Fullerton. Pacific has toughened up its non conference schedule but drew only 765 in the beautiful new Klein Family Field. UOP did get a compliment from CSUF coach George Horton, “They've had some great No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers in the past, but they're deeper in quality (now) and with a good bullpen…and their one through nine now is a tough out. They have better speed, play better defense, all across the board there's improvement."

CATCH UP DUSTING—The LB v-ball elite rocked the Bren last night and the winner of the MPSF gets the NCAA automatic berth...BUT…it is most likely that UCI even with their wipeout to the Beach will go to the Final Four based on the “Scates Rule”, named after UCLA dinosaur coach AL who wrote the invite book and said that the best season record would get the At-Large Bid…come to baseball tomorrow ,then get down behind the Orange Curtain, then tune in Sunday noon for the pairings on ESPN2…and a warm goodnight and Whoa Nellie to Keith Jackson…..WHERE ARE THEYS-former D-Bags Bobby Pearce and Chris Hanson have gone batty lately, well, precisely they have founded a wood bat-making company--maple sticks are $70 and the white ash goes for $50…the lads will customize with handle size, names, and directions (don’t swing at anything in the dirt)…contact them at in the neighborhood is the Century Club Golf tourney beyond the left field fence at Rec Park Friday May 5th…sign ups via Dan Gooch at 562-596-0912…The # 27-ranked LB women’s tennis team opened the 2006 Big West Conference Tennis Championships at Indian Wells Tennis Gardens with a 4-0 win over UC Riverside (5-16)…the 49ers (19-4) have won seven consecutive Big West Tournament matches over the past three years…back to the Tigers, they opened up the BWC schedule by losing two of three at Cal Poly... their hitting is led by outfielder Ramon Glasgow (342) with Matt Berezay providing the power supply (.331 with eight homers and 31 RBIs)....UOP bats .263 as a team and has a .963 fielding percentage…the Beach has been tough on the stripes of late, 17-1 since 2000 and 49-7 since 1989…odd numbers from the LB SID notes…”Boyds, long known for its number crunching and RPI figures, has put together its top-10 lists for the last five years and The Beach are amongst the national five-year leaders in hit by pitches (356-10th), sacrifice bunts (259-3rd) and ERA (3.11-3rd). LBSU led the nation in ERA in 2005 and prior to this year had ranked in the top-15 in each of the last four seasons. The team’s ERA of 3.37 is currently in the top-25.”…last add MASH training room…Buckley is slowly getting better but the truth is that Sean Boatright and Pinocchio are still not fit…Weathers wants to have Sean hold the fort in RF to let AJ DH and save his shoulder.—DR. DAN

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Way back on April 11 when the Beach was just a .500 team and gas was well below three bucks a gallon, the 49ers hooked up with San Diego State and looked pretty fine for 8 of the first 9 innings. Some historians might argue that the come from ahead defeat (LB led 3-1 going into the 9th) was just another of those terrible Tuesdays, losses in similar fashion to Pepperdine, twice to UCLA (now in the polls at #22) and even that nail-biting 9-8 escape from LMU.

Now of course the Beach is a robust and healthy 19-18 and, (to be made up on May 10), 1 and it is the red and black that have to fuel the SUV for their ride to Blair tonight. Last time out a lousy single to center capped a three-run ninth-inning rally as SDSU came from behind to defeat Long Beach and snapped the 49ers' three-game win streak. Tonight the Beach is on another three game win streak but with precious little room to spare if they want to earn an NCAA regional invite. Back then the hit heroes were Jordan Struble and Jose Hernandez. This week the live bats are Robert Perry (.500 last week) and Geppetto’s favorite son, A.J. Pinocchio. Using an aluminum bat and not a wooden nose, in just his seventh start, AJ now leads the team in hitting (.400) and slugging (.600) percentages. The audience this evening will likely be bundled but somewhere in the third base dugout will be Hall of Fame designee Tony Gwynn who will be followed this weekend by World Series winner Ed Sprague and his Pacific Tigers (22-16, 3-6 Big West). Still searching for mid week mound men, the Niners will use the other-than-starters-staff against Aztec righty Will Miller (1-2, 5.62). The Beach with that sweep at UC Davis last weekend is getting better and is now 7-3-1 over its last 11 games. The visitors have been warm themselves, winning five of its last seven to up its record to 15-28, 8-5 in the MWC after series wins over Utah and UNLV.

BACK AT HOME DUST—the Niner SID notes rave that “after producing two of the best prospects in the Cape Cod League in 2005 in pre-season All-Americans Evan Longoria and Jared Hughes, the Dirtbags will double the number of participants for the summer of 2006. Freshman righthander Vance Worley and shortstop Danny Espinosa are slated to play for the Chatham A’s, while sophomore first baseman Brandon Godfrey and lefthander Donnie Hume will play for Yarmount-Dennis.”…also in the notes is a .reminder that a group of old timers is in the process of endowing a scholarship as a tribute to former Head Coach Bob Wuesthoff (1964-69)…open up your check book and look for LBSU’s first coach John McConnell or call (562) 985-4662 for more information….more post-season guessing…this time Baseball America has the Beach headed to Austin in a four-team regional with Texas, Texas Christian and Lamar…nice note from super fan Rhonda on her recent ride to Elsinore…”I couldn't find out who was pitching from the Internet. I knew Cesar Ramos was with the Storm. … It turned out to be a good decision to make the road trip, even though one rear tire kept going flat and I had to stop at several gas stations to add air. As I walked into The Diamond, I was sort of taken aback by the crowd then suddenly I realized what I'd stumbled into as "Welcome to Redneck Night at The Diamond" flashed on the outfield scoreboard. And it was dollar beer night to boot. Good lord, cheap Coronas in Corona had brought enough strange folk out of the woodwork to make for one interesting night of people watching, if nothing else”…later R got to see another D bag at work, to close it out for the Storm, Neil Jamison…this old note from the UT trip, seems Kip Masuda went shopping for an “old-fashioned cowboy hat, dark brown. I was gonna get boots, but they were kind of pricey” ...Masuda wears the hat to games, and despite all the teasing the other guys went line dancing, and they wanted to borrow it…I'm still young, so I still have to listen to the older guys," Masuda said. "I'm learning a lot from the starters and the good hitters."…last add good hitters, credit Pete Manarino’s dad Pete Sr. for developing a couple of fine prospects from Downey…”I remember tossing underhand to a three year old named Evan Longoria and thought he had a pretty nice swing…then I had this ten year old try out for my LL team at short and I asked the other kids who that was and they said Rick Burleson.”…see great names from downtown Downey—DR. DAN

Monday, April 24, 2006


In our never ending efforts to address the great issues of our time, Diamond Dust shares your pain with rising gas prices and the resultant drop in the cost-effective MPG. So today we pledge to increase our own NPN, that is notes per napkin, and fill your sporting tank until it overflows.

The first entry is the Mountain Pacific men’s volleyball championship which begins today (Thursday) behind the Orange curtain in Irvine. With one of the four semi-finalists almost guaranteed to win the NCAA title the following weekend, the MPSF show begins at 5:00 p.m. when Pepperdine faces old rival UCLA and then the Niners to go after top ranked UC Irvine about 7:30. Semi-final winners meet Saturday at 7 with the almost promise that those two teams will get tickets to the Final Four at Penn State.

The inside stuff (and dig and kill), will be balanced by outside fun and games notably the women's tennis team defense of their Big West Tennis Championship at the posh Indian Wells layout. It would be their third consecutive Big West title and its fourth in the past five years.

Meanwhile both of the diamond folks will be at work trying to tame the Tigers of Pacific in baseball at Blair Field (Friday night Saturday and Sunday afternoons) and in softball Saturday and Sunday at the Niner Softball Complex.

The baseball Tigers dropped all three their of their games to top ranked Fullerton last weekend while the Dirtbags used the previously undiscovered talents of Geppetto’s favorite son, A.J. Pinocchio. Using an aluminum bat and not a wooden nose, in just his seventh start, AJ leads the team in hitting (.400) and slugging (.600) percentages. Big West watchers are glad to see the Beach back at work if for no other reason to clear up the long and winding road to Memorial Day weekend. The overall record is so-so but the RPI is awesome which invites insiders to predict that even a second or third place BWC finish could still earn the team a post-season invite.

Ironically Pinocchio’s arrival almost overshadows the sub. 3.0 ERAs and combined 12-3 record of starting pitchers Jared Hughes and Andrew Carpenter and the field and plate play of Evan Longoria (.333 average and a team best 29 RBIs).

Of course those guys are all dreaming of a pro payday but they could consult LBSU alum Paul Goydos about life on the pay for pay circuit and he’d tell them it isn’t easy. Paired with long driving golfers Vijay Singh and Scott McCarron, Goydos was striving to get back to his 1996 game when he won at Bay Hill. A fast start but by 2002 it was back to Q-school and some nasty hip and sinus problems. Hopefully that’s in the past and the $116,600 check is one of many more in his future.

Last add Goydos’ slump busting secret, he told the PGA writers, after playing in the pro-am Wednesday and hitting it poorly, he went to the range where he hit 50 straight bad shots. "I got ice cream – chocolate Haagen Daz – and went to my room," he said. "I came out Thursday morning feeling better."

Also enjoying their Sunday were about 600 kid softball gals who rattled the softball stands and created such a crush at the snack bar that Interim AD Cindy Masner, a former catcher years ago, assigned her self those duties TBA and helped sort out the line at the concession stand. Everybody left happy when Michelle Turner got her 20 win of the year and might mite Breezy Goad RBI singled in the bottom of the seventh inning for the win over UC Riverside. OK, I require rest, there is still a pot of chili on the stove, help yourself and hit the light on your way out.—DR. DAN

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Mid major is the disgination for Long Beach State athletics but youhave to give the Forty Niners credit for having a place in NCAA lore, at least in some fields of play.
Baseball for example is not having it’s most shining hour this season but they are in the hunt and for many are a barometer of what it means to be good. Two cases in point.

From down south Memphis ( the school with the other Pyramid) put on a clinic against Murray State (where the new Prez was from) on how to turn double plays. Their notes bragged that the Tigers tied an NCAA mark with a team-record seven double plays, including one in each of the first six innings, in a 12-1 victory last week, That made them them the mst recent team to tie a feat last done by Long Beach State (2003), Old Dominion (1985) and Miami (1976 and '71).

Meanwhile in the great Midwest, after the Whichita State Shockers swept a series from the LB they tanked. Calling the Niners a “ perennial power” they went on to say “,since then, the offense has inexplicably disappeared. In 14 games since that series, the Shockers are batting .199. They've failed to score more than five runs and collect more than nine hits in any game during that stretch.” Which reminds me a bit of the Dirtbag offense these days so why not ask Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson what to do.. "At this point and time, I'm ready to send them to putt-putt golf or ride a go-cart. They need to do something to clear their mind and get refreshed and at least be happy to come to the ballpark." Works for me.

On to brighter news, the number of entries in men’s volleyballs championship chase is small but the game is exciting and that mean’s Saturdays rematch at the Mid with BYU is a must ticket. One of the web board wise guys, complaining about the older foreign flavor of the Cougars wrote, “It will be a very good match as our amateurs try to beat their professionals. The old Brigham Youngs should be gunning to beat our youngsters this time. The good part is they bring a crowd, so we need to have some students there to support our team.”
It is a home game thanks to a strong finish by the 49er men's volleyball team and two losses by BYU at Hawaii. Game time is Saturday at 7 p,m,. in the first round of the MPSF

Back outside, Beach Tennis concluded played two matches in 26 hours and with two wins the defended their Big West title and earned the # 1 seed earned in the Big West Tournament April 28-30th. They did the hard way finishing a suspended match at SLO then immediately headed two hours south to # 60 UC Santa Barbara. It was the Gauchos senior day but a sad day for UCSB when the net queens came on strong for a nice 6-1 road win. With the wins, Beach Tennis (17-4, 6-0) locks in the # 1 seed at the Big West Tournament in Indian Wells, CA in two weekends. That also means a nice 9am first match before it is too hot.

Last add for the Niners new AD Vic Cengles packing boxes back in Philly.
The Long Beach State men's golf team finished in 16th place at the U.S. Intercollegiate at the Stanford University Golf Course. Sunday's final round was cancelled due to severe weather. Individually, Ryan Wood tied for 18th place overall with a seven-over 147 (73-74). Ryan Panichpakdee tied for 46th with a 152 (72-80) and Brett Lederer tied for 63rd with a 155 (78-77). The 49ers will next be in action on April 24-25 at the Big West Conference Championships at the Tijeras Creek Golf Course in Mission Viejo. A win there and more post season for another Beach bunch-DR> DAN

Sunday, April 09, 2006


The kids at the U are on spring break, chanting ‘no more lessons no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks’ so we figure it’s time to give out Mid Term grades for our sporting friends at the Beach. Might even help the new AD get a fix on the 49ers.

Last weekend’s last bouncing ball was a actually a laser to Melanie McCauley at third that ended a Cal Poly rally and kept LB’s sweethearts of swat in first place. We grilled their GQ skipper Pete Manarino about what kind of grade he would give his team, “right now we earn a B. Our hitters have to be more challenging.”

Next up is Dirtbag Baseball who goes into the grade book with an ”I” as in incomplete. After an 11 day hiatus their body of work, perfect in conference but break even overall, shows promise but isn’t really enough to earn a letter grade. This weekend on the road at CSUN should reveal more.

The other “I as in ice” grade goes to one of our home town heroes, Travis Ramsey, grandson of 49er anchor woman Pat West and a member of the Maine Black Bear hockey team. Over the weekend his side was at a slight road disadvantage, they lost to Wisconsin 5-2 in the Frozen Four conveniently held in Milwaukee. A sellout, yep, 17,814 screaming red sweaters. A Poly grad, Trav imagines himself as a sports lawyer and goodness knows you can’t get enough lawyers.

Our “A” grade goes to Dr. Doug Robinson and the Athletic Director Search committee, an A for effort after a messy first round of searching caused in large part by a set of ravenous boosters hungry to fill the leadership vacuum in their alma mater’s beloved and sometimes broke toy department. Another A for effort is for ladies tennis who lost their number one player for a couple of matches but got gritty efforts from the bottom of the ladder, Rachael Porsz and Emmanuelle Tabatruong. For Porsz her work was in front of her folks in town sun burning from the England.

The next ranking is #3 with a bullet for Alan Knipe and suddenly hot men’s volleyball after sweeping BYU before great crowds last weekend. Knipe has been shuffling his deck more than the dealers at the World Series of Poker but on a given night, well you know the rest.

Back to letter grades, we have to give the “S” mark to women’s volleyball, that S being for both spring practice, now under way, and setter, as in setter controversy also now under way. So far a pretty even contest between the taller and more experienced Dyanne Lawlor and the smaller, quick and with great blood lines, Nicole Vargas, daughter of the legendary Debbie Green Vargas.

The basketballers get mixed marks. The ladies get a “B” as in Medicare Part B since about half the old team and half the newcomers are spending more time with medics and trainers than shooting threes and frees. The men’s mark is a bit more complicated, let’s call it “MIA”, as in the surprise resignation of JUCO gold miner Anthony Stewart who brought in last year’s star Shawn Hawkins and next year’s star Aaron Nixon. Shawn used up his eligibility but let’s hope Nixon, he of that buzzer-beater to nail Irvine, remains happy and in town.

Finally our “C” grade goes predictably, or alphabetically, to the Long Beach Century Club who has quit running their Easter Egg hunt since the old geezers couldn’t remember where they hid them last year. This year the fund raiser is a golf tournament on Cinco de Mayo (that would be the fifth of May) and if you stop by their Tuesday evening meet at the Grande you can sign up your foursome.—DR. DAN

Sunday, April 02, 2006


If you are still searching for the words to describe the past weekend for Long Beach State you might try, efficient, effective and opportunistic. Building on Friday’s “112 really hard pitches," by Jared Hughes, Mr. Weathers said that Saturday’s 126 throws by Andrew Carpenter were, “what we have got to have from those guys.” On Sunday the Niners were out hit by UC Irvine but stranded only three and held off the Anteaters 3-1 with four kids from the bull pen.

Slump busted and series in hand, the Beach boys take a long break with no mid week or weekend games until a San Diego trip on April 11. “We need the rest, our pitchers are getting tired” the head coach said after the Sunday afternoon affair at Blair. For a second opinion we asked first baseman Scooter Bradley who had just knocked in the two game winning RBIs and brought his average up to .340. “I would like them to turn the lights on and we play another one tonight” Bradley offered.
Back to the adjectives above, the three games were equal parts of solid pitching by Hughes, Carpenter and the Committee and a lot of Evan Longoria. On Friday, five days after getting beaned at Fullerton, the All American faced live pitching for the first time since the incident and hit a home run. On Saturday he went 3 for 5, including a two-run home run and on Sunday another hit, another RBI and more great defense. Not too many pitchers, not too many men left on base, and after a miserable month of March tied for first in the Big West conference standings.

MIXED DUST—More on the saga of Jared Hughes. Rumored to have a propensity to hit batters, after last weekend (nine games each) our guy had hit ten and CSUF’s highly touted Wes Roemer had plunked 15.

Odd Irony Dept. It looks like the Bags may be asked for sympathy from of all people the chippy WSU Shockers who lost six of seven after sweeping LBSU. “It's like everything in the world that can go wrong, goes wrong," Clean Gene Stephenson said
Where are they— In the Big Leagues, that season opening series at Houston between the Astros and the Florida Marlins featured two LB left-handed pitchers, Jason Vargas of Florida and Mike Gallo of the Astros.

Down on the farm the Tulsa Drillers opening day shortstop is ex-DirtbagTroy Tulowitski, Colorado's first pick in the June draft last year. Out with injuries he hit .only 266 with 4 homers for Class A Modesto last summer but that was in a mere 22 games. Tulo may have a friend coming his way this summer since former LB Coach Dave Snow, whose employer is the Colorado Rockies, have the second overall pick, and are paying a lot of attention to Mr. Longoria.

Last of the baseball talk which seems to center on supplements--players talking about whether to "bean up" or "play naked" -- go without greenies, or other pills, such as "black beauties." So what sayeth Niner golden child Bobby Crosby, the Oakland shortstop and former AL Rookie of the Year? "I haven't seen much," said Crosby, "If they want to rid the game and make it completely on an even playing field, that's fine."

Back on campus, Erik Burkhardt has returned from stints at UCI and UCSB to run the new LBSU Strength and Conditioning Center!992 Dirtbag Todd Pridy is now the Napa High coach and glad to get his kids outside. “There’s only so much stuff you can do in the gym. Eventually, it is going to be sunny and everything’s going to be dry.”

And our closing quote this week came from a recent Century Club rap with Forty Niner men’s basketball coach Larry Reynolds who, pleased with the improvement from previous seasons said, “We are not only on the map we are making roads!”—DR. DAN


If you are still searching for the words to describe the past two baseball games for Long Beach State you might try, efficient, effective and opportunistic. Building on Friday’s “112 really hard pitches," by Jared Hughes, Mr. Weathers said that Saturday’s 126 throws by Andrew Carpenter were, “what we have got to have from those guys.”

Slump busted and series in hand, today will like be a committee of mostly freshmen and sophomores but Weathers said he wanted to sleep on it and told his team as they left the yard he would let them know the plan Sunday when the come to work.
Back to the adjectives above, the 6-2 win was equal parts of Carpenter, Evan Longoria’s 3 for 5, including a two-run home run and production from designated hitter Sean Boatright and shortstop Danny Espinosa (each went 2 for 5 with an RBI.) Other than a mistake pitch that UCI designated hitter Jaime Martinez hit almost to the flag on #14 at Rec Park, Carpenter stifled the Anteaters on four hits in a another complete-game gem, his third of the year. The result upped the LB record to almost even at 14-15 overall (2-0 Big West) while dropping UCI to 18-12 overall and 0-2. As for as the opportunistic stuff, the D Bags scored one in the first, thanks to an error on a pickoff attempt and Boat’s hustle infield single. The Niners scored twice more seizing another opportunity in the second using another UCI boot and a Robert Perry RBI. Carpenter earned at least cautious praise from Weathers. “Andrew was good, but I don't think he was as good early as he has been. He gained some momentum in the fifth and sixth and I thought he really ended up well. Irvine is a pesky team that really takes good at-bats. They are tough outs and he was good." If AC was just “good” maybe we will let you fill in the blanks on the work of Longoria who continued solid defense, has now homered in three straight games and is 4 for 8 in the series, four RBI and four runs. That’s a line that will make any opponent black and blue even without the promotion.

SPRING FORWARD DUST-- Some folks are still calling the BWC race a “24 game sprint” but since Davis doesn’t count for two more years isn’t it really a 21 game sprint…Bonus Hughes-ing…much has been made of Jared’s plunking of opponents but through Friday (nine games each) our guy had hit ten and CSUF’s Wes Roemer had plunked 15…last JH bit, perhaps his best game was the 2-1 loss at Nutwood Tech, scouts said he good enough stuff to get through the bottom third of many major league teams…and while we are counting stuff CSUF and LB are tied at the top of the BWC table after Saturday’s play…UC Davis 7, Riverside 5 (10) ; Fullerton 6, Northridge 1; and UOP and SLO split a DH, UOP 11 and 3, SLO 9 and 6…another scoring note, it looks like the Bags may be asked for sympathy from of all people the chippy WSU Shockers who lost their sixth game in seven outings yesterday to Creighton…."It's like everything in the world that can go wrong, goes wrong," Clean Gene Stephenson said…been there done that…Pacific opens the league’s newest park later this month but UCI will break ground for a two story baseball clubhouse on April 18 at 5:00 p.m. prior to the UCI-USC game…the facility, which will be built behind and over the third-base dugout, is designed to cover 6,500 square feet and will include coaches' offices, a team meeting room, team and coaches' locker rooms, an equipment room, training room and an umpires' room….no word yet if this umpiring crew will be invited in…where are they--the Tulsa Drillers opening day shortstop is Troy Tulowitski, Colorado's first pick in the June draft last year…out with injuries he hit .only 266 with 4 homers for Class A Modesto but that was in a mere 22 games…UC Davis has a ways to go in baseball so they drafted UCD men’s basketball forward Phil Rasmussen as a relief pitcher and he’s pretty tall (6-7) and pretty good

Name dropping to fill…those four LB players who nest behind home plate with camera, clipboard and radar guns are 49er pitchers of the future, lefties Hunter Hewitt and Russ Lowell and their personal protectors Bobby McMurray and Chris Haendel…they never break a sweat but have broken a couple of pencils…catching up on shout outs…to Hayley’s friend Rio and to the Struble family section…that should be good for some Easter treats or at least a bag of seeds—DR. DAN

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is. Forget your Alka-Seltzer (unless you are Anteater Coach Dave Serrano) the Dirtbag baseball team used a double dose of All American Evan Longoria, a game winning two run homer in his first at bat and ESPN quality defense at third, and mixed it with a gritty tightrope pitching effort by Jared Hughes to open Big West play with a 7-1 win over #36 UC Irvine. Oh yes, the W was the first for LB in a real long time and the frowns of March turned into the smiles of April.

When one of the media throng quizzed Niner skipper Mike Weathers about how much he enjoyed seeing the losing steak end he quipped “I’m just glad to be on the field at the end” referring to his ejection last weekend at CSUF. “I think the problems we had in the first three innings (when Hughes tight-roped his way around bases full of Eaters) actually helped us. We needed to be patient and not keep pressing.” That happened and then Longoria said that his teammates “began to find their tempo. I know that I was nervous going up there for that first at bat (remembering his beaning last Sunday).” If facing live pitching from strangers for the first time since Sunday made Evan anxious it certainly didn’t spill over to his defense where he and Danny Espinosa smothered the left-side ground balls that Serrano had ordered. “They were “cheating up” in the box to get a better look at my two seamer” Hughes noted and until the UCI four-run meltdown in the eighth, the ex-Titan aide guys were ready. The UCI coach was dispatched to the tunnel after a hustle play by Cline turned an ordinary flare into the outfield into an extra base. Umpire Dennis Smythe said he beat the tag at second. Serrano disagreed, discussed the call for a time, then time was up or magic words were said and the banishment. Cline eventually scored on an overdue double by Danny Espinosa which was followed by free passes to Longoria and Sean Boatwright, Tom Wolf’s infield RBI single and a sac fly by Jose Hernandez.

For the night Hughes held the Anteaters to a run on four hits, struck out five and upped his record to 5-1. Andrew Liebel had a shutout ninth.

MORE HAPPY DUST—it was Longoria's sixth homer of the year, more than all of last season, and his third in four and a half games…and if the MLBs on hand didn’t already have enough notes he dove and caught a line drive and doubled off Aaron Lowenstein at third…Espinosa also made “two really tough outs” Weathers said “then booted the easy one. But I love the guy, he’s already really good.”…another coach of note on hand was St. John Bosco’s renowned Moon Cordero who brought his players to see their alum Longoria who reminded some of the Braves of another SJ guy named Anthony Nomar Garciaparra…oh JC is also was the HS of former Niner T. J. Bruce…Carole my personal trainer, who was an all American level college volleyballer who might have had Olympic time if it weren’t for the boycott, told me that the Dirtbag key was to “get back in the ring and take another swing”

Scoreboard stuff—Hawaii Hilo 5, UCSB 4 (10 Innings); Pacific at Cal Poly Postponed; UC Riverside 3, UC Davis 2; Fullerton 2, Cal State Northridge 1… Also on the diamond today is Long Beach State softball, 15-14 after 29 non-conference games, but at Northridge ready to attempt to win their third straight Big West Title…where are theys… Erik Burkhardt back at the Beach to run the new Strength and Conditioning Center after stints at UCI and UCSB... Jason Vargas has earned that spot in the Marlins rotation…his last spring training start, five innings, two runs and six hits…he also showed his hitting skills by ripping an RBI double…’92 Dirtbag Todd Pridy is now the Napa High coach and glad to get his kids outside. “There’s only so much stuff you can do in the gym. Eventually, it is going to be sunny and everything’s going to be dry.”…Century Club had a recent rap with hoop coach Larry Reynolds who said, “We are not only on the map we are making roads!”…next year Dirtbag travel is to another set of tough towns, Wichita State, Arizona State and Rice State (a.k.a. downtown Houston)…today’s starters are Andrew Carpenter (3-2, 3.44) but a mortal 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA over his last four starts against UCI lefty Glenn Swanson (3-2, 3.38)

Closing quote from my big boss, President Alexander, “I am pleased to announce that the Princeton Review has just officially released their publication, “America’s Best Value Colleges: 2007 and CSULB ranked third in the nation when compared with the 103 top public universities”—See, happy talk rocks—DR. DAN