Monday, May 29, 2006


Although it was officially the Memorial Day weekend in a dark sort of way Blair Field became a memorable place all by itself last weekend. Fullerton State was there chirping in their orange and needling the home team and their fans. All three of the Dirtbags 2006 marquee players were on display for the major league talent hunters from obscure scouts to icons like Tommy Lasorda.

National TV was turned on Friday, an event that would not have happened on Saturday when the missed flipping of switches caused a transformer to blow. By Sunday the homeboys were being routed and on Monday they would turn in their gear, look forward to the draft, a summer league or the real world. “I thought that we should get in because we finished second in a tough conference and played the kind of schedule the NCAA wants you to do,” a disconsolate Mike Weathers told the media but you could tell his heart wasn’t in this business of spin doctoring a 29-27 season.

Yes there will be more reflected glory to the program when the new stars Evan Longoria, Andrew Carpenter and Jared Hughes join the Bobby Crosby’s, Jered Weaver’s and Jason Giambi’s of the past. Reflected glory and tough scheduling doesn’t get you in the post season and that was the loud and clear and yes, memorable, message from Memorial Day weekend.

END DUST—The crowd count was the only bright spot for the weekend, 6,257 hat and shirt buying, beer drinking, concession stand lining fans. Maybe not enough offense on the field gave the faithful time to eat, drink and shop.
Big West defectors Ritch Price (from Cal Poly to Kansas) and Mike Batesole (from Northridge to Fresno State) left the conference coaching ranks and both won their conference tourneys after rough starts in their new home towns. Kansas beat ranked Nebraska in the Big 12 and Fresno State beat ranked Hawaii in the WAC.
The deep breathing around the Pyramid this weekend comes from the athletic staffers who are awaiting the arrival of their new boss and new Long Beach Athletic Director Vic Cegles. He starts work on Monday. Energetic and a young 57, Cegles has two sons in college, one plays baseball at Rutgers and the other is a redshirt freshman football player at Towson State. His past posts include being the #2 guy at Temple and before that the same slot at Arizona State. His new boss, President King Alexander, has given the new guy the green light to raise both the 49er image and the 49er fundraising.

Not likely to be on hand to greet Cegles will be volleyball’s Ali Daley, the Big West Freshman of the Year who insiders say asked for her release on the eve of the 49ers current summer exhibition tour of Europe. The best of last year’s newcomers, Daley also landed a spot on the BWC first-team and the 6-0 outside hitter registered a career-high 24 kills in Long Beach State’s win over St. Mary’s.
Actually the folding up of the baseball uniforms does not mark the end of the athletic year; 49er track will send a delegation to compete in six events at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento from June 7 to 10. It is expected to be the highest number of LBSU competitors at the national competition since 1998.--DR. DAN


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