Saturday, January 27, 2007


Welcome to the spring training edition of Diamond Dust, starting with one of those wild rides I like to call Notes on My Napkin…cram as much as I can into a page or so, blot the BBQ sauce and let the reader sort out the secret codes and English language. So reader-up and let the games begin.

So you say that the Christmas decorations are finally back in the attic and the Super Bowl isn’t until next week, well we are glad that you stopped by to see some old friends including (we hope) Jared Weaver, Abe Alvarez, Jason Vargas, Mike Gallo, Troy Tulowitzki, Bobby Crosby and Jeremy Reed all of whom have big league on the resume and hot prospects Brett Andrade, Tim Hutting, Edgar Varela, Todd Jennings, Neil Jamison, Brian Anderson, Josh Alliston, Steve Hammond, Marco Estrada, Carlos Muniz, Evan Longoria, Jared Hughes, Kevin Randall, John Bowker, Cody Evans, Chris Demaria and Cesar Ramos…..according to Baseball America the following former Dirtbags are amongst their team's respective top prospects (including rankings): Troy Tulowitzki (No. 1, COL), Evan Longoria (No. 2, TB), Steve Hammond (No. 7, MIL), Cesar Ramos (No. 10, SD), Drew Carpenter (No. 17, PHI), Paul McAnulty (No. 18, SD), Brian Anderson (No. 19, SF), Marco Estrada (No. 22, WSH), Jared Hughes (No. 29, PIT), Josh Alliston (HM, MIL), Abe Alvarez (HM, BOS), Neil Jamison (HM, SD), John Bowker (HM, SF), Brad Davis (HM, FLA), Adam Heether (HM, MIL), Todd Jennings (HM, SF). (List compiled by the Daily Breeze and swiped from somewhere else….)

In the pure and PC world that is the NCAA one has to wonder if there will be a fuss about the just published golf media guide that has a number of players with caps plugging various sponsors. Livingstone’s lads play their first 2007 match at the Arizona Intercollegiate next weekend…staying with the threads, the web board says that LBSU has a new incensing agreement with a firm called LRG in Michigan for selling LBSU gear all over. Same company has deal with USC and Arizona St. It should go into effect in a month. So those of you that can't get to the bookstore or don't see what you want at the Dugout store will soon be able to find gear elsewhere….off topic, I told you this was unedited, in hoops Temple is coming to the Pyramid next season and later this year insiders expect the bracket-buster game will be Hawaii and possibly on TV and you know Aaron Nixon loves TV...more Telly time is next Saturday with a 4:30 tip in the Mid and then the fighting but very young Niner volleymen play UOP after the baskets conclude, about 8 p.m….so the home opener with USC run to the Mid for a double header of hoops and kills followed by a lavish after game pasta social put on by the Sideout club…bring some bucks…back to the bases Jarred Bogany, just released from LSU will bring his pretty tattered GPA to Arizona State although he looked at Long Beach and Sam Houston State…he is a Houston native who started in center field for LSU as a freshman last season and showed flashes of brilliance when not slowed by injuries and those bothersome books…one of the great outfielders of the Dirtbag past, Terrmel Sledge, is the heir apparent in left field for the two-time defending National League West champion Padres… hear Sledge’s teammate Mike Cameron, "I thought our outfield did a great job last year," said Cameron, who claimed his third Rawlings Gold Glove last year …"It's always tough to lose a guy like Doc Roberts but Sledge can play. It's just a matter of staying healthy for Terrmel."

If you haven’t yet made your reservations for the Century Club Sports Night, please do so soon. This evening will be the fifty-first annual SPORTS NIGHT dinner and awards ceremony…but that is also the Friday night opener with Texas...this hall of Fame is Klaus Barth, Jim McCormack, Pete Manarino and Bill Mulligan with tri-Athletes of the Year Misty May-Treanor, Chase Utley and the indomitable Mr. Weaver…bragging right-on…since 1999, the Dirtbags have had the fourth-most first round picks of any Division-I program: Crosby, Weaver, Tulowitzki and Longoria; being outdistanced by just Stanford (6), Rice (5) and USC (5). From 1999 to 2006, Baseball America ranked The Beach as the 15th-best program in the 64-team era…that brings up the Thursday night Leadoff banquet where 300 plus featuring the Dream Weaver on a teary-eyed remembrance of how he got to the dais….”in high school I really loved basketball but after I didn’t grow much after 6-3 I switched to baseball…my brother Jeff said I should be a catcher, that it was the fasted way to the big leagues and besides I loved hitting…I really pounded him when he pitched BP to me”…next was his arrival at the Beach just after Dave Snow hung up his #18 and Weav’s parents Dave and Gail had to be convinced that the new regime would work for son number two…”you know Coach Snow presents a very intimidating image and I remember just sitting there while my mom talked and Snow just sat there for about five minutes.”…fast forward Buckley and Weathers get the kid and by the end of his junior year he had won every player of the year award except the Johnny Bench…While Jered said that Buck “helped me master the mechanics” nothing in the CSULB curriculum prepared the phenom for that almost year long hold out…’after 14 years of playing baseball it was the toughest time of my life…I cried myself to sleep and wondered who do you trust?”…then the story you know, Rancho then the worst ball park he had ever seen at Arkansas (wild cats lived under the stands) and then the much documented tag team with the Angels and big brother Jeff (who got a ring with the Cardinals, his first hug with Jered and now a new contract with Seattle)

Back to the future Weathers the Bag skipper says he genuinely likes this bunch even though the numbers are scary…”21 of our 36 are freshmen or sophomores and we have the toughest schedule in the country”…”I hope that nobody gives up on us in the first six weeks because we know from last year the last six weeks are the most important”…similar patience might be needed for Beach softball who was a pretty nifty 31-22, 13-4 Big West last year will be without 2006 Big West Pitcher of the Year Michelle Turner this season. The 49ers will look to returnees Melissa DeMarco and Lacy Tyler as well as newcomers Kelly Cross and Bridgette Pagano to lead the way in the circle. The 49ers also will also be without infielders Melanie McCauley and Tiffanie Wedell (all-conference selection). Top returnees for LBSU are senior Kourtnee Gervasi, juniors Jessica Beaver, Jonae Perez and Lacy Tyler, as well as sophomore Brianna Goad ...hopefully Turner’s baby sister will book up and come next fall as planned…hoop stuff after that weird loss at Irvine the good news is that the Beach did win road games at UMBC, San Jose State, UC Davis, and LMU but as my guy Dansk says, “the team simply cannot dig itself a 25 point hole on the road (or, at home, for that matter) and expect to recover. Our team showed up to play at 7:30. Unfortunately, Irvine showed up to play at 7:05.”…now some baseball scoreboarding…In Hilo, Hawaii, Mike Stutes, Josh Keller, Mark Grbavac and Jorge Reyes combined for a no-hitter as Oregon State opened defense of its national championship with a 5-0 victory at was the third no-no in Beaver history and the first in 40 years...around the BWC sophomore southpaw Brian Matusz struck out a career-high 13 in six innings and senior catcher Jordan Abruzzo belted a three-run home run to lift No. 46 San Diego to a 9-6 victory over Cal Poly down there and at the plush Matador field the 2007 season kicked off in a forgettable fashion for Northridge losing to UNLV 10-4..getting runners on base was not the problem for the Matadors, who banged out 11 hits. The problem was generating runs out of the baserunners. Northridge hitters tallied just three RBI. Conversely, the Rebels turned 19 hits into ten runs…meanwhile next weekend’s rivals at USC spent the weekend working on the Trojan honor system…how to say in court, “Yes your honor, no your honor, Reggie who?”…if you need a preview peek they boys of troy host Cal Poly Tuesday at 6 in the city…archived on’s all for now—DR. DAN

Monday, January 01, 2007


I trust that we agree that New Year’s predictions are indeed different than New Year’s resolutions but what could be more fun than combining both annual expeditions and guessing where we will be at the same time next year.

I will save the toughest topic, basketball, for later. Instead we begin with baseball where at lot of the heavy lifting already has been done for us by so-called experts.

The 2007 Niner baseball line-up obviously underwent some remodeling with kids leaving early for the pros (like the next major league Dirtbag Evan Longoria), transferring to SDSU (Donnie Hume, Brandon Villalobos and Brandon Decker) and even some graduating.

According to the pre-season prospectus the projected starters include six new guys. The catcher would be Travis Howell, last playing for Cal where he never quite hit to his HS average of .506. His job will be to handle a mostly new pitching staff featuring Manny McElroy, out of Bakersfield where he was a JUCO All-American (10-1 with a 1.97 ERA), Vance Worley (4-7,3.82 ERA but lots of Troy Buckley bull pen time) and a lefty transfer from TCU, Omar Arif, not to be confused with Omar Sharif. The rescue work should come from of two of Buck’s 2006 boys, Bryan Shaw, who had a solid 2.25 ERA and Andrew Liebel (3.00).

Around the horn at Blair Airfield (it is a big yard) will be a couple of new guys and seven familiar faces. At first is Brandon Godfrey, a two-year starter who batted .298 last year and the rest of the double play combo is in place in the form of 2B Matt Cline (.308 with 26 runs) and shortstop Danny Espinosa, Big West Frosh of the Year (.281 with 23 RBIs.) Now third base and right field are where you import some JUCO power such as 3B Jason Tweedy, (.327 with 42 runs in 2006) and RF Kyle Morgan, out of Bakersfield (.363, 10 homers, 43 RBIs).

The rest of the bats will come from speedy Robert Perry in left, Chris Nelson, out of Temecula (.333 with 39 runs and 25 RBIs.) in CF and another Temeculan, versatile Shane Peterson, as the DH. Peterson (honorable mention BWC) hit .328 season as a frosh but can play 11 positions and pitch pretty well too.

So how about that prediction stuff? The experts just aren’t sure. Ranked #30 nationally in the preseason, a wag connected to the Fullerton web site says the Beach should finish 4th in the Big West behind the F word, Irvine and Riverside and just a breath above Cal Poly. Film at 11.

For basketball, the resolving and predicting business is precarious. In the media polls the men received 18 of 20 possible first place votes and the women’s team got three. After leading the nation in scoring last year (83.3) the men’s brain trust resolved to keep up the pace but they check in this week with a 71.4 to 70.2 scoring differential. The ladies resolved to grow on that split BWC title last year but are 3-11, out-scored by 15 a game and averaging 18 turnovers per game.

This week the gents have Thursday and Saturday Pyramid visits from UCSB and SLO while the ladies travel to those same schools. Prediction, Larry Reynolds will win enough to make his new AD worry and Mary Hegarty will lose enough to make her AD worry. Happy New Year.—DR. DAN