Sunday, March 25, 2007


If you are an armchair sports fan life is pretty simple. Watch what is interesting and if a team gets too far ahead or behind change channels. If you have a more personal rooting interest you really can’t call it quits until the final inning, minute, chucker, dart, hole, or whatever. For further evidence please contact Long Beach State baseball.

On a weekend that almost locked up post season for the underdog Dirtbags (picked 4th in the pre-season Big West poll) all the winners came from behind. Out to a nice 3 zip lead Friday LB left as a 7-4 loser. On Saturday Fullerton had the early advantage but 14 innings and 5 hours 43 minutes later the 49ers were 4-3 winners. Sunday the Titans were down to their last out trailing 5-3 and then blew up the Beach bullpen scoring 4 and winning 7-5. Being a Beach backer does indeed build character.

The Saturday contest was the highlight albeit extended. Once a weekend you hear from a baseball buddy something like, “well we have a banquet, wedding, funeral, retirement party, bat mitzvah…but if there is time maybe we will stop by in the late innings.” Well Saturday night and early Sunday morning there enough late innings that you could return the tux, feed the dog and still catch a taut “little-ball” thriller that finally ended with two outs in the bottom of the 14th.
Skippers George Horton and Mike Weathers, veteran coaches who are known to need an afternoon nap now and then, must have gotten carpal tunnel syndrome after penciling in 42 players, including eleven pitchers. And lest we forget the brothers in blue, Umpires Heath Jones, Dan Ignosci and Ron Ridd who also worked the entire 5:43 without a bathroom break.

PARTY DUST—There were only kind words and not too much drama at the men’s basketball banquet Sunday. Exiled coach Larry Reynolds came late, said nice things, and wished the program luck. He gave the nine departees best wishes in the “journey you will be taking and that I am taking” introduced the season highlight video and left before the lights went back on.

Most of the west coast baseball brass do not like the changes in the wind for college baseball. Basically, if passed, the NCAA proposal will mean that JUCO athletes coming in must be eligible in the fall, as opposed to the spring. The result will be a smaller pool of prospects. D-1 transfers who can now just come in and pick up a glove and bat will have to sit a year like football and basketball. Finally the proposal will require any scholarship player to receive at least 33 percent of average athletic aid and will cap the number of scholarship players at 27. with the rosters capped at 35 to “eliminate the over-recruiting and open tryouts in the fall”.

Translated fall certification puts more pressure on players to perform academically in the spring, unless they want to forego summer ball to take summer classes.

After last of the baseball stuff, the Niners open conference Friday through Sunday at UC Irvine where the crowds will certainly be less that the 7387 fans who packed Blair last weekend, that total being the second-largest regular season turnout.
Rounding up the rest, on the smaller diamond Niner softball opens its’ BWC season hosting Cal State Northridge this weekend with a double header Saturday and a single game Sunday. Volleyball is in a must win mode at BYU, they are ninth in the MPSF which only invites their top eight to the post season party April 21-28. Final teams to discuss are women’s water polo (where rumors persist that that the five Big West teams will leave the MPSF next year and form their own league) and women’s tennis (ranked 50th) is on a six match road trip. —DR. DAN


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