Monday, June 18, 2007


Last week was the Diamond Dust Awards Show so this week’s report is on the After Party. The guests of honor were the Vogel girls, Brenda the mom turning 40 and Hailey the kid who hit 13. Husband and dad Ron rented the first floor of the Airport Marriott and the celebrations were on.

Brenda is in real life Dr. Brenda Vogel of the CSULB Criminal Justice department and when not advising umps from her box on the first base line, performs scholarly analysis on topics such as “School violence in Rural Settings” and “Perceptives of Crime.” Hailey in real life is the retired champion of the Blair Field Dizzy Bat Spin contest. (Hailey always cheated, she would spin twice in one direction and then unwind going twice the other way.)

Folks came in from across the basin led by LB prof Mary Eyman who had just come back from the Angels game where she said that the highlight for her wasn’t Jered Weaver’s pitching but it was a late swing blooper he delivered over the Dodger first baseman James Loney for his first Major League hit…”You should have seen the guys in the Angel dugout, they were going nuts…” Inspired of course by the Dream Weaver the Anahiemers swept the Blue.

Also on hand was Sandra Ross Shirley, a crack centerfielder for LB softball way back when and her old coach Pete Manarino. Pete is the AD at J Serra High and just turned down a coaching job with the new pro softball league in the Washington DC area. Sandra, who made the city’s softball Hall of Fame last week, is now an academic counselor in the Bickerstaff Center.

Of course some of Brenda’s ball park favorites were there including Dirtbag skipper Mike Weathers. Off this week with his prized shortstop Danny Espinosa on a world tour with the USA national team, the veteran skipper says he will have his biggest-ever crop of returnees next season. Now the Weather report.
“Vance Worley will just rest this summer and will not play in the Cape Cod league.” Two other Niners will pick up the wood bats, Shane Peterson and Chris Nelson and Bryan Shaw will pitch. Other Niners have scattered about for summer play, Zach Barger, Jason Markovitz and David Roberts to the Northwoods League; Taylor Krick, Kip Masuda, TJ Mittelstaedt and Dustin Rasco in the Texas League; with Steve Tinoco, Daniel Wolford, Trevor Johnson, Brandon M. Godfrey and Adam Wilk in California and Rhode Island.

Two other returnees, Travis Howell and Jason Corder, will re-tool around campus and also be back for the 2008 campaign and Jason Tweedy is also in town this summer and working out every day. He told Weathers, “I want to get 20 pounds heavier and stronger.” Sounds good even for the BWC which many think actually stands for the Bunting West Conference.

Aside from the large or small ball offense, the Beach returns a very experienced starting rotation; we will call them the LBSU Pep Boys, Manny, Moe and Jack. Manny is Manny McElory, Moe is Andrew “mo pitches please” Liebel and Jack is Vance “my back is jacked” Worley. In addition since this is the last summer of free NCAA transfers expect another bounce back D-1 guy appearing in the late summer. Omar Arif from TCU, David Roberts out of Washington State and Dustin Rasco via Kansas State were added last season and insiders suspect there will be more of the same before fall ball.

As to the busy summer for the skipper, Weathers will miss his 40th high school reunion with the USA travels and that disappointed him. “We had a big party going for our 30th and while all the guys were down stairs (can you say oral lubrication) at the hotel getting “prepared” the gals were upstairs crying. When we asked why it turned out that was the night that Princess Diana was killed.” This year the gang had hoped for a happier event but like Mike will be signaling a hit and run instead of a vodka and cranberry. Maybe the 50th?

Back to the good professor Eyman. She teaches a lot of the sports courses in the KPE department and has offered to sort out the complex mental makeup of Jason Corder. “He needs to light that fire…” The other sports psych guy on campus was there too, he is the sometimes yodeling national anthem singer Don Peters, a PH D. candidate in that field and my choice to evict the my pal the traitorous Ken Rivizza who once again was wearing his F hat in the Titan dugout in Omaha.

Finally no party chatter around the LBSU crowd is complete without some reference to former AD Bill Shumard. The item that evening was the upcoming move of Shu and the Special Olympics to space in the junior golf house at Heartwell Park and the lining of its offices with a distinct 49er flavor. So far insiders say that Nancy Becker, other half of LB Chamber boss Randy Gordon, has signed on along with the talented Mindy Boyle, who was last serving in the Pyramid as director of basketball operations. Everybody reads the tea leaves differently.

PICK UP DUST—for the championship of the 82nd Long Beach Match Play Championship freshman sensation Mike Drake defeated his senior teammate Ryan Wood for the hardware at El Dorado. Both sets of parents trailed the two some who raced around the course with the foursomes in front letting the college kids play through…Ryan’s dad Fred is the pro at the Oceanside course and his mom Jeanie is a rated seniors tennis player who used to coach kids baseball…”no the Mom’s never yelled at me” she quipped remembering her days on the diamond…back to that Bunting West Conference crack…Black Hat Pat Murphy of Arizona State cracked up the press briefing with this exchange, “Ask our guys if we execute. You guys, have we executed a bunt all year?” Most of the Sun Devils on the dais shook their heads in the negative. ‘We’ve got six or seven guys who won’t bunt, who don’t know the signs,” Murphy continued. “I’ll give you their names if you want.”…in the locally anticipated UCI-CSUF eleimination date it was a long and grinding road with the Eaters sending the Titans to a two and Q cookout 5-4…at least they serve beer with their beef in Nebraska…the West still is getting some respect and So Cal in particular…in its 61-year history the CWS now only three Counties which have sent two teams to the same tourney, Los Angeles County in 1998 (Long Beach State, USC) and Santa Clara County (San Jose State, Stanford) in 2000…and now the OC in 2007….

Closing quote from me. This is the last of the Gazette columns for a while as I pack to go back to Florida. I’ll be writing on the first Thursday of each month until we hear the ping of aluminum bats next February. If I missed saying good bye this is really just “see you later” unless of course you are from the Airport Marriott. You see, at all those LBSU parties and banquets the person with the next birthday (mine is August 3) takes home the centerpiece. How did I know the Marriott plays by different rules? —DR. DAN

Monday, June 11, 2007


With another LB sporting season in the books, it’s clearly time to have our own Diamond Dust Awards show saluting the men and women who at least once or twice made nice.

We will start with a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dede Smith Rossi the retiring but never shy 49er fundraiser who now shuttles her kids to school and play around East Long Beach. Dede was just another Smith brightening happy hours back in 1970’s when she began her association with Long Beach State. Stolen from the volunteer ranks Dede worked for 19 years putting her DNA on some of the best 49er events around, Jewels of the Night, the Hall of Fame Dinner and Golf Tournament, and garden parties and gabfests that were just plain fun.

In baseball it was close between senior outfielder Robert Perry, second baseman Matt “Showdog” Cline and junior pitcher Andrew Liebel but Perry gets the free Cadillac Escalade for his body of work. He led the Dirtbags in average (.335), runs (50), triples (4) and RBIs (52) and went from not drafted last year to the highest Dirtbag pick this season.

Opponent of the Year goes to the Irvine Anteaters. Next week they play in the College World Series where the nation’s media couldn’t tell Dave Serrano’s cast of characters at UCI from the TV sleuths on CSI. Even when SEC-based Umpire Jack Cox blew a key call late in the game at Wichita State, Serrano’s kids shook it off and made it to Omaha. Oh yes, the Eaters also gobbled up the NCAA men’s volleyball championship beating the Beach twice, 3-2 and 3-0.

In track and field our MVPs are All Americans Kim Heinz, who broke her own school-record in the javelin, tossing 169'4” good for seventh at the NCAA Championships and Brent Gray, 20.96 in the 200-meter dash, and fourth in the land.

For the net set, who will get a $2.5 million dollar face lift to their ancient tennis courts, the victor is sophomore Hannah Grady. I have clothes that weigh more than Hannah but she finished the ‘07 season with back to back Big West Player of the Year awards.

For basketball, how about the glue on that Big West championship team, Aaron Nixon? In the championship game he scored 29 points and became the 16th player in Long Beach State history to pass the 1,000 career points standard.

Our award to the alumnus of the year was a close battle with Paul Goydos (won the Sony) and Jered Weaver (millionaire with a bad back)--but how can you not put Misty May on your mantle (she’s on mine)? The darling of Beach Volleyball at a mere 5-10 has those darting green eyes that scan the sand before she hits it where you ain’t. Misty has more wins than anyone in history, a healthy bank account, and a handsome husband in Marlin’s catcher Matt Treanor.

Next our Most Valuable Family are the Capes where son Kevin was on the Men’s Volleyball roster but injuries plagued him most of his career. So did parents Cary and Joni Cape bail on the Beach? They did not. The Capes ran fund raisers, hosted post-match socials and traveled with the team in the full knowledge that their kid wouldn’t even make it to the scorer’s table. Now those are good sports.

ADDED DUST--What one word has five letters and spells CWS? Omaha or Lucky or Titan? Actually all three since the luckiest team in Omaha has Titan on their jersey…the F troop warmed up for the post season losing its final four conference series…but then their anemic offense got a major assist when pitching rich San Diego stumbled in their first round game and CSUF eased out of SD facing lesser lights Minnesota and Fresno State…then more good news, the team the Titans fear the most, Long Beach State, also fumbles their host duties and even though they sent both Illinois-Chicago and Pepperdine packing UCLA, who like CSUF faltered down the stretch, limped into the Super Regional…need more lucky titan, the Bruins did not bid to host the Supers signing, sealing and delivering the CWS berth to the home loving Nutwood nine…p.s. more luck on the way, they get another weak team, Oregon State, in game 1…the Beavers got all the free stuff from Michigan in their 8-2 clincher but like the CSUFers wobbled down the stretch…meanwhile the guys who legitmately earned their ticket (wins at and over Texas and Wichita State) UC Irvine, is already there…Eaters coach Dave Serrano bused his bunch the 304 miles on Monday where they can do laundry and get that one shaggy guy a haircut…last add baseball at the Beach, the Niner clipboards will be shuffled with the hiring of new assistant Andy Rojo, 33, the former Associate Head Coach from state champion, Riverside Community College…RCC , 37-18, beat Cypress 6-1 for their title last month…he is expected to recruit hitters and two of the last three RCC recruiting classes were ranked No. 1 in the California, with the Class of 2007 receiving a No. 2 national ranking…but there is a bonus--the guy can read and write and hopefully edit…at Cal Poly Pomona he graduated Magna Cum Laude—DR. DAN

Monday, June 04, 2007


They turned out the lights and the party was over but oh my it was a par-tee! The formal title was the NCAA College Baseball Regional at Long Beach, one of those 16 grand balls staged around the nation and streaming across USA media screens all weekend.

In the end the host Dirtbags were disarmed by UCLA because they had to burn pitchers faster than a smuggler torching counterfeit money. Along the way the assembled teams (LB, UCLA, Pepperdine and Illinois-Chicago) entertained 11,695 at stately Blair Field. Outside the lines the leaders of the newly energized Beach athletic program were equally busy at every corner and every aisle making friends, the logical prelude to raising funds.

The 49er season and that of the Big West conference was never expected to be this good. The homeboys won 39 games and might still be playing except for youth and injuries. Their head coach Mike Weathers, who has a week to do his laundry before heading the USA national team on a 57 day world tour, was upbeat. “I know a lot of people remember just the last game, but as I told the guys, this season was incredible with so many new guys, 21 of 35. Everybody learned so much and so many guys played. Even though we came up short this was a great turn around from last year.”

Except for some balky light bulbs on the scoreboard nearly everything went according to plan. The weather was perfect, the Dugout Store sold a ton of $25 tee shirts with the 64 team bracket on the back and every imaginable non-alcoholic form of salt, sugar and cholesterol was consumed. And the four Big West entries all won at least one game and two of them, Irvine and Fullerton went on the road and stole the hardware from top eight national seeds.
As the Weathers report noted above, the nucleus of the 2007 team will return for 2008 and assuming the major leagues don’t draft them too high there will be a nice selection of high school and JUCO newcomers.

SCRAP DUSTING—With new NCAA rules coming in next fall, this summer could be frantic for transfers who now can come right in and play. They call them “bounce-backs” because they usually are kids that left the big city for some place else and change their mind. Next year these players will have to sit out as in basketball and football and will also have to earn at least a one-third scholarship, the latter being a fact that may well bounce athletic budgets from black to red.
As for the rest of the LBSU sports scene, except for track and field, the uniforms are packed away until volleyball and soccer start sweating again in August. For track outstanding regional efforts have earned spots in six events at the NCAA Championships which began Wednesday and go through the weekend in Sacramento. Four of those events send athletes with school-record setting marks; sprinter Brent Gray in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, Kim Heinz and Tyson Gray in the javelin, Jennifer Onyeagbako in the discus and the women's 4x100-meter relay team of Jessica Branker, Magnolia Howell, Patrice White and Jasmine Winfield. Beach towel and sun block please.—DR. DAN

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Who is Steve Crnkovich? They call him “The Kid”. A 6-5 freshman, Horizon League All Newcomer Team, League leader in ERA with a complete game three hitter against Vanderbilt. And this afternoon he’s the starting pitcher for UIC Coach Mike Dee, “We just call him our alphabet man.” So with or without Vanna White to sell him a vowel, Mr. Crnkovich and the now Famous Flames from Chicago are the next road block on the Dirtbags Road to Omaha.

Indeed the visitors have more than pitching but the mound chores turned in thus far by Ryan Zink (a 4-1 winner Friday) and Zach Peterson (a 3-1 loser Saturday) plus the outstanding closing argument by David Cales makes opposing teams shudder. UCI starts today with 35 wins and nicknames for their hitters, “clutch” is Larry Gempp Jr., “steady influence” is Nick Rainwater, “table setter” is Chad Schroeder and “silent assassin” would be Jake Carr. Gee, with names like that these guys could almost be Dirtbags. Fortunately the real Bags finally got on the field Saturday afternoon and hopefully will bring a full picnic basket to the park today for what Weathers and company hope is a double header. That option is alive thanks to a resilient and courageous Andrew Liebel who held Pepperdine down long enough for his mates to rally for three runs in the eighth and a six strikeout complete game 6-3 victory. With the W Liebel improved his record to 9-3 and as important saved every arm in the Niner pen for the must win three in a row assignment today and tomorrow. Frankly while the Beach doesn’t have any shutdown stars that bring out the jugs guns and MLB notebooks, they have seven guys all of whom have been very good at one time or another this season. Liebel said he appreciated the flawless defense by Danny Espinosa and company behind him and they in turn appreciated his fast pace. It was Espinosa's bases-loaded single in the eighth that put LB on top to stay. Earlier LB’s 5-9 Robert Perry came in heavy and dislodged the baseball from Pepperdine’s 6 plus catcher Travis Tartamella and the fun was back in Blair. Denny Duron was a double short of the cycle, going 3-for-4 for the Waves. Part of the Beach plan today is to get to the other guys’ starter early as they did to Pepp starter Robert Dickmann who left after 3 scores and 7 hits in just 1.1 innings of work.

I’VE GOT MY HAND ON YOUR DUST—In the nightcap yesterday Bruin freshman left-hander Gavin Brooks (6-6) threw a two-hitter at the Flames, sort of the same medicine that UIC did to LB 24 hours earlier…now the quotebook first from Pepp ‘s Denny Duron on Liebel—“He pitched a good game. He was coming in there with some solid fastballs and had good command. My hat is off to him. He pitched a complete game and did a great job.”…The Waves meanwhile were puzzled about a season in which they got up to No. 7 in the nation and the bottom fell out…many think during that make up game and Tuesday losses to LB a point at which the Niners began to catch fire…Now the Weather report, “Well, the whole game was Andrew Liebel. I thought that we threw our best guy today. We threw our best guy today as he has the best make-up for what he did today, he came through today with a CG, which really helped us for the rest of the weekend if we were to get through the weekend. Andrew gave us the best scenario he could of. Probably one of the gutsiest performances in my 15 years I’ve been here. We play again, keep playing.”…On pulling Liebel out early “We were going to give him 120 then make a decision, but it was his ball game. There’s 2,100 people that would have hanged me if I didn’t send him out there in the ninth inning.”…and Andrew figures that the coaches owe him another eight pitches… “Coach Buckley said I had 15 pitches and that’s what he told me. I said alright and I think I got out of there with six or seven.”…Long Beach's Sunday punch is pretty good, Shane Peterson and Omar Arif…and we all will worry about Monday if or when it comes…Out of town fans were asking about Vance Worley, the centerpiece of the Niner pitching plans at season’s start…the answer is he will not throw again this year allowing his injury to fully heal…1327 was the crowd count last night at SDSU for the USD regional…other than football and basketball did you know that only baseball, ice hockey and wrestling make money for the NCAA…the guarantees are at least $50,000 per host…you pay that regardless then figure your expenses and then give them 90 cents on the dollar for profit…so only LSU makes money except that LSU ain’t in the party this year… Fullerton beat Fresno State 6-3 about 12:14 a.m. and awaits the winner of the FSU-Minnesota early game…if LB wins out they will host and if they don’t, and say UCLA does, don’t ask the Bruins John Savage if he will host…”our administrators know that I will be in my office Monday morning, but right now there is a lot of baseball left.”… and this Lone Star shocker, a Scott Gorgen five-hiiter last night and UT needs CSI to figure out UCI after yesterdays surprising 3-1 win over Texas…Riverside, like the Beach, is 1-1 after losing 9-2 to Arizona State in Tempe…frankly I would rather be 1-1 playing at Blair than in the 90 degree night time temps in the desert facing the even hotter Sun Devils…for luck the Beach is visitors against UIC and back in their favorite first base dugout-—DR. DAN

Saturday, June 02, 2007


As I pulled out of Blair I pumped up the volume on my XM radio and on Friday night they have this bluegrass show that I hoped would pluck up my spirits. Not. The featured tune was I’m So Blue which has the repeating lyric “I just wanna cry but I don’t know where to start.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The week began well enough; still celebrating those two offensive beat downs of Fullerton, hosting and not traveling, and what appeared on paper to be a very beatable number four seed Illinois-Chicago. The late morning and early afternoon brought intermittent reports of virtual routs by Big West brothers Irvine (13-0 over the ACC’s Wake Forest), Riverside (10-5 over the Big 12’s Nebraska) and Fullerton (7-1 over the Big 10’s Minnesota). For the first of the LB contests the secret dream of many Dirtbag insiders came true as UCLA (said to really be lacking a Saturday starter) won 7-3 and with the expected 49er defeat of UIC that would put tough guy Andrew Liebel up against the young Bruins. Expect the unexpected. Expect Pepperdine. And expect to pack the sun block because the ready and rested Waves roll up on the Beach at 3 p.m. Unlike the Bruins, Pepperdine has a strong Saturday slinger, sophomore left-hander Robert Dickmann. He makes his 17th appearance and start of the season coming in at 6-4 with a 3.70 ERA. Dickmann already has career-highs for innings pitched (82.2) and strikeouts (47) while allowing 44 runs (39 earned) and walking 29. He last pitched at Portland on May 18 and picked up a win after pitching six shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out four. Ouch.

We will get to the reason Long Beach has long faces in a moment but the Waves, who had the support of Bay Watch babe Pamela Anderson (her kid was or is a bat boy), are here because as their coach said, “Big players play well in big games and we did not have that today.”…His team had a two week idle spell but Coach Rodriquez said that “I don’t think the layoff really affected us too much, I really don’t. I could use that as an excuse that we haven’t played for two weeks, but all it is, is an excuse. It really had no bearing on today’s game.” So what about Saturday, “I don’t know how much of a plan we have right now. Obviously, we’re going to go with our best guys, it could be our last game.” Their ace Barry Enright was wrong on one pitch, a first inning three run homer, and all he was left to say was “we have the fire power to come back and get it together and hopefully come back for Monday.” Okay, back to the blues for the black and gold... First the offense (this won’t take long). At 0-0 with one out in the fourth Danny Espinosa got hit by a pitch, Robert Perry singled into right and then the clipboards tried a delayed steal from the corners. It worked—the UIC catcher threw into center when nobody covered 2B. Result, one hit, one run and a LB lead. That’s it. After that nada, nothing almost as if Zink, UIC pitcher Ryan Zink, was the Kryptonite to the Dirtbags late season superman offense. Mixing his pitches and with good movement to the left handed bats, the baby-faced kid was, well let Weathers tell you. “He (Zink) was that good. I don’t think we were that over anxious. He set the tone. We tried some drag bunts, but when you don’t get anybody on (the final 17 Niner batters went down without a fight) you’re not going to do a whole lot. He dominated us.” The Niner hitting star, okay—hit star—Robert Perry. “You’ve got to beat all these teams to make to the next regional even the next game…so we’re just going to have to deal with it and take one game at a time” Ironically losing to a little known team in post-season has precedent, LB fell to Marist in 2001 Stanford Regional.

DUSITNG THE SCRAPS—UIC scored two runs on two chances with two outs with swings by Chad Schroeder in the fifth and Micky Pingree with insurance in the 8th...insiders expect a lot of transfers this summer as guys get their last crack at changing schools without sitting out a year per the upcoming NCAA rule...last of the Flame/Zink stuff, from Coach Mike Dee, “we knew (LBSU) was going to have all the left-handed hitters in the lineup and that his changeup was the pitch he could throw for strikes. He pitched magnificently tonight…he walked the leadoff batter to start the game, but didn’t panic….the Bruins are happy to not see the Beach since they lost 14-1 to Long Beach State earlier in the year...the Waves of course lost twice in one night when to the Beach and some say that started their spiral out of the top ten, the top 25 and the WCC race…but they beat LB in the 2005 regional right here…last weekend the Niners hit .336, averaging eight runs a game but that was then…Andrew Liebel (8-3) enjoyed that support and will need it today…last add misery loves, two other #1 seeds fell Friday, Wichita State and San Diego—DR. DAN

Friday, June 01, 2007


Bad enough that you loyal Long Beach fans have to go dry this weekend but do you also have to go Dust-less? I say no and here are notes on the NCAA napkin. They are all picked from press conferences, press clippings and just wild rumors that you all have emailed in to

We start with some UIC notes- they admonish never all them Chicago-Illinois…how tough is there coach, well Mike Dee suffered major facial injuries when he was struck by walk-on freshman Ty Rubio's bat during a hitting drill….he lot of lost blood, one major surgery and a trying healing process later, Dee led UIC to its sixth straight conference championship…''Outside of me being a little uglier than before, things are all good,'' …UIC has a Shane Peterson slash guy in Sophomore David Cales…he was named MVP of the Horizon League tournament after going 8-for-13 with three home runs, three doubles, five runs scored and seven RBI and getting a save in the Flames' opener. A transfer from Missouri who came back to be near his Bridgeport home and play for a coach who allows him to do more than pitch, Cales plays second base and serves as UIC's closer. He is 3-0 with 12 saves and a 0.84 ERA…the Flames got snuffed here in 2006 but ''We're definitely a better team than we were then,'' Dee said….his team has been in three regionals now but are optimistic since this is the first time they haven’t played a top eight national seed in the first round (Stanford in 2003, Nebraska in 2005)z…they are good late, outscoring opponents 43-10 in the ninth inning…the starter tonight is a Tommy John poster boy Ryan Zink…he will look like our guy Manny McElroy, both 6-5 but this guy features a fast ball and a wicked slider and change…he likes coming out here and says the coach does too…”when Long Beach popped up on our TVs I peeked over at him and he smiled and I did too”…his record is 6-3 (4.79) and his bad games were against Vanderbilt-9 hits, 9 ERs, Butler, 10 hits, 7 ER and Wright State, 7 hits and 6 ER…but the next time he faced Wright he allowed only 5 hits and 0 ER in seven. he may not like the noise tonight…hosting their conference tourney the crowds were 714, 658 and just 543 in the title game…like most of the cold weather teams they played their first 16 on the road but their skipper says his program is well funded and doesn’t mind so much that they travel…the new uniform start date will save him some bucks next year pushing the season back until almost March

On other fronts did you hear that UCI’s AD Bob Chichester, just 49, is quitting…he told the Register that external and internal actions led to his departure, effective in August…he told the paper that he sees as a shift in the current Irvine administration's emphasis away from athletics….”When I came to UCI, I asked why they wanted someone from Colorado, a Big 12 school. I needed assurances from them that they wished to up the profile here," Chichester said. "(Former Chancellor Ralph J.) Cicerone had a vision and goals for athletics that I shared. That focus has changed."…ironically his baseball bunch went out and won one for the Chi man beating ACC entry Wake Forest 13-0 today while ACC’s Miami (sniff sniff) lost to Louisville 13-7…from the web whizs…next season starts Fri, Feb 22. If teams play every weekend, they will be able to play 14 weekend series. If teams play every Tuesday, that's 13 Tuesday games. So, there's only one additional game to play (4 game series instead of 3, Tues-Wed series, Tues DH, etc). That's the way it will work for the Big West and Pac Ten without conf tourneys. For the rest of the country, that's 13 weekends plus 13 Tuesdays with 4 extra games to play… one of my trusty box seat correspondents, Ball Park Frank, car pooled with me to Nutwood and being a former performer with the famed Long Beach Municipal Band Frank is used to grading performances and audiences. He graded the Dirtbag performances as A plus (perhaps a little high in my estimation) and noted that the Titan fans seemed, “Resigned to their fate…” Hindsight is 20/20 even in baseball…now that the fussing over how many Big West teams got NCAA invites this season; in 2008 the crowd at the top gets even bigger. All the current favorites return and you have to add UC Davis to the mix.

The Aggies are eligible for everything next year and closed this season with a series win over an above average Washington State team. The Aggies finished their final season of reclassification to NCAA Division I with a 24-32 record while Washington State ended its season with an overall mark of 28-26….where are they, Bobby Crosby’s brother Blake is suffering in Sacramento? He transferred from BYU but hit only .258 this season while his team went 17-40. Meanwhile his old La Quinta coach and a former 49er great, Dave Demarest, has his current team hot in this post season with a couple of future 49ers in the pipeline…For the hoop-aholics a suggestion to keep Taft High of Woodland Hills on the recruiting radar. They have a couple of talented guys interested in the Beach, sophomores Terran Carter and junior Eugene Phelps…another source, Beach Attack is worried tonight….”I am really concerned about our 1st opponent Illinois-Chicago. They lost on a Friday/Saturday to no. 1 ranked Vandy 2-1 and 1-0….another anonymous source says “I'd have to say Long Beach has to be the favorite to go deep. they're a #1 seed, so they won't have to use their Friday starter on Friday, nor will they see UCLA's or Pepperdine's ace on Saturday. Plus, the home cooking should always be considered an advantage….”…talented Register writer Marcia Smith says the turning point for LB was “in late March when the team bus pulled into the Pyramid parking lot after the quiet ride back from a 9-4 loss to then-No. 24-ranked UC Irvine, the 49ers' fifth defeat in six games….”A bunch of the players decided we couldn't keep going on like this," said senior second baseman Matt Cline (Edison High/Orange Coast College). "We needed a players-only meeting to air out our frustrations."…Without coaches, Cline, Espinosa, junior Brandon Godfrey (Los Alamitos High), senior outfielders Allen Woods (Lakewood High/Golden West) and Robert Perry and senior infielder AJ Pinocchio called the team together for a seat on the lawn, where the players remained late into the night” and the turn around is history…back to tonight UIC’s offense is led by senior outfielder Larry Gempp Jr. who is hitting .397 with seven homers, 10 doubles and 54 RBIs, and that slash guy David Cales… his is 3-0 with 12 saves and a 0.84 ERA with 29 strikeouts and only one walk and one extra-base hit allowed in 32 innings…so with the night air at Blair I see the game coming down to the coaches, do I Bunt or swing away—DR. DAN