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


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