Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Just like the other spring sports, Diamond Dust uses the fall for individual workouts, just keeping the fingers as loose as the rumors we report on. We will start with until now an unreported change in college baseball, Long Beach State and USD will play a three game series next month, yes indeed, October 26 and 27 at Blair and October 28 at USD. The Blair games will be Friday at 6:30, and Saturday at 2:00 then down south for a 1:00 first pitch with the red hot in the regular season USD. The fall games are in response to the contraction of the spring season by the NCAA, a move to level the fields for those wimpy Northern Schools, or at least let the snow blowers rest.

“This past season, Rich Hill directed USD to its best Division I season in program history with a 43-18 overall record, as well as guiding the Toreros to a program-best No. 4 national ranking. USD also received its first national seed in the NCAA post season, No.8, the first-ever WCC team to receive a national seed heading into the NCAA Regionals this past season.” That from the media folks down south, however, as you will recall all those good vibrations disappeared when the team went 2 and BBQ with losses to Minnesota and Fresno State.

The Beach lineup isn’t listed but the feature guys will likely be Shane Peterson, 1b/of, who last starred over the summer for Hyannis in the wood bat Cape Cod League and Danny Espinosa, ss, who globe trotted with Team USA .Peterson ranked fourth in Cape batting (.338) and walking (25) nearly as often as he struck out (27). Scouts said that Peterson has more than enough speed and arm strength to be a full-time right fielder in pro ball.

Speaking of pros injured Oaklander Bobby Crosby was the lone baseball player inducted into the LBSU Hall of Fame last October but he and the 186 other inductees will not have any company coming soon. The annual banquet has been cancelled for this fall to resume, we hear, next year with a more “on-campus” flavor. The fund raising golf tourney however will go on at Old Ranch on November 12..

One that got away—well we don’t play contact sports anymore—is Pat West’s grandson Travis Ramsey. He will be Maine hockey’s leader on the blue line this year. The team site says, “The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder is a scary physical presence who plays in all of Maine’s key situations — power play, penalty kill and the first and last minute of each period. Ramsey is everything you would think of someone in a Black Bear uniform. A smart defenseman, he plays within himself and doesn’t try to do too much. Ramsey understands his role as a defensive defenseman and leaves it at that, even though he has an offensive skill set better than most might think.” Gee if we still had football, but that ain’t gonna happen despite an AD and staff with big time Arizona State connections (both Vic Cegles and David Benedict) and Cegles even has a kid, Casey Cegles, who is averaging 12.8 yards per catch. And they draw nice crowds too. After opening the season with the fifth best game attendance in history, the second home game of the season saw the single game attendance record fall when 10, 856 fans showed up for Delaware last weekend.

Last add gridiron dreaming. Remember the naysayers who said the San Diego State would go broke keeping football? The Aztecs drew 53,110 in a 52-17 win over Portland State last weekend.

If you still have gas the rock star like tour known as Monson’s “Weekly Wednesday’s” moves to Cirivello’s this week after stops at Joe Josts, Smooth’s, Dukes and another place I can’t tell you about.

Left over Long Beach Armada note. The road is tough, a couple baseball players apparently lost more than a ballgame earlier this summer at Nettleton Stadium in Chico. Chico State University Police Lt. Robyn Hearne said two 9-1-1 calls from members of the Armada team, one at 7:57 p.m. and another at 11:41 p.m., claimed cash — "probably less than $100" — and an iPod music player (with shuffle) were stolen from the visiting team's locker room.

The local diamond drama is all about the coach shuffle. George Horton is still honeymooning in Oregon but hasn’t seen the final plans for the promised diamond he will get. His replacement at the F word, the wandering Dave Serrano liked the OU post saying, "With the energy and resources that they have and the facilities that they are going to have, it was too hard for him to pass up," Serrano said. "They are serious about building a program and I have no doubt that they got the right man for the job." And he has his degrees in order too.

Where are theys, former 49er football assistant Mike Sanford almost had his UNLV Running Rebels squad pull of a big upset over #5 Wisconsin, then shutout Utah last weekend, the same Ute team that smacked UCLA. Go figure. More where’s—Bob Cramer who basically quit organized ball in favor of the beer league got back to work and was promoted to the Triple-A River Cats, and worked in the Pacific Coast League playoffs when his club got a series-deciding Game 5 victory over Angels' affiliate Salt Lake Bees. Last of the moving stories, golf alum John Mallinger made 15 cuts in 25 events, and 4 top 10 finishes including 3 3rd place finishes…oh yes, banked about $1.6 million this year.

Okay, I need rest and refreshment and I don’t want to exceed the NCAA fall writing word count.—DR. DAN

Monday, September 03, 2007


Thanks for stopping by, I just cooked up this back to school edition of Notes on My Napkin.

We start with what now looms as the most important women’s volleyball match since that awful December 2001 afternoon in San Diego when the 49ers, their feelings hurt over the snub of Cheryl Weaver and Brian Gimmillaro for player and coach of the year, lost the NCAA title to Stanford.

Since then the program has been in a funk, recruiting has been a struggle, and talent like Ali Daley, a Big West Freshmen of the Year, bolted for UCLA where she leads the Bruins in kills, hitting percentage, you name it. Despite returning eight seniors, the 2007 Beach bunch has wobbled out of the gate and comes into the Pyramid Thursday to face No. 8 Washington at 2-3 on the season. UW (6-0) has not lost a game this season but if LB wins that match the ship is righted and the team should tomahawk chop Florida State on Saturday night. Lose and well, you finish that sentence.

Next item has to do with the comings and goings of student athletes. In baseball three Niners from last season will transfer, pitchers Andre Lamontagne (to Oral Roberts) and Russ Lowell (to LMU) and outfielder Kyle Morgan to San Francisco. Meanwhile Arizona hurler Brett Lorin will join the Dirtbags.
In basketball three new guys should at least let coach Dan Monson exhale, Greg Plater, Brian Freeman and Brandon Johnson are coming south from Monson’s Washington and Oregon roots to join the handful of Niner returnees. The kids are in open gym now and start organized practice in mid October,

As engaging as Monson is, and he will have a dozen or so “chats” around town this fall, the hottest coach on campus is clearly Mauricio Ingrassia of women’s soccer. He won the conference regular season last year and said that would help recruiting. It did. Freshman Lindsay Bullock got the lone goal as the Beach whipped talented Utah 1-0 Sunday morning. Friday afternoon two more rookies sparkled. Kristen Kiefer scored a goal and an assist, while Mariko Strickland had two assists in a 5-0 win over CS Bakersfield.

Unbeaten and un-scored upon, the team went on the road this week for contests at ACC powers Clemson and Wake Forest. Big timers Oklahoma and Baylor come to campus in mid September. Mauricio won’t complain but he would prefer to have some semblance of a real stadium and not have to play “the best team we ever have had on campus” at 9 a.m. with a Blues Festival cranking up right behind the field.

Maybe Mauricio should ask just departed Fullerton baseball boss George Horton to have him up for lunch. George, or George of the Jungle as we used to tease him during pitching changes, is a1978 graduate of CSUF, with a master's degree from Cal Lutheran. A real degree or two (plus those CWS titles) got him the Oregon job last week. Our coach, Mike Weathers, a close pal of Horton', told the media "To give up what he had at Fullerton, there had to be a lot of financial gain." Gain, I’d say so, Nike founder and Chief Executive Phil Knight, just donated $100 million to the Oregon athletic program.

Now I really like UCI’s Dave Serrano but I was saddened when his mail order diploma surfaced a couple of months after being named the national coach of the year. Maybe all my years as an academic clouds my judgment, but coach you are supposed to be a role model for athletes to finish their student games not just their baseball games. Both Serrano and Horton’s likely successor Rick Vanderhook are using bachelor degrees from Trinity University in Spain. The Trinity catalog says “the award is based on your previous experience”. And credit worthiness if you get my drift.

Last time I was in the “big house” (Michigan Stadium not prison) was when Long Beach played football and needed body bag games to pay the bills. Last weekend Appalachian State got the check ($400,000) and the check mark.

Our closing quote came to me last Saturday at the old but improved Coach’s Sports Bar. College football filled the screens but also in the joint was a birthday party where the participants were a host family for a Long Beach Armada player. On a recent weekend morning the player joined the family for breakfast and popped open a Michelob (“hey it’s my poor man’s coffee”) to which the lady of the house said, “Not here and not before noon.” That’s it for a while, finish the tamales and hit the light on your way out.–DR. DAN.