Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Thanks to one and all for your slump-busting remedies. Despite Tuesday’s lovely romp over Pepperdine we are not absolutely certain that all is right with the Dirtbag world but for the moment the planets are back in order. So what happened that brought about the 10 zip vic?

Suggestions. Despite the pain that it caused batting practice fan Brad Peterson (father of you know who), Weathers cancelled the pre-game swing show in favor of fielding. In the dugout the Niner hitters had a choice of two red and silver bats, the TPX 33 and the TPX 34. No whites, yellows, lucky purples, one for each of my walk-up songs. Nope, pick one and get up there. If the next guy needs it he goes and gets it. Bat boys take a half night off.

Maybe it was the public addresser? That would have been big game Danorama, Dan Smith. A millionaire auto industry exec, Smitty, who’s early years of pronouncing consisted of working behind the bar at Joe Josts and saying, “okay, who had the Special and who had the Diet Pepsi?” was spot on. I made that diet Pepsi stuff up, but he did work at Joe’s long before his SID gig and then some teaching and then the real world. Everything Smitty said worked, including the Dating Game TV music trivia.

Another possibility was the gaggle of water polo lovelies that sat first base side and drove Elvis Joe nuts, hanging out two rows up, sort of like a flock of canaries just outside of the reach of your cat. But then, with win #20 in their pocket, maybe the Forty Niners of February are back.

So what about that game and of course that very special cycle? From the visitors perspective they cryptically wrote “The #6 Pepperdine baseball team managed just seven hits and was shutout for the second time this season in a 10-0 loss to #24 Long Beach State on Tuesday night at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. The Waves are now 4-4 vs. Top 25 opponents this season.” Ah, but the drama was in the details and on the 50th anniversary of the first game at Blair Shane Peterson made his own entry in the history books. Officially the press box historian didn’t know if it had ever officially happened before but for sure it officially did Tuesday night. Peterson began his game of games with an opposite field home run in the first then got the tough part of the trick with a triple to center in the third. The easy part of the equation was taken care of with a fourth inning single and with the lead at 7-0, except for the hard core skeptics worried about a late inning collapse, all the attention turned to Peterson’s at bat in the sixth. Mom Sue picks up the tale here, “I got a cell phone message from the LaMontagne's (parents of Andre of last year) who said they had been watching Game Tracker and knew after the fourth he had a chance at the cycle and they were driving over with their camera.” With photogs at the ready, in a patented lefty goes down the right field line move, Petey sent one toward the tarp by the outfield wall, and, well let Shane describe it. “I knew I needed the double and I guess that tarp made it easy for me because I couldn’t get to third.” He better not had gone to third because most of the 500 or so left in the yard were hollering “Stop, stop!” when he hit second base.

While most of the drama was done two more events would unfold. In the bottom of the eighth Peterson would come back up to the plate. Sue said, “there are two more ways to get on base and we really didn’t want the hit by pitch.” Shane opted for the base on balls, the seventh of the night giving up by Wave pitchers, and what we call the “super cycle: single, double, triple, homer and walk.” When I suggested that to Weathers he feigned a hearing problem, “did you say Super Sized?” Okay coach, leave the food humor alone. The second event of note was not remotely funny. That would be a hard collision between second baseman John Burk and shortstop Danny Espinosa with one out in the ninth where both went down. Burk got up but Danny was in real pain, bent over and holding his right arm to his chest. It took a long time but eventually Espy hobbled off. We later learned that Burk’s knee hit him in the chest and the er, ah, sensitive region. Post game Dan’s dad said that he will be sore but okay.

For the record Peterson went 4-for-4 with five RBIs while Jonathan Jones, Steve Tinoco and Robert Burk each added two hits. Brett Lorin evened his record at 2-2 with the first five shutout innings. He fanned five, walked two and scattered four hits on 99 pitches. David Roberts, Nick Vincent and Bryan Shaw finished the Waves with just two more hits. This weekend however, the action moves up to the SF Valley and a hitter’s haven, CSUN. Of course that might also be good news.

DONOR DUSTING--Lee Iacocca, Jack Welch, Michael Eisner. Oh yes, Vic Cegles. All these folks are CEOs who believe that the big bottom line depends on balancing the portfolio. The first three guys make their money mostly on cars, can openers and cartoons. Mr. Cegles has a portfolio of sports, and like Lee, Jack and Michael, when one market is down he hopes that another is up.

Cegles you see is the CEO of CSULB athletics. Despite a miserable won-loss result in basketball the spring always brings hope. For a while, say the first 20 games, baseball was a hot stock, the last 13 have been colder than Enron. The good news is that three other sporting divisions are busting off the charts, men’s volleyball wrapped up their conference title and will host the MPSF championship tournament. Women’s tennis was a perfect 8-0 in the Big West and goes into post season as the top seed. Softball is tied for first and has the best freshman pitcher in the land.

Certainly there are more than four sports on the Beach’s lush 320 acres but in the spring, the big five games are baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis and the annual fund drive. Expect Vic and his fund raising staff and volunteers to be on your line and in your mailbox. LBSU Athletics provides operating budgets to eighteen intercollegiate varsity sports and their goal is to have the cash in hand by June 30.

In a nutshell they want your bucks to fight present and future opponents and perhaps, those stingy folks in Sacramento. You can earmark your gift to a favorite part of the 49er athletic portfolio or a little bit to everyone. Unless somebody else taps you on the shoulder first, you can join me and check your check in with Pat West at 562-985-4662.

PICK UP DUST—While the town is alive with the roar by the shore, most of the Beach athletic teams will leave their earplugs behind and head north. Long Beach softball travels to meet the other team tied for the conference lead, UC Santa Barbara in a three-game series Saturday and Sunday. As noted above baseball has their three game series Friday through Sunday at the rock pile known as the Northridge baseball field, and tennis visits Fresno Friday afternoon. A couple of teams will play at home, track hosts their annual Long Beach Invitational Saturday and water polo welcomes Irvine today (Thursday).

Admittedly the scoreboard results from Blair last weekend were bleak but the box office (and concessions) was brilliant. The three game series drew great crowds, 2181, 1304 and 1655 and the market for frozen lemonade and beer was robust. The attendance average for the Dirtbags is 1519 per home game, just a bit under the 1856 average that basketball drew if you don’t count the homecoming game. Still left is a giant crowd pleasing series with Fullerton. As far as the Anteaters, apparently they like the idea of real seats, not wanting grass stains on their Gucci jeans as is the circumstance with their home games.

Our closing quote this week comes courtesy of volleyball assistant coach and resident wit Andy Read. Andy was celebrating the MPSF title which allowed the Beach to beat out BYU as the tourney host. “Provo is a nice place to visit, if you can't get into the Tehran Hilton...but for the Beach fans, the Pyramid is best place on earth for men's volleyball.” DR. DAN


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