Monday, September 29, 2008


One of the ironies of college athletics is that players, coaches and fans struggle mightily for recognition which, when obtained, is used against them. Case in point: Last week as Pacific (1-8 coming into their volleyball contest with Long Beach) painted the bull’s-eye on Brian Gimmillaro’s Beach girls.

The Tiger marketers upped the ante with freebees that lured in the often laconic UOP students, brought in Tiger alum Jennifer Joines, a four-time All-American and Olympic silver medalist, and then retired her No. 6 jersey. The result, the home girls swept the 22nd ranked Niners in front of almost 2,000 and oddly sit tied for first in the Big West while Gimmillaro’s kids are in fifth.

Meanwhile back in the blue building with the pointed roof, LBSU coaches are back to the drawing boards trying to tweak a line-up that in a word, okay two words, is not tall. NCAA banners in the rafters yes, great alums, you bet, nice facility, perfect for WVB, but in 2008 somewhat vertically challenged.

Last add taking shots, when Pacific retired that number six jersey they must have forgot that their freshmen setter, Arielle Goldberg, was sitting on the bench with that very same digit on her uniform. And on their chat board a young lady named Casey gloated about beating the “Dirtbags” saying she “couldn't resist the jab even though I know that that moniker typically only applies to LBSU baseball.” Better quit while you are ahead Casey, your baseball team was 14-41 last year.

One more shot from the WVB road trip. Smelling blood from the Thursday sinking at Stockton, UC Davis asked their “Aggie Pack” to come out in full force for the volley match with the Big West standard bearers, LBSU. They did as 2,102 fans watched their women's volleyball team take Long Beach State to five sets at the Davis Pavilion.

In the campus paper their coach gushed, "That was so special," head coach Jamie Holmes said. "That meant a lot to me as a coach, and I know it meant the world to them as players.… It kind of brought tears to my eyes, actually." Like Pacific, the UCD admins weren’t shy about bribing their students, the Aggie Pack events come complete with free T-shirts, tube socks and blue and gold beads.

Back to baseball, one of the featured student athlete speakers at the Donor dinner last week was Dirtbag relief pitcher Adam Wilk. He seemed a bit nervous prompting retired golf coach and fellow donor Bob Livingstone to quip, “Cut the kid some slack, he is used to looking down at the catcher and getting signs!”

Another diamond note is about the new five year contract for Mike Weathers, likely awarded in large part by his success with the new coaching standard, the Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. More and more the APR is being used to hire, fire and pay coaches. Mississippi State recently restructured the contracts of its football, men's basketball and baseball coaches with language that says if the NCAA bans a team from the postseason because of low APR numbers, there is a clause in each contract that allows Mississippi State to fire the coach. On the plus side, some schools offer bonuses that can reach six figures if teams receive “acceptable” scores.

NAME DROP DUST—I sat at UCI a couple of years ago with a seldom played USC quarterback who was watching his Anteater brother star on the diamond. That would be New England’s NFL surprise Matt Cassel who made his “show” a lot sooner than his brother Justin who has gotten as high as AA. Sister Amanda is a student at LBSU.
Just as in 2007, the Beach baseball program has a real shot at another Rookie of the Year with Evan Longoria. Troy Tulowitzki just missed last season. Tulo will be the keynote speaker at the Leadoff Dinner in February and the team will salute the 20th anniversary of their first CWS team early in the season.

Next LB infield star heading to the bigs, try Shane Peterson who drove in a pair of runs as the Batavia Muckdogs (St. Louis affiliate) beat the Jamestown Jammers, 9-3, to capture the New York-Penn League title. "It was pretty much the most gratifying experience I've ever had," said Peterson. "I know it's only short-season and 80 games, but it felt like it was what we worked for as a team.”

Upcoming stuff is the news that the 49er soccer team has finished making their out of state house calls and begins conference play Friday, hosting UC Davis at George Allen Field. All in all the Beach booters did well despite losing a 1-0 deal Sunday at Arizona State (they shut out Arizona on Friday.) It was the 49ers' third 1-0 loss of the season but LBSU played the Devils even; taking nine shots to ASU’s eight.

Our closing quote today comes from an anonymous Congressman. “I'm declaring myself conductor of this meeting as I have the bribe sheet." We now return you to your regularly-scheduled program of economy watching, Christmas shopping and dancing with Misty May.—DR. DAN


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