Monday, March 23, 2009

Magnifique and Words Fairly Foreign to the Forty-Niners

Last weekend was one of those times when I exchanged a press row seat for my electric chair, that being the one in front of my TV/computer, handy for rapidly surfing back and forth around the LB sporting landscape. Not as comfortable as my recliner, but very convenient for raiding the refrigerator while tracking athletic contests in Arizona (softball), Utah (volleyball) and Kansas (baseball).

Regrettably the Niners went 1-2 in baseball falling to traditional power Wichita State, got swept in softball by sixth ranked Arizona State, and lost two to BYU. The good news is that things should get easier this week, baseball is at home for a series with UNLV, softball is at home for three with UC Davis, tennis hosts Dartmouth and volleyball will at least play close to home at USC and Pepperdine. And I can save on that Edison bill.

Now to a new feature of the Dust when the box score news is a bit depressing. We call it “Mining for Web Gems”. First of all we now interrupt the "who’s going coach the women’s basketball team announcement watch party" for a basketball men’s basketball non-conference schedule update. Names being kicked around include three from the Thanksgiving weekend at the 76 Classic in Anaheim (UCLA, Minnesota, Butler, Clemson, West Virginia, Minnesota, Texas A&M and/or Portland), on the road at Arizona State and Texas, a return game owed Wisconsin Green Bay and likely a stop to or fro with a Midwest power like Illinois, Notre Dame, Indiana, etc. At home insiders expect an out of conference visit from the U of Denver.

Where are they—Back when Beach baseball made those Omaha trips, the skipper in those days Dave Snow wasn’t great about remembering names so he coined nick names for almost everybody, “Possum” was the equipment guy from Japan Yusuke Nakajima, I was Boog Powell and the bat boy, one Daniel Carson Benedetti, was called, well he was called, “Boy”.

Danny dreamed of becoming a real Dirtbag with a full-sized uniform but it never happened. His parents, John and Cindy Benedetti, never gave up on his college dream. The encouraged him to try the JC route, which he did at Irvine Valley where he was picked as captain, batted a team-best .345 in conference games. Next up was a genuine D-1` scholarship to Big East entry St. Johns and so the black and gold turned to Red Storm Red.

An All-BIG EAST second team selection as a catcher last year, Danny had 41 starts, batted .342 with 14 doubles, 19 RBI, and he threw out 19-of-37 base stealers. This year his team is unbeaten in conference and this Boy is hitting .313 after Sunday’s 2-3, 2 RBI performance.

Finally as you know tennis is a gentile sport and the 49ers have a wonderful collection of foreign players who know that curtsy and kisses stuff. Post reporter JJ Fidler says one such player is freshman Anais Dallara out of Valbonne, France. Flash back to her first match and Dallara picks up the story. “In France we kiss on the cheek to say hello. You don’t do that here. But I didn’t know. I was so embarrassed.” No worries, to date Anais has kissed off her opponents. She has a 13-3 mark in singles and 10-1 in doubles teamed with fellow freshmen, Manhattan Beach’s Rachel Manasse. Magnifique!—DR. DAN


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