Monday, March 16, 2009


After a more than memorable week that was, athletically Long Beach State might just deserve a pause to reflect and relax. The basketball teams are going through their exit interviews and making plans for off-season conditioning.

In the case of Coach Mary Hegarty, she herself will go through her own exit interview while her former boss, athletics director Vic Cegles, tries to manage the free advice that landed on his overflowing voice and email machines.

The folks lighting up his office electronics are split between those hoping for a return to glory with a new women’s basketball coach and those who see the end of the world, or worse, because the students did not pass that athletic fee referendum.

“We are going to be fine, there is a lot of interest” Cegles said using AD-speak that is purposely designed rein in the speculation that CSULB, renamed these days as Cal State University Low Budget, is having its darkest days since opening in 1949.

So with the LB sneakers and those long basketball shorts packed away, what else is going on to give the faithful a break. Well, baseball for example is on the road this weekend at a fairly average Missouri Valley Conference entry, Wichita State, back where Dorothy lives. The Beach lads had a 2-2 week, winning their mid week contest over USD and the Sunday game against Washington State, but lost twice to the water logged Cougars keeping skipper Mike Weathers puzzled.

Softball fared better winning four of five and now head east, well as far east as Tempe, Ariz., to take on defending national champion and sixth-ranked Arizona State. The three-game series gets underway on Friday with first pitch set for 7 p.m. (PT) and a doubleheader Saturday. Finally men’s volleyball, winners of their own tourney last weekend, goes up the mountain to Provo for a two night date with BYU. Peaking at the right time, the Niners knocked off third ranked Penn State Saturday.

Tennis remains at home with a pair of out of conference matches, Friday against Louisville and Saturday hosting Denver. Still unbeaten in Big West play, the home girls were staggered a bit when upstart Nevada took the net queens down last week.

Back to baseball, as usual clean Gene Stephenson of The Shockers has under scheduled his team again, lots of Arkansas Pine Bluff and North Dakota State etc. For the youngsters in the 25 man Dirtbag travel party, the weather might not be nice (37 to 56 with rain on the weekend) but the underground batting cages, erector set stadium and out door BBQ areas are impressive.

NAME DROP DUSTING—Sunday’s hitting hero was TJ Mittelstaedt, two-for-three with a double and triple and scoring the game-winning run. On the pitching side of the Niner stat sheet newcomer Charlie Ruiz went from despair to delight on the weekend. He actually struck out four in the ninth on Saturday (three wild pitches and a passed ball) and lost but his wicked splitter was caged on Sunday and he got the win.

The real March Sadness in the loss of the fee referendum but I have confidence that President Alexander will use some sort of line-item veto to pick some projects and facilities. It is clearly the direst financial landscape since the campus opened in 1949 but I for one do not buy into the doomsday scenarios.

Last add, my NCAA dark horse is my father’s alma mater, West Virginia University, and the inspiration for our closing quote. “Being a Mountaineer isn't something the athletes have to do, it's something they get to do”. –DR. DAN


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