Tuesday, May 26, 2009


For some reason this year Hollywood has found fascination with cold war movies where a super power tries to lure a defector into their camp, helping their own cause and hurting their rival. That sporting version of that historical genre was re-opened this week when the most decorated freshmen golfer in LBSU history, Lee Lopez, asked for a scholarship release to transfer to UCLA.

Lee was the secret ingredient in the 49ers recipe to win the 2009 BWC title by one stroke and the team leader that weekend was Lopez who tied for second place with a 228, well ahead of LB’s senior All-American Kay Hoey. That outcome climaxed a fabulous freshmen year which featured a slew of top ten tourney finishes, second at the SDSU tourney, 10th at Fresno, eighth at Pepperdine and third at UCI. And now, who knows, stay tuned. Insiders say that LBSU will not grant her a release and allow Lopez immediate eligibility in Westwood.

The raiding of nuggets from the 49er treasury has a history. Ivan Verbercht, an emerging mid-major front court basketball talent was smuggled down to USC in 1984 to be a practice player. In 1998 the Beach lost softball all-star Nina Lindenberg to Fresno State where she was a three time All American and National Team member. In 2005, a great volleyball player named Ali Daley bailed for UCLA. How does this happen? A loophole. Scholarship documents are basically year to year to protect the school in case a student-athlete ignores the student part and has bad grades or, er, ah, major deportment issues.

Switching to good news, like two weeks ago at the Players, it was another walk not spoiled by LBSU alum John Mallinger who banked $234,000 and a hunk of FedEx points playing golf at the Byron Nelson last weekend. His story is quite impressive from a skinny hundred pounder at Escondido High to a final Sunday regular on the PGA tour. His first coach was his high school athletic director Steve Bridges, followed at Long Beach State by Bob Livingstone. The rest of his education came via hard work on five different minor tours, from the Canadian to Hooters.

At LBSU John was the team captain in 2000 where Coach Livingstone applauded Mallinger for being the best at understanding how to juggle golf and school. Both men are proud that in his senior year he never missed a class and Livy told the Daily 49er, back then, "He is the leader, he leads by example." Update: John is in town this week according to the talented insider named Bob Livingstone who reported that John “just cracked the top 100 in the OWGR (Official World Golf Ranking at #96) and is all excited about coming out this week to play in one of our gin games at El Dorado GC this week. He’s also going to the wedding of one of his best friends, Steve Mena (a current 49er).”

Switching to walks, hits and things baseball, we wrote of the hopes for 2010 Dirtbag roster last week and despite the 25-29 record (which ended swept into the gloom of Fullerton Sunday night) the cash box totaled over 7,000 tickets sold. For years the teams played each other six games a season, three here and three there. Update, starting next season CSUF and LBSU will return to the old formula and play two three games series with only one series counting in the Big West trophy dash. As is increasingly obvious, LBSU is really an encoded acronym for Long Budget State University and getting three games in front of a full house with a high RPI opponent for a half tank of bus fuel is a choice that the budget bosses at both places could not resist. Beats traveling to South Carolina any time.

More diamond chat, at least two Dirtbags, pitcher Jake Thompson and shortstop Devon Lohman, will head to the prestigious wood bat bunch in the Cape Cod League and others will likely head to Alaska, Wisconsin and the Midwest circuits, or one of the So Cal leagues. Then of course some guys will rehab at home, Kellen Hoime, or summer school. Only pitchers Adam Wilk (second team) and Charlie Ruiz (honorable mention) made any of the All Big West selections. Better news on the overall LBSU front, the Beach won the annual BWC Commissioner's Cup as follows: 1. Long Beach State, 2. Cal Poly, 3. UC Irvine; 4. UC Santa Barbara; 5. UC Davis; 6. UC Riverside; 7. Pacific; 8. CS Northridge and last, and clearly overall the least, 9. CS Fullerton.

Runner-up closing quote from a Miami web boarder (not water boarder) when he was quizzed by Purdue fans who wanted to ask their Miami Hurricane counterparts what the Boilermakers would be getting with recently transferred Robert Marve. “Outside of the drinking, the bar-fighting, the rampant egotism, the desire to want to be handed the QB job with no competition, the poor academics, the rule breaking, the lack of leadership, and the lying, you've got a physically gifted QB.”

Now our winning closing quote this from favorite son John Mallinger. Asked what he likes about being on the big tour, “I'd probably say all the perks. Every week we get some type of deal in our locker. We got BlackBerries, Wii systems…You don’t have to go to the course anymore, you can just play in your living room. Unfortunately, that doesn't pay too well.”—DR. DAN


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