Wednesday, January 06, 2010


There is a running joke amongst the 49er faithful that on a given day if there was a campus helicopter some of the hard core would literally go to every game the Beach kids played in. Today (Thursday) might be a good time to get the rotors in motion.

The ultimate fan begins with brunch in Santa Barbara before the men’s volleyball Niners start their regular season at 11 a.m. taking on Cal Baptist in the opener of the Elephant Bar Tournament. Normally we would suggest you stick around for the rest of this season opening party (eight matches on day one) but you need to be in the Pyramid by 1 p.m. when the Big West’s co-number one, well 1-0 in conference, Lady Niners hoop entry faces Fullerton, also 1-0 and 5-8.

Hungry, don’t even think of visiting the ‘Mid snack bar, you have to save room for your Rose Bowl BCS tailgate with those countrified-gourmets from Alabama and Texas. The kickoff is 5 p.m. but trust me the game will be decided in the first 45 minutes well before you hop your flight from Pasadena to your more spacious men’s basketball seat in historic Titan Gym. The first missed free throw is set for 7:06 p.m.

Considered by Beach administrators to be the bell and cash cow for LB athletics, men’s basketball agreed by prior arrangement to lose in a gentlemanly fashion to the basketball blue bloods from Duke, Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas etc. after their checks cleared. Wins over UCLA, Wisconsin Green Bay, and Utah State were great but Dan Monson’s super sophs have lost in overtime twice, before Christmas to LMU and after New Year’s to Riverside. Enough already.

On the ladies side, first year head coach Jody Wynn has apparently finished her spring cleaning and with three returning regulars sent packing, her club had an impressive heart transplant and, although they will be under-sized the rest of the season, LBSU won’t be intimidated in the Big West title chase.
On Saturday, you can park the chopper because the home folks will be treated to an unusual “Black and Blue” double header in the Pyramid. The ladies feature “Pack the House Day” tipping off at 2 .p.m. followed by the men at 4:30 p.m. That Black and Blue reference is a sporting salute to the team colors of LB and UC Irvine, who annually play for a surfboard ride and a free banquet. Through the fall the B&B score was tied 6-6 but the contest goes until the end of baseball season.

FINALLY SOME DIAMOND DUST—Rich Hill, the scholarly baseball coach at U San Diego presents the dollar dilemma he faces. “…Overall depth is the biggest challenge for this program. You’re dealing with a 35-man roster and school cost is approaching $50,000 a year. We use the USC model (give) the big money to a few (read 7) guys…” I guess that means you hope the walk-ons are happy and nobody gets injured.
Elsewhere on the playing field, UCSB Athletics will rent the loquacious Tommy Lasorda on February 5th to kick off a capital campaign for their baseball facilities: up the seating to 1,000, install lights, refurbished the press box, add new field box seats, up-grade (from a card table) the merchandise area, and add permanent restrooms and concessions.

BONUS BLOG-ONLY DUST--The NCAA picked Stanford baseball coach Mark Marquess to replace ASU’s Pat Murphy on the Division I Baseball Committee…Valparaiso’s Mark LaBarbera is taking over for former committee member, Cal State Fullerton’s Brian Quinn, so Kendall Rogers opines that there won’t be a West Coast representative in the room when the Division I Baseball Committee meets the weekend before the NCAA postseason field is announced on Selection Monday because Mark will be playing Arizona State in a three-game home series that weekend.

Others on that key committee are Louisiana-Monroe athletics director Bobby Staub, East Carolina assistant athletics director Gary Overton, Big 12 Deputy Commissioner Tim Weiser, Minnesota coach John Anderson, Bucknell athletics director John Hardt, Bethune-Cookman athletics director Lynn Thompson, Valparaiso athletics director Mark LaBarbera, Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander and St. John’s athletics director Chris Monasch….Marquess, 62, recently finished his 33rd season at Stanford…Urban Meyer did change his mind about quitting - running the old Brett Favre Reverse Play!...Former San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg donated $141,000 to the Aztecs' baseball program, to upgrade the surface of Tony Gwynn Stadium, with new synthetic turf replacing the grass skirting from dugouts to baselines… the No. 1 pick overall in the June amateur draft, agreed to a record-setting contract worth $15.1 million over four years with the Washington Nationals…down on the farm the folks at Serrano High are high on volleyball standout Caitlin Ledoux who was named all-Big West Conference after her sophomore season as an outside hitter at Long Beach State

Closing Quote--Finally, in the spirit of New Year peace, I’m protecting the author of our closing quote, who pointedly said, “This isn't about a whiny, entitled player kicking and screaming to get his way, or a whiny entitled Little League dad kicking and screaming to protect his little boopie from the mean man.” Okay. It’s a New Year folks, kiss up to Sandra Bullock and everybody make nice. DR. DAN