Friday, April 23, 2010

STADIUM DUST: THE DOCTOR IS TAKING DOSES OF CIPRO, KEFLEX AND REALITY FOR MY DIRTBAG WEEKEND

When I first landed in Long Beach one of the old dinosaurs roaming the campus told me after an excruciating loss, “son you will find that being a 49er builds character!” That building process goes on today, 35 years later. Just when you thought it was safe to quit wearing your emotions on your sleeve, upside down on the season (16-17) and losers of the last two BWC series to UCR and UC Davis, the Dirtbags went on to the hallowed grounds of Jackie Robinson stadium and just spanked UCLA 16-4.

So at the moment there is no magic number to either make or miss the post-season. The Beach boys are in a pack behind CSUF and UCI but the Big West generally has enough street cred to get a third team in the tourney so once again we have another must win weekend. Now that’ll build character.

The Niner mound rotation will be the usual suspects--the firm of Gagnon, Thompson and Pinder facing SB’s holy trio of Mario Hollands, (among BW leaders in ERA, K's, BAA; Nick Capito (ERA went from 3.70 to 5.40 after Saturday 17-3 beat down by Fullerton); and Jesse Meaux (who leads team with five victories and most vowels). Back to Tuesday this same character building bunch who allowed four homers in one inning last weekend at Riverside, hit six on Tuesday. One of the big blasts was a huge shot by Joey T which trimmed the eucalyptus trees in left field and scattered those hawks who feed on the westside squirrels. And this against a Bruin team who were just a couple of days away from being ranked number one in the land? Go figure.

BEST OF THE GAZZ DUST--At this time of the year the sporting faithful of Long Beach State would really prefer to be scouting post-season opponents or imaging how new recruits would make future Niner dreams come true. I don’t like injecting a dose of reality but I get that uneasy feeling that historically thrifty LBSU athletics will have to make some tough budget calls sometime soon, surely before the summer is over…When I arrived on campus in 1975 I was told that good coaching, the sixty mile circle of talent around CSULB and the low cost of education could defeat both visiting opponents and in-house budgeteers. Thirty five years later I fear that formula may have run its course. The good coaching is still there but big bucks programs from across the nation are picking the ripest fruit in the SoCal vineyards and now the low cost of higher education is under siege from Sacramento and, in some cases, from the 49er student body. Last year’s student vote to give general support to the athletics department was unsuccessful…Back in 2007, the students did tax themselves for a new wellness and recreation center, and the fee of $232 a year, begins this fall. I guess that free sunshine and green grass isn’t enough…but let’s put a few bones on the budget skeleton. This year a full ride scholarship with dorms is $16,470. Except for basketball, athletics provides per scholarship funds about $9,000 per year with the balance needed to match the competition coming from team fund raising…Last add Sacto, in 2000 tuition and fees were about $1700 with academic year room and board about $10,000. In 2010 that number will be woefully short of the actual costs. One final factoid, on a side note all CSUs have these mandatory furlough days. Men’s basketball coach Dan Monson jested he would be taking those when the team made road trips to Texas, Kentucky and North Carolina….Long Beach softball, 20-20 and 4-4, plays SLO Saturday-Sunday and the Big West women’s water polo tournament is underway at the campus pool…this is Autism weekend around the land and tomorrow limited edition Troy Tulowitzki tee shirts will be given to LB’s early birds…around the BWC it is UCI at Davis, CSUN at UOP, Cal State Buck Owens at UCR and SLO at the F word...

web site stuff… Kirk Singer was inserted into the lineup at second base in the team's final game at UC Davis, and played there for all four games this week…Singer hit .471, going 8-for-17 with two doubles and a home run, his second of the season…he was a perfect 5-for-5,on Friday at UCR and then capped off the Saturday night win with a tape-measure home run…the Bags starting rotation has anchored the weekends since the start of the season…all three have averaged over six innings per start, and combined have an ERA under 4.00…UC Santa Barbara had the first weekend of Big West play off, and has played .500 baseball since then, coming into the series with Long Beach State at 3-3 in conference play...last year the Gauchos moved their games to neutral-site play at Fullerton's Goodwin Field after fires in Santa Barbara forced the series out of the Central Coast …our closing quote is from Oregon State coach Pat Casey "I'm ultimately responsible for the way we play, and the way we played wasn't indicative of a champion. That's on me." –-DR. DAN