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Biggest Series Of The Year At Blair Field Set For This Weekend


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Biggest Series Of The Year At Blair Field Set For This Weekend

This from the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning (read the entire article here):

The last time the Dirtbags crossed the county line to get a look at their blood rival, Fullerton, they left the little team on Nutwood on the wrong end of a 2-1 series victory and with a very un-Titanlike record of 16-16.

To put that in perspective, Fullerton has lost 16 games or less in a season five times in the last decade, and the last time the Titans flirted with a .500 record, Bush the elder was in the White House (1989).

And as we all know when Titan baseball isn't winning, there's very little reason for their athletic department to unlock their doors.

But no one associated with Dirtbag baseball left Fullerton for dead after that series. Mike Weathers and friends knew Titans coach George Horton would find a way to turn the season around, and they're batting 1,000.

Fullerton has gone 19-4, including the last-game win in the non- conference series, has returned to the national rankings, and needs just one victory in this weekend's three-game series at Blair Field to clinch the Big West title.

That's not surprising, either. The two teams have finished first or second in league play a combined 22 times since 1989, so everyone knew they would collide for the title the last weekend of league play....

While the rivalry is the most intense you'll find in Big West sports, often bordering on hate, there's a strong current of respect among the coaches, current and past.

They're all connected. Dirtbag creator Dave Snow and Horton were teammates at Cerritos College. Horton played for Augie Garrido at Fullerton, and his first coaching job was as Snow's assistant at L.A. Valley College.

Horton would return to his alma mater as Garrido's top aide before his promotion in 1997. Meanwhile, Snow's top assistant was Mike Weathers, who also played at Cerritos, was an assistant at Fullerton College for two years, and was head coach at Chapman before Snow grabbed him. The Dirtbags, Titans and Weathers' Chapman teams would routinely scrimmage in fall and winter ball. This is Weathers' second year as head coach.

"We all have the same background and came from the same places,' Horton said. "That's what's unique about the rivalry, the mutual respect and friendship we have off the field. Whenever there's been a sour incident or some verbal warfare between the teams, we get it straightened out. We don't want to tarnish the quality of the rivalry and let it get bitter.'

It has teetered that way a few times. In the '90s, the two clubs took great pride winning a series on the opponent's field. Titan players are not enamored with the Dirtbags' dugout antics the shaking of the hats on deuces, for example and the Dirtbags think the Titans are arrogant.

Last year, Fullerton won the rubber game of the series on a pop- fly down-the-line homer, and there was a lot of on-field taunting and smack before the coaches intervened. But nothing on the field rivals the smack tossed by fans of the two teams, often shouted over 30 yards.

"It's been more negative in the stands than on the field,' Horton said. "There's that one (Dirtbag fan) who likes to call me Tubby, which is going overboard. I guess I wish fans didn't think they had to turn to that. They don't have to make the battle their own.'...

This weekend's series has the look of a classic.

The Dirtbags will toss Jered Weaver, Cesar Ramos and Jason Vargas against the Titans, arguably the best rotation in the nation not located in Houston (Rice University). The Dirtbags' team ERA of 2.68 is almost a full run better than the No. 2 team in the Big West (Fullerton, 3.63). Opponents are averaging a measly 2.95 runs a game against the Dirtbags, and the three starters and top two relievers all have opponent batting averages under .237, topped by Weaver's .142.

The Dirtbags have limited their opponents to four runs or less in 35 games and have a 32-3 record in those games. They've pitched seven shutouts, allowed just one run 15 times, and two runs in another seven.

Both teams have a lineup of all .300 hitters, but the Titans lead the Big West in hitting at .328 and have scored 135 more runs than the Dirtbags (409 to 274). They have their own All-American candidate, catcher Kurt Suzuki (.439), to swing against Weaver.

In the first game between the teams this season, Fullerton scored a pair of runs off Weaver early before frittering it away.

"We scored two runs and then threw a party,' Horton said. "Then he got better. He's having as good a year as any college pitcher I've ever seen. Mark Prior was dominant when he was at USC, but no moreso than Jered.

"If we're fortunate enough to score on him again, we all may step out of the dugout and do that Japanese baseball thing, bow and apologize for scoring on him.

"Make no mistake. I still think, even if we have a two-game lead, that (the Dirtbags) are the team to beat in the conference.'"

Okay, which one of you Dirtbags fans is going overboard?

posted on 5/19/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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