Dedicated to fans of Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball (well, okay, officially the 49ers).

Dirtbag's 2006 Rankings

15th in ESPN/Sports Weekly
15th in NCBWA
16th in Collegiate Baseball
16th in Baseball America
1st in Non-Conference "Intended" SOS -
21st in Overall "Intended" SOS -

Posted Articles [View Selected Article Only]

Jeremy Reed A Good Fit In Seattle

Tulowitzki and Ramos Selected For Team USA

Mike Hofius Signs With Pittsburg Pirates

Cesar Ramos Signing Autographs

Press-Telegram Feature on Bobby Crosby

Dirtbags In Summer Leagues - (Revised 6/24)

Dirtbags, Led By Tito Cruz, Key to Anchorage Victory

Ramos and Tulowitzski Shine in Team USA Rout of Canada 9-2

Dirtbag's NCAA Div. I Stats - 2004 Final

Jason Vargas Signs With Marlins

Herman Returns Home

Josh Buhagiar In Yakima

Jered Weaver Wins Dick Howser Trophy - Named Top College Player

Jered Weaver, Neil Jamison, Named All-Americans

Doug Kirkorian On The Drama At Blair Field Sunday

Dirtbags In The Polls - ISR - RPI

Thank You To A Fine Group Of Student-Athletes

Fireman Craig In A Cheerleading Uniform!!!???

Trip To Omaha On The Line

Cesar Ramos Profiled in Press-Telegram's Super Regional Picks's Boyd Nation On Long Beach State Dirtbags

Baseball America's Analysis Of The Dirtbags And Wildcats

This One May Be A LITTLE Premature

Sean Boatright Featured In Press-Telegram

Troy Tulowitzki - Hometown Kid Makes Good At Sunken Diamond

Eric Sorenson's Regional Analysis

Bobby Crosby Joins Dirtbags For Draft

Draft Comments On Drafted Dirtbags

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Sacramento Bee On John Bowker's Selection By SF Giants

Jason Vargas' Hometown Paper On Draft

Long Beach Moves Up In Polls

Dirtbags In The MLB Draft - Day Two

Dirtbags In The MLB Draft

Thoughts From A Great Trip North

Dirtbags Pre-Regional Press Release

Eric Sorenson Projecting Dirtbags Winners Of Palo Alto Regional

Troy Tulowitzki Invited To Try Out For Team USA

Five Dirtbags Among Baseball America's Top 50 Southern Californians In Major League Draft Next Week

Dirtbags A #2 Seed To Watch

Palo Alto Regional Website

Does NCAA Have Anti-Western Bias? - Well Duh!

Coach Mike Weathers Ain't Tellin' Who's Startin'

Jered Weaver May Not Be Picked By San Diego Padres In Draft Next Week

ESPN: Stanford Presumptive Winners Of Regional...Huh???

Three Dirtbags, and Team, On Final Regular Season NCAA Div. I Leader Board

Dirtbags 12th in ESPN/Sports Weekly Final Regular Season Poll

Off To Palo Alto....Again!


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Take a Virtual Tour of Blair Field - Home of the Dirtbags - Courtesy


"Weekend Link: Dirtbags Baseball. Although "dedicated to fans of Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball," Jeff Agnew covers college baseball about as well as anyone."

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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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This website is not affiliated with Long Beach State University or its NCAA Division I baseball program. All original material copyright 2004-2006 by Jeffrey A. Agnew.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Jeremy Reed A Good Fit In Seattle

From the Seattle Times (read the entire article here):

"New prospects good fit for M's

By Bob Sherwin
Seattle Times staff reporter

If the measure of a good team is one that's strong up the middle, the Mariners added three building blocks Sunday with the trade of pitcher Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sox for three young players.

The M's received the catcher of the present in Miguel Olivo, the center fielder of the future in Jeremy Reed and, with a much longer view, perhaps the shortstop or third baseman of the future in Michael Morse.

Olivo, who reported to the Mariners yesterday, said Reed "is a great hitter. I see him as being real close to the big leagues."

Reed will report to Class AAA Tacoma, and Morse to Class AA San Antonio. Bill Bavasi, the Mariners' general manager, said Reed could figure in the mix in 2005, though probably not out of spring training.

"Our speculation is that sometime next year he could be here," Bavasi said, "but we don't put timetables on guys."

The competition ahead of Reed, 23, is not strong. Jamal Strong, the Rainiers' starting center fielder, doesn't have power and his arm is average. His strength is his speed with more than 230 stolen bases in 4-1/2 minor-league seasons.

Reed, 6 feet, 185 pounds, is a much more complete player. The left-handed-hitting Reed led the minors with a .373 average and .453 on-base percentage last season and was recognized as the Topps Minor League Player of the Year. Baseball America rated him the White Sox's No. 1 prospect.

The former second-round pick in 2002 from Long Beach State hit .275 for Charlotte in 73 games this season with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 12 steals. However, after he hit .325 in April, he has hit just .254 since. While playing for the U.S. Olympic qualifying team last year, he jammed his wrist against the outfield wall. He wore a splint on the wrist all winter and some have suggested his lower average this year is connected to his injury.

"When we made the deal, we have a guy who we know is going to hit. Is it going to translate to big-league power? You never know," Bavasi said of Reed. "But it's a lot more likely than the guy who hits a lot of home runs in the minors and strikes out a lot."

Reed's bat control is one of his strengths. He has struck out just 34 times in 276 at-bats this season..."

Monday, June 28, 2004

Tulowitzki and Ramos Selected For Team USA


June 27, 2004

DURHAM, NC-- Long Beach State sophomores LHP Cesar Ramos (Pico Rivera) and SS Troy Tulowitzki (Sunnyvale) were two of the 22 players selected to played for Team USA this summer. This is the fifth straight year a Dirtbag has been a member of baseball's collegiate national team and just the second time that two players have been teammates.

"It is a real honor and something that I've always wanted to do. It is going to be a fun summer with Troy and I am proud to represent Long Beach State Baseball and USA at the same time," said Ramos. "It is going to be a challenge playing some of the best competition around the world. We are looking forward to a great summer and bringing home a gold medal."

Ramos, who was a second team All-Big West selection this past season after going 12-4 with a 2.29 ERA, aced his tryout on Wednesday with 5.0 shutout innings of relief against Canada to earn the win in the summer opener.

Ramos is just the third Dirtbag pitcher to make Team USA and is the second lefthander. Current farmhand Red Sox farmhand Abe Alvarez was a member of Team USA in the summer of 2002.

Tulowitzki this past season earned first team All-Big West honors and followed that up with Most Outstanding Player accolades at the NCAA Regional in Palo Alto. This past season Tulowitzki batted .317 with 44 RBIs and a team-best 15 doubles. The sure-handed shortstop made just nine errors at short, fielding at a .969 clip.

So far for Team USA, Tulowitzki has gone 3-for-6 with three runs in a double in the team's first four games.

Tulowitzki is the third Dirtbag shortstop to make Team USA, following in the footsteps of current Major Leaguers Chris Gomez (1990-91) and Bobby Crosby (2000). Gomez and fellow Dirtbag Jason Giambi were teammates on the 1991 Team USA squad.

Members of Team USA From Long Beach State: SS Chris Gomez (1990-91), 3B Jason Giambi (1991-92), RHP Rocky Biddle (1995), SS Bobby Crosby (2000), OF Jeremy Reed (2001), LHP Abe Alvarez (2002), RHP Jered Weaver (2003).

Trevor Crowe, So., Arizona
Drew Stubbs, Fr., Texas
Travis Buck, So., Arizona State
Brian Bogusevic, So., Tulane (LHP)

Alex Gordon, So., Nebraska
Ryan Zimmerman, So., Virginia
Troy Tulowitzki, So., Long Beach State
Chris Valaika, Fr., UC Santa Barbara
Jed Lowrie, So., Stanford
John Mayberry Jr., So., Stanford

Mike Pelfrey, So., Wichita State (RHP)
Luke Hochevar, So., Tennessee (RHP)
Ian Kennedy, Fr., Southern California (RHP)
Daniel Bard, Fr., North Carolina (RHP)
J. Brent Cox, So., Texas (RHP)
Joey Devine, So., North Carolina State (RHP)
Cesar Ramos, So., Long Beach State (LHP)
Ricky Romero, So., Cal State Fullerton (LHP)
Mark Romanczuk, So., Stanford (LHP)

Taylor Teagarden, So., Texas (1B)
Jeff Clement, So., Southern California
Brett Hayes, So., Nevada (Utility)

Coaching Staff:
Frank Cruz, Loyola Marymount (Manger)
Elliott Avent, North Carolina State
Mike Trapasso, Hawai’i
Jack Smitheran, UC Riverside

Read the article here.

Mike Hofius Signs With Pittsburg Pirates

Mike Hofius has signed with the Pittsburg Pirates, and has been assigned to the Williamsport Crosscutters in the Class A New York-Penn League.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Cesar Ramos Signing Autographs

From the Durham Herald-Sun:

"Players from USA Baseball and Baseball Canada waited impatiently in their respective dugouts Wednesday night as rain soaked the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, but the 20 children from El Centro Latino barely noticed it.

They were too busy getting their new bats and hats signed by Cesar Ramos, pitcher for the USA Baseball National Team.

"I think it's really cool," said 11-year-old Pati Cervantes. "If I was a baseball player, I wouldn't have time to come talk to kids. I think that's really cool they did."

The 20 children and their parents from the Hispanic center in Carrboro showed up for an RBC Centura-sponsored baseball skills clinic, but due to the rainy weather, they settled for balloon animals, free food and a chat in Spanish with Ramos and team manager Frank Cruz.

"I remember growing up and watching older guys play and wanting to play," said Ramos, whose first language is Spanish and who attends Long Beach State University in California. "It's always helpful to have someone talk to you instead of just sitting there smiling and nodding your head."

Cruz stressed to the children that baseball and sports can be more than just fun.

"Cesar got the opportunity to go to college," Cruz said. "Baseball brings many opportunities, like meeting new friends."

The two are a part of the USA Baseball National Team, which includes top collegiate baseball players from across the country. Each summer, the team makes a Red, White and Blue Tour -- a schedule of exhibition games played around the United States against top world teams, like Canada and Chinese Taipei..."

Read the entire article here.

Press-Telegram Feature on Bobby Crosby

In the Long Beach Press-Telegram:

"Bobby Crosby says he's living out his boyhood fantasy playing in the major leagues, savoring the joyful moments and enduring the stressful ones.

"This game tests you every day," he says. "It forever challenges you. You do good one day, but that doesn't help you the next one. And there always is a next day. And one after that. And on and on and on. It never stops. But I love it. This is what I wanted to do since I was a little kid. I still sometime feel like pinching myself just to make sure it's all real. Here I am playing in the major leagues, something I always dreamed of doing."

"What have been the highlights so far?' Crosby is asked.

"Oh, wow, just being able to play every day in the majors is obviously one," he says. "I guess hitting that home run in that first series in Anaheim against the Angels was something special. And hitting a home run in my first game at Yankee Stadium also was special. I'd never been to Yankee Stadium before. And then last week playing at Wrigley Field was memorable. What a great atmosphere. Playing in the majors is even better than what I thought it would be."

Bobby Crosby smiles softly...."

Read the entire article here.

Dirtbags In Summer Leagues - (Revised 6/24)

Several Long Beach State Dirtbags will be playing summer league ball this year. Here's where they are playing, with links to their club's website. Please note that Cesar Ramos and Troy Tulowitzski have been invited to try out for Team USA. If selected, they will not be playing for the Brewster Whitecaps.

Cesar Ramos will be with the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Code League. Currently, he's at the Team USA tryouts.

Troy Tulowitzski will be with the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Code League. Currently, he's at the Team USA tryouts.

Brian Anderson will be with the Alexandria Beetles in the Northwoods League.

Tom Wolf will be with the Alexandria Beetles in the Northwoods League.

Danny Mocny will be with the Alexandria Beetles in the Northwoods League.

Brett Andrade will be with the Alaska Goldpanners in the Alaska Baseball League.

Kenny Maquis will be with the Alaska Goldpanners in the Alaska Baseball League.

Sean Boatright will be with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.

Brandon Godfrey will be with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.

Tito Cruz will be with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.

Scott Juneau will be with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.

Scott Bradley will be with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.

Ross Stout will be with the Peninsula Pilots in the Coastal Plain League.

John Gardiner will be with the San Luis Obispo Blues in the California Coastal League.

Dirtbags, Led By Tito Cruz, Key to Anchorage Victory

From the Anchorage Daily News:

"Tito Cruz's daring, darting base running allowed the Anchorage Glacier Pilots to score a critical run in the middle of the game Wednesday night, and his late-inning heroics allowed the winning run to saunter home.

Cruz's bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning easily plated Brandon Godfrey and earned the Pilots a 3-2 victory over the Mat-Su Miners at Mulcahy Stadium.

Cruz lined a pitch from Mat-Su reliever Haley Winter (0-1) into left field to end an Alaska Baseball League game that seemed as if it might last until snow fell.

The winning rally opened with a single by Scott Bradley, who was then forced out at second base on Godfrey's fielder's choice. Godfrey moved to third base on Ritchie Price's hit-and-run single -- that base hit redeemed Price after his error allowed Mat-Su a run in the seventh -- and an intentional walk to Matt Baty loaded the bases for Cruz. The infielder from Long Beach State, who also had two sacrifice bunts, drove in his third run in three games with Anchorage (8-3, 2-1 ABL).

Cruz's game-winning hit made a winner out of right-hander Corey Madden (2-1), who pitched three innings of two-hit relief and struck out four.

Cruz's RBI single also was the only run-scoring hit of the game. Anchorage scored its other two runs on a ground-out and a sacrifice fly, and Mat-Su (7-4, 2-2 ABL) scored its runs on a ground-out and Price's error.

But before Cruz ended the game after 3 hours, 18 minutes, his imaginative, heads-up running in the sixth inning earned the Pilots their second run.

Cruz reached first base on a fielder's choice. When Michael Paulk followed with a grounder to the right side of the infield, Mat-Su first baseman Scott Simon lunged for the ball. He couldn't reach it, but second baseman Josh Satin did. And even though Satin's throw was wide of starting pitcher Chris Malone covering the bag, Cruz rounded second base and sprinted to third so quickly he would have reached third safely even if Satin's throw to Malone had been on target.

Cruz then scored on Jon Still's sacrifice fly.

Both right-handed starting pitchers shined. Eric Wordekemper of the Pilots threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one earned run, but again received no love for his labor. In three starts, Wordekemper has allowed just three earned runs over 16 2/3 innings for a 1.62 earned run average, but has one loss and two no-decisions to show for it. Miners starter Malone allowed just four hits and two runs in six innings.

The teams traded runs early. Anchorage's Jon Still doubled with one out in the fourth inning, advanced to third base on Malone's wild pitch and scored on Derek Schermerhorn's ground-out. The Miners responded for a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth, when Chris Errecart led off with a double, moved to third on Satin's ground-out and scored on Brett Bigler's ground-out.

The Pilots moved back ahead 2-1 in the sixth when Cruz exhibited his intelligent instincts on the base paths. Yet the Miners countered for a 2-2 tie in the seventh, when Satin tripled with two outs and scored when Price, the shortstop, couldn't handle Bigler's grounder cleanly.

Bradley, the Pilots' right fielder, wiped out a potential run by the Miners in the first inning. Bigler led off the game with an infield single and moved to second on Clayton Carson's sacrifice bunt. One out later, Miners catcher Josh Hester singled to right, but Bradley snatched the ball on one bounce and fired a one-hop laser to Still that was so impressive it beat Bigler to the plate by four steps to end the inning."

Read the article here.

Ramos and Tulowitzski Shine in Team USA Rout of Canada 9-2

From the Durham Herald-Sun:

"Ryan Zimmerman wasn't much of a home-run hitter for the University of Virginia during the regular season.

He sure knows how to pick his spots.

The sophomore third baseman, who had just one homer for the Cavaliers this season, hit a two-out blast in the eighth inning Wednesday night to seal the outcome as Team USA took a 9-2 win over Canada in both teams' season opener at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

"I got hold of a 3-1 fastball," Zimmerman explained. "I hit one with a wooden bat [for Peninsula] in the Coastal Plain League last summer, but that's probably the best ball I've ever hit in my life.

"It's a great feeling wearing this [USA] jersey. And it's a great feeling being on this team. It's just fun talking baseball with a group of guys like this."

The game was the opener of a four-game series.

Long Beach State left-hander Cesar Ramos was the winning pitcher for the home team, going five shutout innings of relief and allowing just two hits with six strikeouts.

"My slider and fastball were both working pretty well tonight," Ramos said. "Hopefully I proved something."

Zimmerman led his team's nine-hit attack with a homer and a single. Stanford's Jed Lowrie also homered for the USA, while Ramos' teammate Troy Tulowitzki added a double and a single..."

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Dirtbag's NCAA Div. I Stats - 2004 Final

Team Statistics:

4th in ERA [3.11]

6th in Fielding % [.975]

36th in Win/Loss % [.656]

Jered Weaver Statistics:

1st in Wins [15]

1st in Strikeouts per 9 innings [13.3]

2nd in ERA [1.63]

Neil Jamison Statistics:

8th in Saves [12.0]

Cesar Ramos Statistics:

10th in Wins [12.0]

27th in ERA [2.30]

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Jason Vargas Signs With Marlins

According to the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, Jason Vargas has signed with the Florida Marlins. Read the article here. According to the article, Brad Davis, who was also drafted by the Marlins, remained unsigned (the article was published on June 19).

Herman Returns Home

There's a great piece on Don Barbara in the San Mateo County Times, reprinted at (click here). Thanks go to Niall Adler (Long Beach State SID) for passing it along.

Josh Buhagiar In Yakima

Josh Buhagiar has signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and has been assigned to the Yakima Bears, Arizona's Short Season Advanced team in the Northwest League.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Jered Weaver Wins Dick Howser Trophy - Named Top College Player

OMAHA, June 18 (UPI) -- Jered Weaver of Long Beach State Friday was named winner of the Dick Howser Award, given annually to the nation's top college baseball player.

In 2004, the right-hander was the 14th pitcher in NCAA Division I history to strike out 200 batters in a single season.

The award was announced just prior to the start of the college World Series in Omaha.

Weaver, younger brother of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver, was 15-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 201 strikeouts this season. Jered Weaver was selected by the Anaheim Angels with the 12th overall pick in last week's draft.

"Jered Weaver had a phenomenal season," said Long Beach Coach Mike Weathers. "He carried the team and the statistics actually don't tell the whole story. He completely dominated the hitters he faced."

Read the article here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Jered Weaver, Neil Jamison, Named All-Americans

The National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association has named its All-American teams for 2004 (Click here for the press release). Long Beach State starting pitcher Jered Weaver was named First Team All-American, and Dirtbag closer Neil Jamison was named Third Team All-American.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Doug Kirkorian On The Drama At Blair Field Sunday

Below is the beginning of Doug Kirkorian's column in the Long Beach Press-Telegram yesterday. Click here to read the entire column. I highly recommend that you read it all. As one who attended the game, Doug captures the elation and despair, every emotion in the book, that we experienced. I was completely exhausted yesterday. My left hand was literally bruised from continuous clapping for four innings, and my voice nearly gone. I've read a lot of articles and columns about the Dirtbags. This, in my opinion, is the best yet. If you were not at the game, this column will give you an idea of what it felt like. Well done, Doug.

Here is how the column begins:

"The leisurely game of baseball with its maddening fickleness left the local favorites, the beloved Dirtbags of Long Beach State, with their hearts shattered Sunday and their faithful followers saddened after a memorable weekend of riveting theater at Blair Field.

It wasn't supposed to end the way it did, with the University of Arizona players piling on one another in celebration at exactly 8 p.m. after pulling out a 4-3 triumph over the Dirtbags in the 11th inning to earn a trip to the College World Series in Omaha.

In the late stages of the proceedings before the Dirtbags were eliminated, Charlotte Weathers, wife of the team's field commander, Mike Weathers, left her box seat and nervously walked around an enclosed grass area beyond the third base grandstand.

"If ever a team deserved to win, it's this one,' she said. "They've worked so hard.'..."

Read the entire article here.

Dirtbags In The Polls - ISR - RPI

In polls updated by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper on June 14, 2004, the Long Beach State Dirtbags are ranked 12th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball, and 13th by BA. They remain 12th in the ESPN/Sports Weekly poll, which has not been updated since May 31, 2004. shows the Beach 6th in ISR, and 20th in RPI, in games through June 13, 2004.

Thank You To A Fine Group Of Student-Athletes

It's no secret that the Dirtbags will miss out on a trip to Omaha this year. I have to tip my hat to the University of Arizona Wildcats. You beat a very good team that never quit to the very end.

The game Sunday was fantastic. Jason Vargas is a baseball player! That was one tough, gutsy, performance. The Marlins will be lucky to have him. And Neil Jamison. After a confidence shattering outing Friday night, to come back and pitch 2.2 innings of no hit lights out ball displayed the kind of mental fortitude that this young man has. The Mets have drafted a winner.

It's disappointing that we fans, and especially the guys on the team, will miss out on Omaha. But there are very few teams that have made the Sweet 16 the last two years, as the Dirtbags have. I thank each and every member of the 49ers - those who got a lot of playing time, and those who got little or none - you played as a TEAM and it showed. You never, ever, quit. What you are made of was really revealed when you nearly came back from a 13-4 deficit against Fullerton - scoring 7 runs in the last two innings. It was still a loss - but it was the best darn loss of the season!

To the Seniors, and the drafted Juniors who decide to sign professional contracts, thank you. I'd especially like to thank Mike Hofius. Mike is a true Dirtbag. No one has given more total effort. That determination will serve him well, in baseball and in life.

I hate to see the season end - but they always do. I will probably not be posting quite as often through the summer and fall, but I'll keep you updated on Dirtbags in summer leagues and former Dirtbags in the minor leagues.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Fireman Craig In A Cheerleading Uniform!!!???

From Doug Kirkorian's column in the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning (read it all here):

"...As of mid day Thursday, 1,810 all-session tickets had been sold, according to Bill (Mr. Nice Guy) Shumard, the beloved Long Beach State athletic director back in action after a six-week absence with a serious upper respiratory condition that caused him to drop 20 pounds that, much to his distress, he already has packed back on his anatomy.

"I look for Friday night's game to wind up being a sellout,' predicted ol' Shoo, sounding chipper and healthy again.

Well, if this is the case, we might see an unusual phenomenon around the Blair Field premises tonight the presence of America's last bastion of free market, unencumbered capitalists, your friendly neighborhood ticket scalpers. . .

The Dirtbags' coach, Mike Weathers, who's done a terrific job since taking over for Dave Snow, says this team is more experienced than the previous two he's taken to the NCAA tournament.

"We have a lot of guys on this team who've been around awhile and keep a workman - like attitude and even keel no matter what the situation is,' says Weathers, who also never has had three starters as formidable as Weaver, Cesar Ramos and Jason Vargas. "The goal we've had all year is to win our weekend series, and we've done well in that regard. We've won 14 of 17. If we do it again this weekend, we're going to Omaha.'. . .

...I hear the Dirtbags' most vocal supporter, the zany Long Beach fireman Craig (Five Bellies) Vestermark, will show up this evening dressed in a 49er cheerleader outfit and will prance around Blair Field with his megaphone inspiring applause and shrieks for the home team...."
My comments: Ohhhhhhhhh, please!!! Say it ain't so!

Trip To Omaha On The Line

The following article, from the Orange County Register, is published in the San Jose Mercury News (read the article here, free registration required):

Long Beach State ready to host first super regional


The Orange County Register

LONG BEACH, Calif. - (KRT) - The pings from Long Beach State's baseball practice field echoed a little louder Wednesday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with the fact that school is out and the campus is empty.

Jered Weaver hit slow ground balls to infielders. Coach Mike Weathers leaned against the cage to take in batting practice under a June-gloom sky.

It was just like any other practice, except the 49ers historically are on the road this time of year.

History changes Friday night at 7 when Long Beach State plays host to its first super regional at Blair Field against Arizona in a weekend expected to galvanize a city steeped in baseball tradition.

"I would expect the town to explode with excitement," said UC Riverside coach Jack Smitheran, who grew up in the area and played at Long Beach Wilson.

The best-of-3 series continues Saturday at 4 and, if necessary, Sunday at 3 or 6. The winner advances to next week's College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

More than 1,800 all-session passes already have been sold, according to Long Beach State officials, who are advising fans arrive early. It will be the first time the 49ers will play at home with a shot at Omaha on the line, and it gets started with Weaver on the mound tonight on ESPN2.

"It's good for our program, our school and our community," Weathers said.

Long Beach State has been eliminated by Stanford the previous two seasons, including last year's super regional in Palo Alto.

The 49ers slain the Cardinal dragon last week when Weathers gambled and won by saving Weaver for Stanford, which lost twice to Long Beach State on its own field as the No.5 national seed.

"It's absolutely huge for the team and the morale of the team," 49ers catcher Brad Davis said of beating Stanford. "I can't even explain."

The super regional sets up well for Long Beach State, which has the large confines of Blair. Only three teams defeated the 49ers at home this year, although they have been swept there the past two series.

Still, Long Beach State has a team ERA of 2.33 at home and 3.91 on the road. Weaver's ERA goes from 2.58 to 1.04 when he pitches at Blair, and Saturday starter Cesar Ramos is nearly a run lower (1.84 from 2.60) at home.

Opponents hit .203 at Blair compared with .251 at home against Long Beach State.

"You go to pretty much any other park in the nation and you have a chance of having a home run hit off you every (at-bat)," Davis said. "But you come into Blair Field and there's big-time home run hitters who can't even hit it out of there. It's a real graveyard."

Home teams have won 30 of 40 super regionals since the current format was implemented in 1999. Long Beach State swept a three-game series against Arizona at Blair in March, including a three-hit shutout by Weaver in the opener.

Arizona, which makes it first super-regional appearance, did Long Beach State a favor by upsetting top-seeded Notre Dame to give the 49ers home-field advantage. A 7-6 victory by Arizona in the final kept Long Beach State from having a plane ride to South Bend, Ind.

Weathers, a former assistant who seeks his first trip to Omaha since he replaced Dave Snow two years ago, likes the situation, but he doesn't put much weight into the "d" word: destiny.

"This is a team that has to work for it," he said. "If they get away from that, if they get caught up in, 'This was meant to be,' it's not going to happen."

Cesar Ramos Profiled in Press-Telegram

Gordon Verrell writes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram (read the entire article here):

"They have combined for nearly two-thirds of Long Beach State's victories. They are the second-winningest 1-2 pitching punch in Long Beach State history. They are one another's biggest fans.

Yet they couldn't be any more different if one was right-handed and the other left-handed.

Which they are.

Jered Weaver, the right-hander, starts off a series, going through his elaborate preparation each inning, then delighting the much- bigger-than-normal crowds at Blair Field by blowing away batter after batter with his strikeouts.

The next night Cesar Ramos, the left-hander, trots out to the mound no, he dashes out there and simply starts pitching. He nibbles at the corners, satisfied to get outs with ground balls, or fly balls, or whatever.

"He can have all the strikeouts,' Ramos said earlier this season, laughing. "I just want to get outs.'..."'s Super Regional Picks

Here are's picks for the Long Beach Super Regional (read the entire article, which includes all Super Regionals, here):

Long Beach Super Regional

Arizona (33-24-1) at Long Beach State (39-19)

Sean: How about the Wildcats, knocking out Notre Dame, which I picked for Omaha. Now, it gets you know who on Day 1, but don’t sleep on Cesar Ramos. He and Vandy’s Ryan Mullins might be the most underappreciated No. 2s in the country. Yet, the Beach boys will have to pitch it and catch it, because the Cats will swing the bats. Long Beach in two.

Phil: This is the second Super Regional without a top seed. Second-seeded Arizona won three tight games to take the South Bend Regional, including a one-run decision over top-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday. Second-seeded Long Beach State beat Stanford twice at Sunken Diamond, not an easy task. Jered Weaver and Cesar Ramos are combined 26-5 and should tame the Wildcats. Long Beach makes short work of Arizona in two.
My comments: Arizona was actually the thrid seed. UC Irvine was the #2 seed.

Thursday, June 10, 2004's Boyd Nation On Long Beach State Dirtbags

"Long Beach State has gone from left for dead a week ago to a serious threat to win it all."

This quote is in an article here. The article is mostly about college coaches who risk injury to pitchers by over use. It is a very interesting article.

Baseball America's Analysis Of The Dirtbags And Wildcats

Baseball America scouts the Super Regionals as follows (read the entire article here):

College baseball is down to its Sweet 16, and we're just a week away from the College World Series. We've told you about these teams all year, but in one of the season's most exciting weekends, we turn the analysis over to professional area scouts and college assistant coaches who have watched the 16 remaining teams during the season....


Arizona Wildcats

Coach: Andy Lopez (third season at Arizona; three trips to Omaha, two with Florida, one with Pepperdine, where he won the 1992 CWS title).

How U of A Got Here: Won the South Bend, Ind., regional, beating host Notre Dame.

Fab Five: So. OF Trevor Crowe (.337-5-31 with 23 steals); Fr. SS Jason Donald (.323-7-41); So. 1B Jordan Brown (.326-11-53); Jr. RHP Koley Kolberg (9-6, 4.52 with 110 strikeouts and 59 walks in 131 innings); So. RHP John Meloan (8-0, 4.89 with 55 strikeouts and 33 walks in 70 innings).

Lowdown on the Wildcats: "There are some great athletes; they have that freshman shortstop and he's going to be pretty good. Crowe can hit and he can run. Offensively they are very difficult to pitch to because they don't strike out a lot and run deep counts.

"Arizona took some good passes at Weaver the first time they played, and his strikeouts were low. So you have to play good defense because you won't get nine, 10, 11 strikeouts. If you get the first guy out it strips their game plan in terms of bunting and hit-and-run. They can put one or two (runs) on the board any time because they are so feisty and have good at-bats, but don't have the thunder to get a bunch at once.

"They have good flexibility left and right and they can run, but there's no big power. The addition of Brown into the lineup in the middle of the year has added a middle-of-the-order threat. He hit 11 home runs in like half a season. One through nine, they can hit. Even (second baseman John) Hardy's down at the bottom and he's legit.

"Kolberg without question has the stuff to be a No. 1 guy. The whole staff turns on him. He will stay in the game a long time because there's not a lot of confidence in the bullpen. If you get in that bullpen, you can really get to them. Be patient with Kolberg. He's thrown a lot of pitches this year, and came back to close that one in the ninth last week, so he could be tiring. I think Arizona has its hands full."

Long Beach State 49ers

Coach: Mike Weathers (third season at Long Beach State).

How the Beach Got Here: Swept through the Palo Alto, Calif., regional, beating Stanford in the final.

Fab Five: Jr. RHP Jered Weaver (15-1, 1.65 with 201 strikeouts and 19 walks in 136 innings); So. LHP Cesar Ramos (11-4, 2.12 with 94 strikeouts and 33 walks in 127 innings); Jr. DH/LHP Jason Vargas (.355-5-32 and 7-6, 4.23 with 86 strikeouts and 29 walks in 104 innings); So. OF John Bowker (.332-7-41); So. SS Troy Tulowitski (.313-6-41).

Lowdown on the Dirtbags: "It's the same old song and dance for them. It's all about legit pitching and defense. They are going to hit enough at Blair Field. They tend to hit more away from Blair. There are capable hitters in that lineup. If they get to Omaha they will be an offensive team and can surprise some people. To beat Long Beach you need to keep it close. They play little ball, but play it closer to the vest because they know they can beat you 2-1. They're not going to put you away because they don't score enough. If you stay close, you can get a big hit late and make a comeback, like St. John's almost did (in regionals). Four runs might be enough to beat them sometimes.

"With Weaver and Ramos and Vargas, they have as good starting pitching as is left in the tournament. Can you get enough runs to beat them? No one's really proved it yet. There's nothing conventional about their pitchers. Weaver, the way he throws with that delivery and command, you don't see that much. Ramos just goes changeups and fastballs and command. The number three guy, Vargas, he's the most conventional using mostly his fastball. All those guys are like golfers in the tee box: They just focus on the pitch, and it doesn't matter if they give up three hits in a row, they still look like nothing's changed. I'm not thoroughly in love with their pen. (Neil) Jamison and (Brian) Anderson are OK, but they're not starting.* It's a good bullpen, not a great one.
*My comments: [Hand raised]...pick me! Ummmm, is it really fair to criticize a bullpen because it's populated with pitchers who are not starting? I'd like to know which schools have bullpens filled with starting pitchers.

"Defensively, Tulowitski is really good at shortstop. (Brad) Davis is a Gold Glover behind the plate and (Mike) Hofius is Gold Glove caliber at first. Second base has been a trouble spot. They're ranked really high in defense, but they don't make as many plays as most teams because the pitchers get so many strikeouts...."**
**My comments II: Pick me again! Is is really fair to criticize a defense because they don't get as many chances to make plays as teams with inferior pitching? Hey BA, who wrote this stuff anyway - nameless assistance coaches and area scouts I see.

My final comments on this piece. Much of it is good analysis, but I really wonder whether the editors at Baseball America asked themselves whether parts of this make any sense at all!

This One May Be A LITTLE Premature

This is from The East Carolinian online (read it here):

"ECU crowned College World Series champions

It hasn't happened yet, but it looks like an easy road to Omaha. Just have to get out of Kinston and by 15 other teams that have advanced to the Super Regionals. Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Arizona, Tulane, LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, Texas, Cal. St. Fullerton and Long Beach State have all moved on. Sounds like a bunch of cupcakes to me."

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllly?!!!

Sean Boatright Featured In Press-Telegram

Gordon Verrell writes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram (read the entire article here):

"Two back surgeries, a fractured back and one arm injury later, Sean Boatright is finally becoming the force in Long Beach State's lineup his coaches thought he'd be and he thought he'd be all along.

Coming out of Trabuco Hills High with glistening credentials, Boatright encountered one setback after another, almost to the point he wondered if he'd ever get back that crisp swing of his.

Then, last weekend at Palo Alto, where the Dirtbags blew through the Stanford Regional, beating Stanford twice to advance to this weekend's NCAA Super Regional at Blair Field, Boatright produced in a way that had everyone from coach Mike Weathers to Boatright himself nodding their approval.

"That really helped,' Boatright acknowledged the other day after practice. "I was able to produce, and produce consistently, offensively and defensively. That really got me excited. It was a big boost to my confidence.'

Boatright was productive in all three of the Dirtbags' wins, one over St. John's and two over Stanford, going 6 for 10 with three runs batted in and his third home run of the season.

His average for the season is .337, second among the Dirtbags to only Jason Vargas' .355. He's driven in 19 runs in 27 games, but he's also missed better than half the Dirtbags' games in 2004.

"He's still not 100 percent,' Weathers said of Boatright. "But he's certainly not a liability. He's a great addition.' ..."

Troy Tulowitzki - Hometown Kid Makes Good At Sunken Diamond

From the San Jose Mercury News (read it here - free registration required):



By Dennis Knight

Mercury News

When Troy Tulowitzki was a Sunnyvale Little League star, he was a regular at Stanford summer baseball camps, where he fell in love with Sunken Diamond.

As a freshman at Long Beach State last season, the Fremont High alum returned to his field of dreams when the 49ers played Stanford in an NCAA Super Regional.

Playing in front of a large contingent of family and friends, Tulowitzki came through with a solid performance at the plate. But a pair of errors by the shortstop proved costly as Stanford capitalized to win both games.

"He wanted to show everyone in his home town that he was for real. He felt a lot of pressure and blamed himself," his father, Ken Tulowitzki, said before last weekend's rematch between the 49ers and Stanford in an NCAA regional. "I think he's moved on and he's talking about how he can redeem himself this year."

Troy Tulowitzki did more than redeem himself. He led the 49ers to a two-game sweep of the No. 1 ranked Cardinal, equaling his season total by blasting three home runs and earning most outstanding player honors.

"It was unbelievable. It was a dream come true," said Tulowitzki, who earned first-team All-Big West honors after hitting .307, with 36 RBIs and a team-leading 14 doubles in the regular season. "Our season has ended on Sunken Diamond the last couple years, so to finally come through and get the win, that was huge.

"It definitely would have been exciting no matter where it happened, but to have my father there and all my friends, that made it even more special."

The 49ers will host the University of Arizona this weekend in the Super Regional in Long Beach. The winner earns a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

"Hopefully, my career highlight hasn't come yet. I've always wanted to go to the College World Series," Tulowitzki said. "Getting a chance to play in this tournament and trying to make it to Omaha is a great opportunity."

Tulowitzki first drew the media's attention as a 12-year-old playing with best friend Robert Perry (now a starter for Santa Clara University) on the Sunnyvale National Little League team which advanced to the Western Regionals, a step away from the Little League World Series.

Since then, it has been Tulowitzki's dream to reach the big leagues. After visiting Long Beach as a high school senior, Tulowitzki chose the school because of coach Mike Weather's rapport with infielders. A's shortstop Bobby Crosby is a former 49er and a close friend of Tulowitzki's. The two are sometimes compared.

"It puts added pressure to compared to a major leaguer, but it's an honor," Tulowitzki said. "I've always wanted to play pro ball, and it looks like it is going to happen."

Even with all accolades Tulowitzki has earned, he hasn't changed much. A star basketball player at Fremont High and four-year varsity baseball player, Tulowitzki is ultra-competitive in everything he does, according to Mike Smith, his coach at Fremont.

"He just doesn't accept losing," Smith said. "You can tell by the way he carries himself and the way he acts that he comes from a great family. It's nice to see him have success because he doesn't let it go to his head."

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Eric Sorenson's Regional Analysis


From the Left Coast - June 9
Grading the Regionals
By Eric Sorenson

First some quick hit observations and accolades on what transpired this weekend...

Best No. 2 Seed Performance: (tie) Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State

Tell me again, why were these two teams No. 2 seeds? The L.A. basin rivals took no prisoners in the championship round on Sunday and will now both host Super Regionals. It could be said that both teams also will be favored to make it to Omaha as they host lower-seeded teams. The even better news is that they will be placed in opposite brackets if they do make it to The O. Could we see these two square off one more time this year? Not likely, but boy would that be fun....

Committee done bad, part II: Same faces, same places

Okay, okay committee, we've seen Carolina vs. Carolina, Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida State, Long Beach vs. Stanford, Cal State Fullerton vs. Arizona State and Miami vs. Florida Atlantic one too many times in the postseason. And now you want to give us Super Regionals of Florida vs. Miami, Arizona vs. Long Beach State and Georgia vs. Georgia Tech? Haven't these teams already played this year? And if money is not as big of an object anymore (like you claim it's not), do you have to make it so, so, so... regionalized?

Now let's get the red pen out, analyze the regionals and see who gets what grade-wise....

Palo Alto Regional
Long Beach State 4 - St. John's 3
Stanford 10 - UNLV 4

St. John's 9 - UNLV 6
Long Beach State 7 - Stanford 4
Stanford 7 - St. John's 2

Long Beach State 8 - Stanford 4

1- Stanford: C
Since the format changed in '99 to the two rounds of regionals, the Trees had yet to lose. But getting an angry Long Beach team sent to Palo Alto (again?) was a different story this time. Stanford couldn't get its vaunted offense off the dock against the Beach's top two of Weaver and Ramos.
2- Long Beach State: A+
Perhaps the best performance of any team this weekend. The Beach escaped St. John's scare with No. 3 hurler Jason Vargas and then cruised behind Weaver and Ramos to go unbeaten. Away from spacious Blair Field, Troy Tulowitzki supplied three of the Dirtbags' six home runs.
3- St. John's: B
The Johnnies could've wrecked the 49ers' plans as they nearly took Game 1. Eddie Schultz went 5 for 10 with two doubles and two home runs to pace the offense. St.John's had five doubles and two home runs in the win over UNLV. And although the pitching wasn't bad against Stanford, five errors were the undoing.
4- UNLV: D
Save for its four straight wins in the Mountain West tourney, UNLV went 5-6 down the stretch. So this wasn't a real hot team, and it showed in Palo Alto. Unfortunately, this was also a senior-dominated team, so some re-tooling will be necessary to get a third straight postseason appearance."

Bobby Crosby Joins Dirtbags For Draft

This from the Sacramento Bee (read the entire article here):

Three years ago, Bobby Crosby sat at home with his parents and an Orange County television crew, awaiting word on his baseball fate.

The A's took the former Long Beach State shortstop with the 25th pick in 2001, and Crosby has become the most recent first-round pick to play for the team.

So he knows what the waiting and the wondering of draft day is like. Monday morning, during the first round of the 2004 draft, Crosby sat in a hotel room with this year's Long Beach State team, one day after the "Dirtbags" had eliminated Stanford from the NCAA postseason.

"I went down to Stanford (on Sunday) because they were playing the regional there, and I stayed the night, hung out with the team," said Crosby, who works out with Long Beach State in the offseason.

Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver, who dropped to No. 12 overall after being touted as a No. 1 pick, was with his family in Southern California, Crosby said. But the other players stayed in one room before departing for Long Beach after the first round.

"It's nerve-wracking, having to listen to every pick," Crosby said of the atmosphere in the hotel room. "For a lot of those guys, it's a lot of money, for one. And for two, other guys are hoping just to get drafted, just to get a chance.

"That's your life, you know? There are guys who end up getting drafted late and end up making it. If you're on the bubble, and you don't get drafted, you have to go do something else, which I think is a scary thought for guys who have played baseball their whole lives."

Draft Comments On Drafted Dirtbags

Here are the comments on each player selected in the draft, as posted on the website:

Jered Weaver (1st round, Angels):


Jason Vargas (2nd round, Marlins):


John Bowker (3rd round, Giants):


Brad Davis (5th round, Marlins):

There were no comments.

Neil Jamison (8th round, Mets):


Mike Hofius (22nd round, Pirates):


Josh Buhagiar (32nd round, Diamondbacks):

There were no comments.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

The Dirtbags celebrate at Stanford's Sunken Diamond. This picture is from the ESPN site. Here is the link to it, but I suspect that the page will change soon.

This is from the San Jose Mercury News on Saturday:

"In the earlier game, Long Beach State (37-19) snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over St. John's. Right fielder Steve Velazco drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single to left that scored Brad Davis.

"I make things happen here," said Velazco, who had an RBI double against Stanford at Sunken Diamond two years ago. "This field loves me or something."

The full story is here (free registration is required).

I guess that Sunken Diamond really does love Steve Valazco after all.

Sacramento Bee On John Bowker's Selection By SF Giants

John Bowker, who went to high school in Sacramento, is written up in the Sacramento Bee as follows (read the entire article here):

"...Giants draft outfielders - In a departure from their annual hunt for pitching, the club drafted three college outfielders as their first three picks in the Major League Baseball amateur draft: Eduardo Martinez-Esteve of Florida State (No. 70), Sacramento's John Bowker of Long Beach State (100) and Clay Timpner of Central Florida (130).

"Considering there were 69 guys off the board before your pick, I thought we did well under the circumstances," said player personnel director Dick Tidrow, who made Merced College right-hander Omar Aguilar the club's eighth-round choice.

"We went for power because it was there after the top pitchers were off the board. Our top two picks are power guys, and maybe they were still there because they're sophomores. Historically, we don't go after high school kids."

Bowker, a left-handed hitter out of Rio Americano High, hit a home run Sunday to help knock Stanford out of the NCAA playoffs. He is batting .332 with 41 RBIs and leads the 49ers with 15 doubles and seven home runs."

Jason Vargas' Hometown Paper On Draft

The following is from the Victor Valley Daily Press (read the entire article here):

"It seems that at every point in Jason Vargas' career, there have been questions of why.

Why did he transfer from Victor Valley to Apple Valley? Why did he choose to go to Louisiana State instead of the major leagues? Why did he leave LSU for a a junior college in Cypress? And why did Vargas decide to go to Long Beach State?

The answers can be pinpointed to one single day, the major league baseball amateur draft that took place on Monday.

Vargas, a junior pitcher/designated hitter for Long Beach State, was selected by the Florida Marlins with the 68th pick in the second round.

It's a far cry from the 43rd round, where he was picked out of high school by the Minnesota Twins.

"It's one of the best feelings I've ever had," Vargas said. "It's definitely the best decision I ever made (of going to college).

"The stars are starting to fall into place. I think everything is starting to work out for the best. Hopefully, it will keep going and good things will come."

The road has definitely been a long one for the former Apple Valley star, but his father, Victor Valley athletic director Joe Vargas, said it's been well worth it.

"If you would have told me that this would have happened five years ago, I would have said, 'Yeah right,' " Joe Vargas said. "Not that I didn't think he had the tools, it's just luck has to fit in there somewhere.

"The road has been somewhat unusual. All the moves certainly made him progress as a player."

Vargas and his Long Beach State teammates are currently preparing for the NCAA Division I super regional this weekend against the University of Arizona.

"Hopefully, we have a chance to go to Omaha," Vargas said. "That's a first priority right now - before the draft."

But Vargas said he's excited about going to an organization that won the World Series last year and gives its young players a chance to play.

"They like young players, it's a great organization and I can't wait to get started," Vargas said. "

Long Beach Moves Up In Polls

The Dirtbags are now ranked 6th in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll, and 13th in the Baseball America poll. The ESPN/Sports Weekly poll has not been update, so the Beach remains 12th in that poll.

Dirtbags In The MLB Draft - Day Two

On the second day of the Major League Draft, Dirtbags selected were:

1B Mike Hofius (22nd round, Pirates)
OF Josh Buhagiar (32nd round, Diamondbacks)

Dirtbags In The MLB Draft

The first day of the Major League Draft saw five Dirtbags selected, all juniors:

RHP Jered Weaver (1st round-12th overall, Angels)
LHP Jason Vargas (2nd round, Marlins)
OF John Bowker (3rd round, Giants)
C Brad Davis (5th round, Marlins)
RHP Neil Jamison (8th round, Mets)

Thoughts From A Great Trip North

Sorry for not posting since last week - but I was off for a little rest and relaxation in beautiful downtown Palo Alto, California. Okay, it wasn't restful, and it wasn't relaxing. But it darn sure was FUN!!!

First, I have to commend Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers for a very gutsy - and risky - move pitching #3 starter Jason Vargas on Friday against St. John's. I hoped all week that he would do it, and was thrilled when the lineups were announced. Solid pitching by Jason, Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison held the Red Storm to 3 runs. St. John's starter Anthony Varvaro pitched an outstanding game, but was let down by his defense, with the Beach scoring 2 unearned runs. Getting into their pen to score single runs in the 7th and 9th is what separated the Beach from defeat in this game and quite possibly the Regional.

The risk was well worth it. We Beach fans are VERY tired of our season ending in Palo Alto. In a stug fest with relievers starting in 4th and/or 5th games, Long Beach State would be no match with Stanford. So we needed to have our two dominant pitchers going against the Cardinal for all the marbles.

The pitching had to be to form in order to win, and it was. The Dirtbags power hitting was not quite as expected. In the 55 games before the Regional, the 49ers had 29 HRs as a team. I was reminded of that fact by 2 Stanford fans behind me as they discussed this stat just after the Beach pounded ANOTHER home run! In the three Regional games, they hit 6 - 3 by SS Troy Tulowitzski (the Regional MVP). That doubled his HRs for the season. At one point on Sunday, the scoreboard read 6 runs and 3 hits for Long Beach. All three hits were HRs.

Stanford's hitters scare the tar of you. But when they used their #2 starter on Friday, and the Beach won with their #3, the Cardinal needed off performances by Jered Weaver or Cesar Ramos to take the Regional. That didn't happen, so the gamble on Friday paid off big time.

Our guys played like champions. They pulled together as a team, with outstanding timely hitting, and great pitching. But I'm pretty sure what really did it for them was Bob's Big Boy. If you weren't there, or if they didn't show it on TV, before each game they all gathered around a Bob's Big Boy figurine for luck. The same as they did with the very same figurine in 1998 - the last year the Dirtbags made it to the College World Series. It appears that it worked. Sure, I know, playing excellent baseball had something to do with it too.

Final notes: Like everywhere, some fans are jerks. But by and large, the Stanford fans were knowledgable and a class act. As my group walked out of a side gate at Sunken Diamond on Sunday, the volunteer usher looked at us and said with confidence: "you guys are going to Omaha." Sure sounded good, and I know we all hope it turns out to be the case. We'll find out this weekend at Blair Field!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Dirtbags Pre-Regional Press Release

Here is the Long Beach State pre-Regional press release.

Eric Sorenson Projecting Dirtbags Winners Of Palo Alto Regional

Eric Sorenson, in a special report for, projects the outcome of each of the 16 Regionals this weekend. Here's what he has to say about the Palo Alto Regional:

"Palo Alto Regional
1st- Long Beach State
2nd- Stanford
3rd- UNLV
4th- St. John's

I know, get the men with the white coats and the jacket that ties up the back, I'm picking the Cardinal to actually lose in the regionals for the first time since... oh, the 60s or so, it seems. Actually the Trees have yet to lose since the new two-tier tournament format began in 1999. But Long Beach is bitter about getting a No. 2 seed. They're bitter about losing seven straight. They're bitter about being sent up to Palo Alto again. They're bitter about not hosting a regional. They're bitter about Jered Weaver having his worst outing of the year come at a bad time. It's time to take it out on somebody."

My comments: I welcome the prediction, but I think he is wrong about any bitterness. Determined, yes. Bitter, no.

Read the entire article here.

Troy Tulowitzki Invited To Try Out For Team USA

From Long Beach

"Long Beach State shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (Sunnyvale) was one of an additional nine players invited to try out for the U.S. Summer National Team, joining teammate LHP Cesar Ramos (Pico Rivera) amongst the 28 invitees.

Tulowitzki was named first team All-Big West this season as the former Freshman All-American is batting .307 with 32 runs, 36 RBIs and a team-best 14 doubles for the No. 12-ranked Dirtbags. The Beach begin their quest for Omaha and the College World Series this weekend, when they travel to Palo Alto to take on St. John's.

The Beach have had nine members of Team USA, including representatives in each of the last four seasons. Only once previously has two members of the LBSU program been on Team USA at the same time, 1991, when current Major Leaguers Chris Gomez and Jason Giambi patroled the left side of the infield."

Read the entire article here.

Five Dirtbags Among Baseball America's Top 50 Southern Californians In Major League Draft Next Week

Baseball America today ranks the top 100 southern California ball players eligible for the Major League Draft, which begins Monday, June 7. There are five Dirtbags on their list:

Projected First-Round Picks:

1. Jered Weaver, rhp, Long Beach State
5. Jason Vargas, lhp, Long Beach State

Second- to Fifth-Round Talent:

15. Brad Davis, c, Long Beach State

Others To Watch:

29. Neil Jamison, rhp, Long Beach State
49. John Bowker, of, Long Beach State

Here's what BA had to say about each:

"Jered Weaver, rhp

Cubs righthander Mark Prior set the standard for excellence in college pitching at USC in 2001, but not even Prior was as consistently excellent as Weaver has been this season. The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder won his first 14 decisions while averaging 13.8 strikeouts (against 1.1 walk) per nine innings, before he slipped up against Miami in his final start before NCAA regional play. He twice struck out the first 10 hitters in a game and didn't have a bad outing all year, extending a streak that began last spring when he went 14-4, 1.96 for Long Beach and continuing through the summer when he reeled off 45 2/3 scoreless innings for Team USA. Weaver is an intense competitor with an excellent feel for his craft. He can throw strikes with Prior-like precision--in, out, up, down. He is so advanced in all areas of pitching that he could hold his own in the big leagues right now. He may already be better than his brother Jeff, a starting pitcher for the Dodgers. On raw stuff, though, Weaver is a step behind Prior--and even Justin Verlander, a teammate last summer with Team USA. Like everyone at Long Beach State, Weaver pitches off his fastball, which has been clocked as high as 95 mph. He normally throws it at 91-92, but even at that speed it looks like 95 because of the deception in his delivery and his ability to locate it. His curve is just an average offering. He also throws two kinds of sliders, one with greater depth that he added just this year. While his brother is a sinker/slider pitcher and generates more arm-side movement with his pitches, Jered uses his whole repertoire much better. He also holds his velocity deeper into games and keeps his emotions in check better. Both throw from the same three-quarters arm slot. Weaver is a heavy favorite to be the first pick in the draft because he could help a big league team immediately. But he won't come cheap. He reportedly is seeking more than the $10.5 million deal Prior received in 2001....

[Jason] Vargas, lhp

Vargas has been overshadowed at Long Beach State by Jered Weaver, the projected No. 1 pick, but has commanded plenty of interest himself. In fact, his velocity has often topped Weaver's. He has been clocked up to 95 mph, a vast improvement from 2003 at Cypress JC, where his fastball ranged from 86-90. Scouts said Vargas was always capable of throwing harder, but it didn't happen until he took extra measures to tone up his 6-foot, 215-pound frame. Also an accomplished hitter, he was used more in a DH role this spring to conserve his energy. He was hitting .368-5-32 while going 7-6, 4.25 with 81 strikeouts in 97 innings on the mound. Vargas, who spent his freshman year at Louisiana State, doesn't have an especially fast arm, and there are questions whether he profiles better as a reliever or starter because he lacks a dominant second pitch. But he's a lefthander with a mid-90s fastball, and that alone should make him a sandwich pick or high second-rounder....

Brad Davis, c

As the catcher for projected No. 1 pick Jered Weaver, Davis has had ample opportunity to showcase his defensive skills. His opportunity to catch a year ago was limited because he was an understudy to Todd Jennings, a second-round pick of the Giants. He spent most of the 2003 season at first base and in right field and was the utility player on the all-Big West Conference team. Given a chance to catch regularly this season, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder evolved into an above-average receiver. With a better exchange and quicker release, his arm improved significantly and now ranks as his best tool. He hit a respectable .332, second-best on the team, but has a ways to go with the bat, and it will ultimately determine if he becomes an everyday big leaguer or a backup. Cal State Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki has gotten more notoriety for his superior bat, but some scouts prefer the more athletic Davis....

As experienced college closers, RHPs Neil Jamison and Ryan Schroyer could make immediate impacts in the minor leagues.... Jamison was a setup man before this year, when he became Long Beach State's closer. He has a bit more fastball velocity (89-92 mph) than Schroyer and has a true strikeout pitch with a plus slider. But he's pencil thin, so durability may be an issue...

Long Beach State OF John Bowker has power potential and good bat speed, and led the 49ers in hitting most of the season, though hit just six homers. His power numbers are masked a bit by spacious Blair Field. He's a redshirt sophomore due to a right wrist injury that ended his freshman season after three at-bats. He's also limited to left field, so teams that like him are drafting him for his bat..."

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Dirtbags A #2 Seed To Watch

From his article on College Baseball, Eric Sorenson writes:

No. 2 seeds to watch: Long Beach State and North Carolina State

The Dirtbags' slide has got to end sometime, right? If [Jered] Weaver gets back on his horse and Cesar Ramos stays steady at No. 2, this is still one team that could end up in Omaha. And talk about brash pitching? To beat Miami the Wolf Pack need a repeat performance of their trip to Austin where they handed Texas its first doubleheader shutout in school history. Sterry and Rodgers must stay hot because the Canes can bash.

Read the entire article here. The article was posted June 1.

Palo Alto Regional Website

Click here for the Palo Alto Regional website.

Does NCAA Have Anti-Western Bias? - Well Duh!

Great column by Bob Keisser in the Long Beach Press-Telegram yesterday (find it here):

"The NCAA didn't do any favors this week for one particular college baseball power in California.

Nationally ranked all season while playing a tough schedule featuring several ranked teams and a rigorous conference slate, this team finds itself in the same NCAA sub-regional as one of the most dangerous teams in the nation.

No sir, the NCAA didn't treat Stanford well at all.

Dirtbags fans may be bent that their favorite team once again is paired in the postseason with Pac- 10 power Stanford, for the fourth straight time, but no one stopped to ask the Cardinal whether they're a bit vexed by the bracket.

The Cardinal and Texas flip- flopped in the No. 1 spot all season, yet the NCAA seeded Stanford only fifth of the eight national seeds for the 64-team tournament that begins this week, a decision which makes one wonder if the AA in NCAA stands for something to do with alcohol.

Then the NCAA sent it the Dirtbags a team that was in the top 10 much of the season, is ranked No. 18, has one of the best pitching staffs and arguably the best pitcher in the nation, has won before on Stanford's field, and will arrive hungry for success because of recent developments.

"It's interesting,' Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers said. "Everyone's saying we got screwed being sent to Stanford, but no one has asked if (Stanford coach) Mark Marquess is happy to see us come to town.

"We heard that from Stanford last year when we met in the super-regional (despite the fact they were both conference champions and higher ranked than other super-regional pairings).'

The Dirtbags may have lost their last seven games, but this is still the same team that was playing at a .750 clip at 36-12 and ranked eighth in the nation before their series against blood rival Fullerton and No. 3-ranked Miami.

There's no shame in losing to those teams, any time, any where, any how, and the games themselves did not reflect a team that was suddenly overwhelmed or ready to quit. Quite the opposite.

Jered Weaver was one pitch away from winning the first game of the Fullerton series, Cesar Ramos took a no-hitter into the sixth in Game 2, and Miami used late rallies against the bullpen in two wins last week. In the other two losses, the Dirtbags rallied from large deficits before losing.

"We're no less of a good team because of the losses,' Weathers said. "We were in every game, and the kids know that. We're the same team that had a great year going until the last seven games. I don't feel any differently about it today than I did last month.

"It's disappointing to lose, but we're not down. I might be worried if we had quit, played poorly or were blown out, but we didn't. No matter how hard each loss was, we played well the very next game.'

Forgotten in the hubris about hosting a regional is the Dirtbags' roots. This is a team that's gone to the College World Series four times without ever playing a home game. The 1998 Road Warriors won their CWS trip on Stanford's field.

"We've all heard of it,' first baseman Mike Hofius said about the legacy. "It's part of what the program is all about. We still believe in ourselves, regardless of what happened the last two weeks.'

Weathers said one plus is that families, friends and fans can find their way to Stanford easier than if they had been shipped out to Notre Dame or Oklahoma.

That doesn't get the NCAA off the hook, however. The NCAA is nothing if not consistent in its bias against the West.

Based on its national seeding, the No. 2 seed in Stanford's regional should be a school on the fringe of the Top 25, like around 27 or 28, and not a team ranked No. 18. It would have been logical in the name of balance to send any of these six No. 2 seeds UC Irvine, Clemson, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Texas A&M or North Carolina State to Stanford.

Meanwhile, they put Arizona State, a top 10 team all year and the No. 7 national seed, in the same region as Big West champ Fullerton, the hottest team in the nation the last two months. This too is a specious West Coast rematch of a super-regional from last year.

The West can't argue about the number of teams that made the field (10) because no one else had a captivating record. But it can complain that six of those 10 teams are jammed in the only two regionals in the West (Stanford, Fullerton).

The maximum number of teams from the West advancing that can advance to the super-regionals is five, and that presumes UCLA (a No. 3 seed at Oklahoma) and either Irvine or Arizona (at Notre Dame) can post upsets.

Meanwhile, the SEC received nine bids to the tournament, six No. 1 seeds, and will host five regionals. All nine teams can advance to the super-regionals, and as many as seven could advance to the College World Series.

But as the man said, there's no bias in college baseball. Maybe the NCAA should just drop the pretense and call it the SEC Invitational.

"I don't try to figure it out anymore,' Weathers said, "and I doubt we ever will.'

Said an NCAA spokesman to Baseball America: "You have to balance the brackets. It's not perfect, as I'm sure you'll tell us.'

Yes we will, from Irvine to Malibu (Pepperdine), Tucson to Fullerton, Seattle to Las Vegas, Palo Alto to Long Beach, and all points in between."

Coach Mike Weathers Ain't Tellin' Who's Startin'

In the Long Beach Press-Telegram article quoted in my last post (mostly about Jered Weaver's draft status - the article is here), here's Coach Mike Weathers response concerning which starters will pitch when: "It's a game-time decision."

This is in the Stanford Daily today:

"Any discussion of Long Beach State starts with Weaver, who is 14-1 with a 1.68 ERA this season. Before Miami roughed him up for seven runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched last week, Weaver had not lost since last year's setback to Stanford in the second game of the Super Regional. The junior has struck out 193 in 128.1 innings of work, while walking just 18.

"He's the best player in college baseball," said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "I don't think anyone would want to face him if they could prevent it."

Stanford most likely can't prevent it this weekend, as many believe Long Beach head coach Mike Weathers will opt to save Weaver for a potential Saturday matchup with Stanford. If that's the case, Long Beach will rely on sophomore southpaw Cesar Ramos to get back on the winning track on Friday. Ramos is 10-4 with a 2.10 ERA and opponents are hitting just .220 off of him.

Marquess is leaning toward starting sophomore right-hander Jeff Gilmore on Friday and using No. 1 starter Mark Romanczuk on Saturday, citing a more favorable matchup for Gilmore against UNLV's right-handed heavy lineup compared to those of Long Beach and St. John's."

Read the Stanford Daily article here.

Jered Weaver May Not Be Picked By San Diego Padres In Draft Next Week

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:

"Jered Weaver, the ace of Long Beach State's Dirtbag pitching staff, is the No. 1 collegiate pitcher in the nation in terms of wins and strikeouts, but he may not be the No. 1 player taken in next week's major league amateur draft after all.

After months of speculation that the San Diego Padres, who have the first pick in the draft, had their sights pretty much set on Weaver, with some in the organization thinking Rice right-hander Jeff Niemann might be the best way to go, all that may have suddenly changed.

"I'd say we're leaning toward (Florida State shortstop) Stephen Drew,' Padres general manager Kevin Towers told the North County Times' John Maffei.

"There is less risk, injury-wise, with a position player,' Towers told the San Diego-area newspaper in Tuesday's editions. "And Drew is a guy who can play any position but catcher.'

Drew is the brother of Atlanta outfielder J.D. Drew, who was a former first-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, although he didn't sign and was eventually taken by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Towers, who has personally seen Weaver pitch at least twice, once at San Diego and again last month at Blair Field against Cal State Fullerton, emphasized that the final decision on who to take when the draft begins Monday is up to Bill "Chief' Gayton, the Padres' scouting director.

"Chief has a good feel for what way we're going to go,' Towers told the North County Times. "Ultimately, it's going to come down to what Chief and the scouts feel. But I like Drew.'

Gayton, it is believed, is one of those who has an eye on Niemann.

Weaver didn't seem concerned when told of the report out of San Diego.

"The Padres are going to go with the best guy,' Weaver said Tuesday following practice at the campus field. "If it's Stephen Drew, more power to him.

"I'm going to get picked somewhere, and I'm going to get to play somewhere,' Weaver added. "That's not my focus right now at all. First things first. I'm looking forward to this weekend.' "

My comment: This story may be true on its face. Or my gut tells me it may be a negotiating ploy. I just don't know. Stephen Drew is clearly an excellent player. But as a long time Padres fan, I have trouble believing the Padres would pass on the kind of pitching talent available in Jered Weaver or Jeff Niemann. We'll see in five days.

You can read the entire story here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

ESPN: Stanford Presumptive Winners Of Regional...Huh???

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram yesterday:

"What's new?" was the prevailing theme Monday for Long Beach State's Dirtbags once they learned they'd be heading to Stanford for the fourth year in a row to launch this season's postseason drive to the College World Series.

And a close second was "Oh, yeah?'

That was the Dirtbags' unanimous response to the ESPN panel's on-the-air presumption that high-and-mighty and No. 1- ranked Stanford and Notre Dame would make a "national championship-type Super Regional.'

My comment: I'm guessing that the Red Pine Trees are NOT taking victory over the Dirtbags for granted. In fact, if you read some of what's online, you would have to conclude that the Cardinal would have preferred to have a different #2 seed. Take a look here.

That's the way the ESPN boys see it, even if the Super Regionals are next week.

"Stanford and Notre Dame have it all locked up, right?' Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers said, sarcastically, as he and his staff and players took in the televised NCAA selection show at Legends.

"Well,' he added with a wink, "I guess we ought to go ahead and go on up there.'...

Should the Dirtbags win at Stanford, and somebody other than Notre Dame (49-10) wins that regional UC Irvine (34-21) of the Big West, Arizona (30-24) and Kent State (35-25) are the other contenders at South Bend, Ind. in all likelihood Long Beach State would host the Super Regional at Blair Field.

In 1998....the Dirtbags knocked Stanford out of its own regional, then beat North Carolina State and Alabama as well, and ended up in Omaha, the last time they've been there.

The Dirtbags enter this postseason on a downer, and they can't even blame ESPN. They've lost seven games in a row, their longest skid in 16 years.

"The losses have certainly hurt us,' Weathers said. "That's why we're not hosting (a regional).

"But,' he added, "it would be different if we played poorly. We didn't. And I think having to go back to Stanford, and not getting a lot of respect, have really juiced up our guys.'...

Read the entire article here.

Three Dirtbags, and Team, On Final Regular Season NCAA Div. I Leader Board

The Dirtbags finished the regular season in third place among all Division I baseball programs in fielding percentage, at .977. The also finish 5th in earned run average at 3.10.

Three Dirtbags pitchers finish among the leaders. Jered Weaver is first in wins (14) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.6), and third in earned run average (1.69). Neil Jamison finished seventh in saves (12). Cesar Ramos is 19th in earned run average (2.10), and 26th in wins (10).

The Beach ended up 95th in batting average (.299), but only 206th in runs scored at 5.5 per game.

Dirtbags 12th in ESPN/Sports Weekly Final Regular Season Poll

In the final regular season polls, Long Beach State fell from 11th to 12th in the ESPN/Sports Weekly Poll, 14th to 18th in Baseball America, and 17th to 19th in Collegiate Baseball. The Dirtbags final RPI, according to, was 26th best, and their ISR (same source) is 8th place.

Off To Palo Alto....Again!

Sorry for the posting hiatus. I've been busy making plans for a long drive up Interstate 5, then west to the south end of San Francisco Bay.

Well, my speculation about Long Beach landing a regional sure didn't pan out. When only two west coast regional sites were announced on Sunday I thought the selection committee was up to their usual shenanigans. I was right, but for the wrong reason. I thought, for sure, that Fullerton would be a #1 seed and Arizona State was about to be shipped to Timbuktu as a national seed. And Fullerton would be paired with Stanford for good measure.

Wrong! Unbelievably, the Titans - who were as red hot as anyone over their last 25 games - were relegated to a #2 seed behind national seed Arizona State. I don't know who got shafted worse - Fullerton or ASU!

And, of course and as usual, the Dirtbags are headed for Stanford as a #2 seed. The Palo Alto Regional is paired with the Notre Dame Regional, where UC Irvine is being sent as a #2 seed. That leaves open the possibility of a Super Regional between Long Beach State and UC Irvine at Blair Field. But that is getting way ahead of myself (and no, dear, I am not making any predictions - my wife has prohibited me from making any more predictions likely to lead to a jinx on the Dirtbags).

I hope as many 49er fans as possible can make the long drive, or short plane trip, north for the weekend. The Dirtbags have lost seven straight, but they have not been playing badly. Lately, if they had no bad luck, they would have no luck at all! Here's to putting it all together this weekend and finally leaving Palo Alto in victory!

One final note (okay, dig) at the selection committee. The west coast ended up with five teams from the Pac 10, three from the Big West, one from the West Coast Conference, and one from the Mountain West - a total of 10. Six of them have been assigned to the only west coast regionals - Palo Alto and Fullerton. With two regionals being hosted by non-#1 seeds, it is ridiculous that the far west did not get another regional. In fact, if you look at the map of the regional sites, you come away with the impression that the only place that counts in college baseball is the southeastern quarter of the country. The rest of us are just an after-thought. The NCAA needs to reform this process - but I'm not holding my breath!