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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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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

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!

posted on 6/08/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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