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Posted Articles [View Selected Article Only]

A Little Off Topic, But What's Up With MLB's Ruling On Wade Townsend

Major League Dirtbags Hot in A's - Mariners Series

No Movement On Signing Jered Weaver

Proposed NCAA Rule Changes - BAD IDEA!

Small World

Cody Evans Transfers To LBSU From Golden West CC

Justin Hall Is MVP of Northern League Championship Series

Neil Jamison And 5 Others With NCAA Eligibility, Drafted Between the 2nd and 10th Rounds, Opt For School

Kenny Maiques Has Left Long Beach State

Kenny Maiques Ranked No. 8 Prospect In 2004 Alaska League

Former Dirtbag Todd Pirdy To Be Inducted Into Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame

I May Be The Last To Know, But Dr. Dan's A Blogger

2005 Dirtbags Pitching - And More on Newcomers

Abe Alvarez is Portland Seadogs Pitcher of the Year

Greg Dobbs Homers In First Big League At Bat

Paul McAnulty Promoted To Double A

Great Article on Abe Alvarez

Former Dirtbags Jeremy Reed and Greg Dobbs To Make Major League Debuts

McAnulty A California League All-Star

Bobby Crosby Completes A Year In The Major Leagues

Former Dirtbag Kasey Olenberger An Olympian For Italy


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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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Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Little Off Topic, But What's Up With MLB's Ruling On Wade Townsend

The dynamic trio of Rice University pitchers selected in the first round of the First Year Player Draft conducted in June by Major League Baseball included righthander Wade Townsend. Townsend, following his junior year at Rice, was picked 8th overall by the Baltimore Orioles.

As the beginning of fall classes approached, Townsend and Baltimore were not getting close to completing a deal. In an attempt to leave the door open to signing with the Orioles, he formally signed an agency agreement with Casey Close of IMG and advised all parties he had done so. When he signed that agreement, he lost NCAA eligibility. He then enrolled in classes at Rice and continued to work towards his degree.

It is generally understood that under MLB rules a team loses negotiating rights with a drafted player if he returns to school and attends classes (when the school is an NCAA member). But as this article by Will Kimmey in Baseball America points out, those rules are fairly ambiguous. The purpose of the rule seems to be that negotiating rights are lost when a player returns to school and remains eligible for NCAA play.

But, noooooooooo. MLB is out today with its ruling that Baltimore has lost their negotiating rights to Townsend, and he will have to re-enter the draft in June, 2005. Here's an article by John Manual at Baseball America today. As Manual's article states, MLB has indicated it "wanted to avoid a situation where the NCAA could re-instate Townsend's eligibility while he was still negotiating with the Orioles on a contract." Yeah, right. If that was really the issue, MLB could rule that if Townsend applies to be reinstated (or if he is reinstated) that negotiating rights are lost.

The effect of this ruling is that drafted college juniors who have not come to terms with the teams that draft them must make a choice. Spend the fall flippin' burgers or hangin' out, and retain the right to sign a pro contract (with at least a little bit of negotiating leverage), or continue to get the college education that most will need for the rest of their lives. It's sad that dreams don't always come true, but most of the 1,500 or so players drafted each year will never play in the Major Leagues. For, in my opinion, absolutely no valid reason, Wade Townsend has been denied the opportunity to sign a pro contract with a Major League team because he dared to continue his education.

Townsend may sue. I hope he does. And I hope he takes MLB to the cleaners and has his right to sign with Baltimore upheld to boot. I won't hold my breath. Don't get me wrong, I think that the owners and players are both responsible for screwing up the pro game. But stupid decisions like this one are really irritating.

Major League Dirtbags Hot in A's - Mariners Series


"The A's fell from sole possession of first place and have five games to reassume exclusive control of the American League West.

The three-game weekend series against the Angels will be telling, though the A's would benefit by first taking care of business against the last-place Mariners, whose only remaining story line is Ichiro Suzuki's bid for the single-season hits record.
Well almost the only story on.
The A's took a 7-2 loss on Tuesday night and play the Mariners twice more before welcoming the Angels to the Coliseum.

After barely winning the opener, on Bobby Crosby's ninth-inning sacrifice fly, the A's watched Tim Hudson struggle...

Jeremy Reed and Greg Dobbs, both September call-ups, had five hits, four off Hudson, who said, "I don't think we have a very good scouting report on the young guys. As soon as we figure out how to pitch Dobbs and Reed, we'll be all right."...
Like music to the ears! For a couple of former Dirtbags getting their first taste of the Show this month, that really has to be nice to hear.
Ichiro, the game's first batter, doubled to right-center to ignite a three-run rally that featured run-scoring singles by Edgar Martinez and Reed. The Mariners made it 4-0 in the fourth on Dobbs' sacrifice fly..."
There sure are getting to be a lot of Long Beach State alumni populating Major League Baseball!
UPDATE: The former Dirtbags beat goes on, as Bobby Crosby hit a walk off homer in the 9th inning to give Oakland a 3-2 victory over Seattle today.

Monday, September 27, 2004

No Movement On Signing Jered Weaver

This from the L.A. Times Sunday:

"The Angels have made no progress in signing top pick Jered Weaver, the standout pitcher from Long Beach State, and the right-hander is not expected to participate in the Angels' fall instructional league in Arizona.

Weaver, the 12th pick in the June draft, is said to be seeking a signing package similar to the $10-million deal Chicago Cub pitcher Mark Prior received out of USC.

The Angels are trying to determine his value in the face of pressure from Major League Baseball to hold down signing bonuses.

"Obviously when you draft him, you'd like to sign him, get him into the system, let him work with the coaches, see what his talent is and try to prepare him for spring training," Angel owner Arte Moreno said. "It hasn't worked out that way.

"The agent is trying to get the best deal, and MLB is looking at the macro thing. For us, the question is, what kind of budget do we have?

"Looking at your money, are you going to pay someone this amount who has never played, or sign a free agent? We're trying to line up the numbers.

"We knew what kind of neighborhood he would be in when we drafted him, but it has to be a good deal for the player and the organization."
These are some strange comments. Who is negotiating...the Angels or MLB? And what does pressure from MLB have to do with Jered's value? While that pressure might end up affecting the Angel's negotiating stance, it has nothing to do with value. It also was no secret what Scott Boros would be asking for on behalf of Jered, that's why he slipped all the way to the 12th pick in the 1st round. Now Anaheim is talking about "what kind of budget" they have, and whether they should sign a free agent...presumably instead of Jered.

I don't presume to know how much Jered should be signed for. But these are some very strange comments from the Angel's owner.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Proposed NCAA Rule Changes - BAD IDEA!

The NCAA Championships/Competition Cabinet has approved recommendations to the NCAA for some very dramatic changes in the Division I baseball rules. The recommendations are in this document. In summary, here are the changes:
1. If adopted, these rule changes would go into effect for the 2006-2007 academic year.

2. Spring practice would not begin until 2-1.

3. Games could not begin until 3-1, or the previous Friday if 3-1 is a Sat, Sun, Mon or Tue.

4. The maximum number of games would remain at 56.

5. The current 132 day baseball season would remain. Days not used in the spring can be used in the fall during Sept., Oct. and Nov. The maximum number of fall days for practice and/or competition would be 45.

6. Practice and competition in December and January would be prohibited.

7. The post-season would be pushed back 1 week, while keeping the existing playoff structure.
The push for these changes has come from schools in the northern U.S., where weather currently dictates that they play on the road the first several weeks of the season.

It seems likely that if adopted there will be many weeks during the season with 2 weeknight games and/or at least 1 double header on the weekend (and 4 game series). College baseball would change in many ways, not the least would be the importance of pitching depth as the same number of games are played in 3 fewer weeks. Expenses are likely to rise, as schools have to foot the bill for room and board when games continue after the end of the academic year.

In my opinion, if adopted these rules will do substantial harm to the Dirtbags program. Fewer games will be played on the weekend, resulting is lower ticket revenue (since weeknight games are not as well attended). It's also bad for student-athletes, as they try to study while often playing 5 games per week between March and May.

I certainly hope the NCAA rejects this proposal for the bad idea it is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Small World

This entire post fits in the category "I digress."

I went to the San Diego Padres v. L. A. Dodgers game at Petco Park last night. As a native San Diegan, and life long Padres fan, folks in Long Beach and the greater L.A. area will have to excuse my eternal hope that the Dodgers lose every game - no matter who the opponent! Guess this just ain't my year.

Anyway, I wore my Dirtbags jacket and as I waited in line at the turnstill I heard a voice behind me yell "Long Beach State...Dirtbags...alright." I turned and met Scott, who was there with several friends in Dodgers jerseys. Turns out Scott is a member of the grounds crew at Blair Field. I told him in all honesty that I have been to most of the ballparks in the Big West Conference, and the Blair Field grounds crew is the best I've seen.

Probably most readers have seen Jeff Weaver pitch before, but I hadn't until last night. Unfortunately for him, he got shelled (didn't break my heart...see above). I have read this before, but I have now seen with my own eyes how similar Jered Weaver's delivery is to his brother's. From the stands, considering their physical similarity, and the similarity of their deliveries, it would be hard to tell them apart. As my wife pointed out, it doesn't seem like Jeff disguises his delivery quite as well as Jered does, though.

Final score: Padres 9, Dodgers 4. Final question: Why the heck did the Padres pitch to Beltre in the first inning!!!??

Cody Evans Transfers To LBSU From Golden West CC

Cody Evans, 2004 First Team All Conference (Orange Empire Conference [JUCO]) starting pitcher, has transferred to Long Beach State. Dr. Dan spilled the beans here, where he writes:
Moping up some baseball stuff. Last week mentioned a mystery pitcher from an Orange County; he is Cody Evans, a Weaver-built 6-4 righty from Golden West CC.
According to the Golden West College site here:
Evans will move over to Long Beach State, after posting a 9-2 mark with three saves. He struck out 74 batters in 84.2 innings and walked only 18 with an ERA of 2.98.
Cody pitched this summer for the Contuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League, where he went 1-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 9 games (all starts). In 51.1 innings, he struck out 41 while walking 16. The righthander is listed on Contuit's site (here) at 6'5", 195 lbs.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Justin Hall Is MVP of Northern League Championship Series

Former Dirtbag Justin Hall has been named the MVP of the (independent) Northern League Championship series.

In his senior year (1998) at Long Beach State, Justin played shortstop, his .315 and was named all Big West Conference. He was drafted by Oakland, and spent four years in their minor league system - mostly at Class A, but including one game at AAA.

Playing this year for the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League, Justin hit .326. He hit .428 in the five game Championship Series to earn Most Valuable Player accolades. Here's a story on the deciding game, in which the Saints came from behind in the ninth inning to win.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Neil Jamison And 5 Others With NCAA Eligibility, Drafted Between the 2nd and 10th Rounds, Opt For School

It has now been more than three months since the Major Leagues conducted the 2004 First Year Player Draft, and school is back in for drafted players who did not sign and have NCAA eligibility remaining. With Neil Jamison deciding to return to Long Beach State, declining to sign with the Mets (who selected him third in the 8th round), I was curious how many other players have made the same election.

There remain six unsigned 1st round players: Justin Verlander, Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend, Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew (picked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 12th and 15th, respectively). All were college juniors last year, and since baseball is a spring sport, it is likely all could return to school if unsigned. This is highly unlikely, and has rarely occurred with 1st rounders (though Drew's older brother played independent ball and went unsigned).

Every player selected in the Supplemental 1st round, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds, has signed. Between the 4th and 10th rounds, there are only 16 unsigned players. Of these, 6 are high school players, 1 is a JUCO player, 1 was with the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, and 8 are college players (2 of whom were seniors). Most (if not all) of the unsigned high school players are headed to college, and the JUCO player comes under the draft-and-follow rules. It also seems likely the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy player will end up in pro ball.

That leaves the 6 college players with remaining NCAA eligibility (links are to stories reporting their decisions to return to school):
Player         Pos. Round Taken by   College

Seth Johnson 2b 7th Baltimore Texas
Buck Cody lhp 7th St. Louis Texas
Neil Jamison rhp 8th NY Mets Long Beach State
Jimmy Shull rhp 8th Arizona Cal Poly SLO
Justin Maxwell of 10th Texas Maryland
Steve Pearce 1b 10th Boston So. Carolina

Johnson and Cody are something of a mystery - I was unable to find any stories indicating whether they were going to return to school. I invite anyone with information on them to add your comments to this post.

It's interesting that both 8th rounders who declined to turn pro, Neil Jamison and Jimmy Shull, are right handed pitchers in the Big West Conference (Shull with Cal. Poly).

Kenny Maiques Has Left Long Beach State

I have it from a reliable source that Kenny Maiques has left Long Beach State, and will probably be playing with a JUCO this year. Kenny had a great summer, and I wish him every success.

Kenny Maiques Ranked No. 8 Prospect In 2004 Alaska League

Baseball America has ranked Kenny Maiques the number 8 prospect in the Alaska League. Kenny pitched in 10 games (1 start) for the Alaska Goldpanners. He went 2-0 with 3 saves, over 24.2 innings, posting a 2.19 ERA. Baseball America had this to say about him (no link as it is not on the free portion of their site):
...He was overpowering at times this summer with a fastball that peaked at 95 mph and a hard, biting slider that consistently registered 83-84. But he needs to develop better command and repeat his delivery with his breaking ball...
He was also enlisted to play for the Mat-Su Miners in the NBC World Series. Out of 46 teams, Mat-Su came in second, losing to the Aloha Knights. Kenny pitched 4.1 innings in 2 relief appearances, going 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

Former Dirtbag Todd Pirdy To Be Inducted Into Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame

Todd Pirdy, Napa High School's head baseball coach, was once a standout at Napa High and Napa Valley Junior College. Graduating from Napa High in 1989, he played for NVJC in 1990, and according to the Alaska Goldpanners (where he played that summer) website (here):
The California Junior College "Big Stick Award" went to Todd Pridy for his spectacular first year at Napa Valley College where he blasted 21 home runs and drove in 75 runs. The Goldpanner season proved to be more of the same. He won the MVP award as he led in nearly every offensive category
Todd then transferred to Long Beach State and played two years, and was part of the Dirtbags 1991 College World Series team. Here is a nice feature article on his induction into the Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I May Be The Last To Know, But Dr. Dan's A Blogger

Yesterday I posted a snippet from Dr. Dan's Diamond Dust as posted on the official website - giving a link to his article there. The link to the official site gives you the current article - which changes. Because Dr. Dan was kind enough to post a comment to my post yesterday, I have discovered our roving scribe is now blogging at Dr. Dan's Diamond Dust. The article on his blog (which is here) is different than the one on the official site, but it includes the information on his conversations with Don Barbara and Troy Buckley.

Oh...and he teases us in his comment here that the Dirtbags are giving a long look to an Orange County JUCO pitcher...who he does not name. Come on Dan...give it up!

Readers may already know about Dr. Dan's blog - but if not, give it a look.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

2005 Dirtbags Pitching - And More on Newcomers

Dr. Dan's Diamond Dust this week includes this tidbit (here's the link, but this link is always to the current DD):

"...More Dirtbag info gleaned from my hard work in the hors d'oeuvres line at the Weaver cocktail party....Hitting guru Don Barbara says that every offensive position will be up for grabs in fall ball but pitching genius Troy Buckley will rest his ace Cesar Ramos this fall and look for the rest of his 2005 starting rotation from Jamison, Anderson, Andrade, Villalobos plus a hard throwing Santa Clara transfer. Runners up will be set-up guys and closers..."

That "hard throwing Santa Clara transfer" is apparently Jared Hughes, rhp, formerly with the Santa Clara University (according to Baseball America here). As a freshman at Santa Clara this year, Hughes made 6 appearances (all starts) with the following stats: 0-1, 4.79 ERA, 20.2 innings pitched, 12 strikeouts, 13 walks, 9 wild pitches, 5 hit batters, and opponents batting average - .269. As his bio on the Santa Clara website notes, he is a hard thrower (though his other stats would indicate that he needs to work on his control):

"High School Information: A 2003 graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita...played baseball for coach Mike Borowski...has a 14-9 career record...advanced to the CIF quarterfinals during his sophomore year...led team to the finals his junior year, and semi-finals his senior year...playoff record was 5-0...named all American senior year with a 96 MPH fast ball...clocked over 50 hours of Christian service in high school...ranked as the top prospect in multiple area code games, the ABA tournament, and Perfect GMC Wood bat...played against Japan at the Goodwill Series in 2002.

Personal Data: Born on July 4, 1985 in Stamford, Conn...son of Bill and Barbara Hughes...has three sisters named Kelly, Becky, and Jenny...currently an undeclared Business student...Dad played basketball and baseball in college...Grandfather played baseball at North Carolina and in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization...hobbies include computers, fly-fishing, and going to the beach."

Baseball America also reports that Oklahoma infielder Kyle Bradbury, has transferred to Long Beach. He saw limited action last year, batting .133 in 17 games (6 starts), and 30 ABs. I couldn't find much more on him.

Now on to the statement that "every offensive position will be up for grabs." To that I say, yeah, right! I do think that things are more wide open than they have been in a while, but I really don't think that Troy Tulowitzki needs to worry whether his name will be in the starting lineup. Ditto Danny Mocny (unless he falls off his performance last summer, this season and this summer). If you make those two exceptions, then the "up for grabs" comment makes more sense.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Abe Alvarez is Portland Seadogs Pitcher of the Year

Abe Alvarez, drafted out of Long Beach State last year, has been selected as the Class AA Portland Seadogs (Boston) Pitcher of the Year for 2004. Abe made a spot start for the Boston Red Sox on July 22, 2004. He was selected to the Eastern League All-Star Game, and was the youngest Portland Seadog to win 10 games in a season. Abe went 10-9, with a 3.59 ERA, striking out 108 in 135.1 innings pitched. Well done! Take a look at season notes on the Portland Seadogs here.

posted on 9/14/2004 by Jeff Agnew

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Greg Dobbs Homers In First Big League At Bat

Former Long Beach State Dirtbag Greg Dobbs homered in his first Major League at bat after being called up by the Seattle Mariners. This from (read the entire article here):

"...Rookie infielder Greg Dobbs made a big impact in his Major League debut for Seattle driving a 3-2 pitch from Bob Wickman into the right-field bleachers, making him the first Mariner to homer in his first big league at-bat.

"It's more than you can ask," Dobbs said. "My first big league at-bat, I'm not expecting much. I'm just trying to make solid contact there. I knew (Wickman) had a solid cutter and I just keep fighting them off and he threw me a fastball there at the end and I got enough of it to get it out."

"You don't see that very often," Melvin added. "It's a loss, but it's a very exciting day for him, a special day for him."..."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Paul McAnulty Promoted To Double A

This from the North County Times (read the entire article here):

"For four Storm players, Monday's bus ride home from Stockton didn't represent the end of their 2004 season. After the Storm lost their final regular season game Monday and missed out on a playoff berth by one game, outfielders Paul McAnulty ... were informed they had been promoted to Double-A Mobile (Ala.).

The BayBears are in the Southern League playoffs and open today against Birmingham (Ala.).

"It's a nice honor for them," Storm manager Rick Renteria said. "They'll go up there, try to help them and have some fun."

McAnulty, the Storm's team MVP and a California League postseason All-Star, said it was an exciting opportunity he didn't think he would get.

"I thought I'd be on the beach by now," he said as he waited for the players' flight to Alabama. "Instead I'll be on a baseball field, which should be awesome.""
Presumably the Long Beach.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Great Article on Abe Alvarez

This is the beginning of a long, and great, profile article on Abe Alvarez (drafted out of Long Beach State in 2003) on (read the entire article here):

"PORTLAND, Maine -- The national anthem ends. He picks up his hat from the dirt, places it upon his bushy black hair, and deliberately turns the flat-billed cap nearly 45 degrees to the left.

He steps onto the pitchers mound as those who have never met him instantly form opinions.

Probably cocky. Likely arrogant. No doubt he's disrespecting the game.

Based solely on appearance, Abe Alvarez is judged.

But the strangers are wrong.

The 21-year-old minor league pitcher hears the bashing on the radio broadcasts and the heckling from the stands, and he brushes it off like a veteran, seeming almost amused by the ignorant, inaccurate stereotypes.

"I'm not worried about the way I look or the way people look at me," he said. "They probably think I'm weird or some wacko or something, but they're not going to be someone close to me, so it shouldn't matter."

He makes his presence known on the field for the Portland Sea Dogs -- the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox -- and keeps to himself when he steps off it. "A speak-when-spoken-to kind of guy," described one teammate.

So it's not often Alvarez opens up about the poverty he grew up in. The robberies, the food shelters, the dangerous neighborhoods.

Never does he bring up the fact that he became the fastest player in organization history to move from short-season Single-A ball to starting a game in the majors.

And rarely will he bother to give the reason why he wears his hat to the side.

Unless you took time to look past his crooked bill, you would never know Abe Alvarez is legally blind in his left eye.

And you would never know Abe Alvarez.

Only then would you realize that baseball really doesn't need a guy like him.

It needs one on every team..."

Former Dirtbags Jeremy Reed and Greg Dobbs To Make Major League Debuts

From (read the entire article here):

"Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President and General Manager of Baseball Operations Bill Bavasi announced today that the Mariners have recalled RHP Aaron Taylor and INF Greg Dobbs, and selected INF Mickey Lopez and OF Jeremy Reed. All but Taylor will be making their Major League debuts. To make room for Reed and Lopez on the 40-man roster, LHP Eddie Guardado and RHP Joel Piniero were transferred to the 60-day disabled list...

Dobbs, 26, started the season with San Antonio, hitting .325 (66x203) with 25 runs scored, 14 doubles, five home runs, five stolen bases and 34 RBI in 51 games. He was promoted to Tacoma on June 17, and hit .271 (69x255) with 28 runs, nine doubles, 2 triples, eight home runs, five stolen base and 31 RBI in 67 games...

Reed, 26, was acquired from the Chicago White Sox with Miguel Olivo and Michael Morse in exchange for Freddy Garcia and Ben Davis on June 27. Reed hit .305 (71x233) with 40 runs, 10 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 13 stolen bases and 36 RBI with Tacoma. He hit safely in 19 of 20 games from July 22-Aug. 11, including a season-high 12-game hit streak."

And here's an article at

Monday, September 06, 2004

McAnulty A California League All-Star

From the North County Times (read the entire article here):

A player without a position at the start of the 2004 season, Paul McAnulty ended up being one of the Storm's most indispensable parts.

McAnulty was named to the California League's postseason All-Star team Friday, adding to an award-filled season that last week saw him earn the Storm's MVP award. The left fielder was the only Storm representative on the 14-player team.

"To be named as an outfielder in my first year out there, I take that as a great compliment," McAnulty said.

McAnulty had played just four games in the outfield in two previous professional seasons, and didn't make the transition from first base to left field full time until July. While his defensive play improved quickly, it was his bat that made the writers, broadcasters and official scorers who voted take notice.

Entering a season-ending series Friday at Stockton, McAnulty was hitting .297 and was among the Cal League leaders in home runs (23), RBIs (84), doubles (35), on-base percentage (.403), slugging percentage (.525), extra-base hits (61) and runs scored (96). Perhaps more impressive, his offensive output came for a club that was last in the league in runs and third to last in batting average but still battling for a playoff spot.

"I've always thought he had a good swing," Storm manager Rick Renteria said. "He approaches the baseball very well. If he does that, he's going to continue to move (through the minor-league system)."..."

Paul was drafted out of the Long Beach State in 2002, where he played first base.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Bobby Crosby Completes A Year In The Major Leagues

Thanks to Shirl for pointing me to this article from the Sacramento Bee (read the entire article here):

"A year of hard lessons

A's fans mourned Miguel Tejada's departure, but rookie replacement Bobby Crosby is excelling

By Tim Casey -- Bee Staff Writer

With two friends in town Aug. 30, 2003, Bobby Crosby anticipated a fun Saturday in Las Vegas. They would watch Crosby play shortstop for the River Cats against the 51s.

Afterward, they all would enjoy the Vegas night life.

During the game, River Cats manager Tony DeFrancesco took out Crosby. He asked Crosby if he was prepared for the playoffs.

Of course, Crosby replied. He could not wait to help the River Cats win the Pacific Coast League championship.

A straight-faced DeFrancesco told Crosby he would not participate.

"I was like, 'I'm not going?' " Crosby said. "That's (not right)."

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The joke soon ended. DeFrancesco told Crosby the A's wanted him to catch the first flight to Oakland that evening.

Crosby rushed into the stands. He hugged his parents. He told his buddies, sorry, he could not join them on the Strip. They understood.

Crosby, who grew up a fan of the Bash Brothers and the A's playoff teams from 1988 to 1990, was finally a major-leaguer.

"That was one of the best days of my life," Crosby said.

Today is the one-year anniversary of Crosby's first regular-season game in an Oakland uniform. He has replaced former Most Valuable Player Miguel Tejada and helped keep the A's atop the American League West. He is one of the leading candidates for the A.L. Rookie of the Year and has the ability to become an All-Star..."

Former Dirtbag Kasey Olenberger An Olympian For Italy

Thanks to Niall and Sean for passing this one on. Kasey Olenberger, who pitched for Long Beach State and graduated in 2001, played on the Italian Olympic baseball team in Athens. Take a look here on And at this article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

"Ex-Piner, SRJC pitcher Olenberger glad for role in games

Monday, August 23, 2004


ATHENS - Kasey Olenberger, a Piner High and Santa Rosa JC product, has experienced his Olympic moment and although he won't be coming home with a medal, it's something he'll never forget.

"Everything that's gone on here, it's been fun, the (Olympic) Village and everything, it's been a great experience," Olenberger said. "It could have been a bit better, baseball-wise. We should have played a little bit better."

Olenberger started and was the losing pitcher in last Wednesday's 10-4 defeat to The Netherlands. In his only Olympics appearance, he struck out four and gave up six earned runs on eight hits in 5ยป innings.

In a matchup of winless teams, the Italians lost, 12-7, on Saturday against Greece, and then bowed out of the tournament on Sunday with a 5-0 loss to Cuba. The Italian team finished the Games tied with Greece with a 1-6 record. Italy's only win was over Chinese Taipei, 5-4.

Olympic eligibility rules state that a player must have at least one grandparent native to the applicable team's country, so Olenberger made it because his grandmother in Santa Rosa is the last of the family to be born in Italy.

Getting ready for Olympic baseball wasn't Olenberger's biggest hurdle. It was the Italian language.

"I can get by over in Parma (the team's home base), but the language overall is difficult," he said.

Eight teams started the Olympic tournament, including Greece, a first-time entrant and in the mix because it is the host country. The USA team failed to qualify. But just as the Italian team is made up primarily of Americans of Italian extraction, the host Greek squad also has only two native-born players, with the rest being Americans of Greek heritage.

Olenberger's parents, Larry and Mary Olenberger, live in Santa Rosa. Larry Olenberger is a former baseball coach and currently a scout for the Anaheim Angels.

Olenberger graduated in 2001 from Long Beach State with a degree in communications. He pitched and played outfield at SRJC, and was a pitcher at Long Beach.

The Greek facilities impressed Olenberger.

"The fields are awesome," Olenberger said. "This is great, to be back in a stadium. Our home field in Parma (Italy) is nice, but if you go to some other fields, it's not as built up as this. I heard before the Olympics that these would be the best fields in Europe."

The Olympic Baseball Center was built on the grounds of the old Athens airport in 2001. There was a long-time American air base there as well, so a couple of old fields were refurbished into state-of-the-art facilities.

The main baseball stadium seats only about 7,500, but it is a world-class ballpark that could easily be expanded. Just next door is a comparable softball facility.

Olenberger said he understood a Greek win would be good for the nation's baseball program.

"I would hope so," he said. "It would be a shame to have these fields go to waste. (Greece) is still a good team. They're trying to save face just like we are; they don't want to get shut out here. It's hard when you have worked so hard.""