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]

Same Ol' Abe Alvarez

Will Angels Bail On Jered Weaver Deal?

Dirtbags Sweep Aztecs

When All Else Fails......

Former Dirtbag Bobby Crosby On Public Speaking

Bob Keisser On The Aztecs

Angels Reportedly Offer Jered Weaver Nearly $7M

FYI Department

San Diego State Coming In

Beach Falls Out Of NCBWA Rankings

Dirtbags Fall To 22nd In Sports Weekly/ESPN Poll

Steve Velazco To Appear On Mike Weathers Show

Dirtbags Fall Out Of BA And CB Rankings

That Was Ugly!

Offense Sputters Again

Jered Weaver....The Saga Continues

Weather Not Looking Good

Will He Or Won't He...The Jered Weaver Saga Continues

Troy Tulowitzki Has Surgery Yesterday

Making The Rounds On Upcoming Series Against Cal - Starting Pitching Re-Shuffled

Sounds To Me Like The Angels May Be The Last To Know Whether They Will Sign Jered Weaver

Cal. Bears On Deck

Hometown Paper Feature On Former Dirtbag Chad Bentz

Did You Catch The Chuck Sindlinger Interview?

Neil Jamison Named Best Fielding Pitcher In College Baseball

Chuck Sindlinger To Be Guest Player On The Mike Weathers Show

More Rankings Updates

Long Beach State Falls To 22nd In Collegiate Baseball Rankings

Dirtbags Drop In BA Rankings - Troy Tulowitzki Reportedly Has Surgery To His Wrist

Dirtbags Come Up Short Against USC

Troy Tulowitzki May Not Play Until April

Game Tonight At USC Postponed

More On Dr. Maxson's Retirement

Bob Keisser's P-T Piece

Former Dirtbag Jason Giambi Apologizes

Cesar Ramos and Neil Jamison Named To 2005 Roger Clements Award Watch List

I Don't Want To Be Picky, But Buy A Map!

Neil Jamison Appears On The Weatherless Mike Weathers Show

Next Up: University of Southern California Trojans

Weaver Info Patrol

Dr. "Fighting Bob" Maxson Leaving Long Beach State

Injury Update - Tulowitzki, Boatright

Jered Weaver Update From The LA Times

Update In The P-T

Dirtbags Move To 15th In NCBWA Rankings

Eric Sorenson's Big West Preview

Long Beach State Moves To 12th In Coaches' Poll

Paul McAnulty No. 10 Prospect For Padres


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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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Monday, February 28, 2005

Same Ol' Abe Alvarez

If you thought that Major League Baseball would change former Dirtbag Abe Alvarez, think again! The angle is right, but how did he get that salt and water stain look in just one start with the Red Sox? Inquiring minds want to know! Hat tip to Lynne for pointing me to this one.

Will Angels Bail On Jered Weaver Deal?

Thanks to Rich Lederer for email pointing me to this from the Orange County Register:
Still slightly more than $2 million apart in negotiations with first-round pick Jered Weaver, the Angels are giving indications they might soon shelve the talks. Team executives indicate they might let Weaver re-enter the draft on June 7
This means one of two things. Either it's literally true, or it's "end game" negotiating. The Detroit Tigers used a similar tactic before signing Justin Verlander, the second pick overall in the 2004 draft.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Dirtbags Sweep Aztecs

Article links:
Friday: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
SDSU Website
Box Score

Saturday: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
SDSU Website
Box Score

Sunday: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
SDSU Website
Box Score
I will never look this gift horse in the mouth, but the first two games were an oddity. In a pair of 2-1 victories over the San Diego State Aztecs, the Dirtbags scored exactly zero earned runs. After the win Friday, Steve Valazco said it best (in the Long Beach Press-Telegram):
"We'll take a win any way we can, even if it is ugly and not what you'd call a classic Dirtbag game"
...The pitch to Brandon Godfrey that led to both Don "Herman" Barbara and Mike Weathers being ejected on Saturday was between the shoulders and letters high. I suspect what angered the coaches, and certainly the faithful in the stands, was the umpire's inconsistency. In the previous inning or two, the ump called similar pitches balls when Marco Estrada was on the mound. After the pitch leading to the ejections, Herm told the umpire the ball was high. The diminutive ump, apparently suffering from a Napoleon complex, told him to get back in the box (at third), to which Coach Barbara "politely" told the little guy that the ball was f*%&ing high. At which point Herman got tossed. That brought Mike Weathers bolting from the dugout (or as much as Coach Weathers bolts). He repeated Coach Barbara's complaint, then berated the ump for not tossing him....until he was ejected.

...The Dirtbags 5 game losing streak was not the only string snapped this weekend. The win by Marco on Saturday ended a run of 3 consecutive Dirtbags wins by relief pitchers with starters getting no decision. You have to go back to February 4 against St. Mary's, when Cesar Ramos got the win. On the 5th and 6th, Neil Jamison was credited with the victories on late runs by the Dirtbags. On Friday, Brian Anderson got the win after he pitched a scoreless 9th, and the Dirtbags scored 2 unearned runs in the bottom half for the victory. Then the Beach started their 5 game losing streak.

...The win Friday was Brian's first since April 8, 2003, against UCLA. He earned his first save of the season yesterday, going 1.2 innings, giving up no hits, runs or walks, and striking out 1.

...Coach Weathers really shook up the lineup yesterday. Freshman Zach Barger saw his first action as a Dirtbag, starting in left field and going 1 for 3. He looks to be a good line drive hitter, making good contact in his at bats. Evan Longoria moved over to 3rd, and freshman Donnie Ecker started at shortstop for the first time...and hit leadoff. Senior Cole Jacobsen started at 2nd. The moves seemed to have the desired effect, as the Dirtbags tallied 11 hits and 6 runs (5 earned). Most importantly, the first 4 batters, Donnie Ecker, Chris Jones, Brandon Godfrey, and Sean Boatright (who DH'ed for the second day in a row after returning from his hamstring injury) came through in a big way. Donnie went 1 for 2 (a double), had a sac hit, and scored a run. He was also hit by a pitch, and stole a base. Chris went 3 for 5 (including a double), with 2 RBI and scored a run. Chris also stole a base. Brandon Godfrey also doubled, while going 2 for 4, driving in 2, and scoring 2. All Sean did was go 3 for 5 (also including a kind of broken record) with an RBI. We haven't seen this kind of production from the top of the order since the ASU series.

...When Donnie Ecker was hit by a pitch, it must have barely grazed his jersey or the umpire imagined it. At first Donnie didn't seem to comprehend that the ump had awarded him 1st on the HBP.

...Former Dirtbag Tim Hutting was in attendance...he's off to spring training in a week or two.

...Word is a new offer from the Jered Weaver camp may be put on the table today. I sure hope this gets done soon.

...San Diego State has been a light hitting team this year (they came in .284 as a team). But before this weekend, they had averaged 4.8 runs per game. Long Beach State pitching was stellar shutting them down. The Aztecs managed just 3 runs for the series (2 earned). As much as the Dirtbags have struggled scoring runs, I have to tip my hat to SDSU's starters on Friday and Saturday, Bruce Billings and Alex Hinshaw. Each went 8.0 innings without giving up an earned run. But for 2 errors, each good for 2 runs, each starter might well have been credited with a win, and with the Aztecs taking 2 of 3 in the series.

Friday, February 25, 2005

When All Else Fails......

Former Dirtbag Bobby Crosby On Public Speaking

Hat tip to Hank over at the 49er Sports message board for pointing to this article in the San Francisco Chronicle on former Dirtbag, Oakland A's shortstop, and American League Rookie of the Year, Bobby Crosby. The entire article is a good read, but I enjoyed this part:
Crosby enjoyed a busy winter as a result of his high-profile award. Most memorable, he said, was a 20-minute speech he gave at his former school, Long Beach State -- something on which he spent a great deal of time, and practiced while he was in the car, "with my (cell phone) earpiece in so people didn't think I was talking to myself."
Ahhhh, the things we worry about!

Addendum: Nice post by Bryan Smith at The Baseball Analysts on Bobby Crosby, comparing him with the Padres shortstop Khalil Greene.

Bob Keisser On The Aztecs

Here's an feature on the Dirtbags opponent this weekend, San Diego State, from the Long Beach Press-Telegram today:
Aztecs aren't hiding out

SDSU has already faced tough preseason schedule.

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Despite his team's record, Tony Gwynn is enjoying himself.

His transition from baseball star with the San Diego Padres to baseball coach at San Diego State has essentially been what he expected it to be a lot of hard work but the chance to make an impact in college baseball at his college alma mater.

He also knows who to blame for his team's 2-8 record coming into tonight's three game series with the Dirtbags at Blair Field the head coach.

The former Poly two-sport star booked an adventurous 2005 schedule after winning the Mountain West Conference (MWC) regular season title in 2004 but not getting a bid to the NCAA tournament. The tournament selection committee, historically biased against West Coast baseball, said the MWC was weak by its standards.

So Gwynn went to work adding powerful nonconference games to the schedule College World Series runner-up Texas, a series at North Carolina State last week, the Dirtbags this weekend and a trip to South Alabama next weekend.

Texas swept the Aztecs in San Diego, and they were swept last weekend in Raleigh. They've also played USC and Santa Clara, will have a series against the University of San Diego in March, play USC once more and have two midweek games with defending national champ Fullerton.

"We probably bit off more than we can chew," Gwynn said. "It's just been disheartening the past three years to play in the toughest part of the country and only get one (MWC) team into the tournament, especially when you see the Southeastern Conference send nine teams to the tournament.

"It's tough to travel 3,000 miles and get spanked, but there's no question playing quality teams early in the schedule helps your confidence later. I'm not second-guessing myself. I know down the road we'll benefit."

Gwynn lost 13 seniors from last year's team as well as a few recruits who decided to sign pro contracts. He lost his entire starting rotation from 2004 as well as his closer. But thus far, his pitching has been a little better than expected and the hitting (.289 average) a little worse.

"We haven't hit at all, and we'd made a lot of errors," he said. "There have been some games we could have won, but good teams make you pay for your mistakes. The good thing is that we can see improvment in these areas."

The Dirtbags (5-6) will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak that is most notable for opponents taking advantage of Dirtbag errors. Cal scored 13 runs in last weekend's rain-soaked sweep and nine of them were unearned.

The Dirtbags have already allowed 18 unearned runs this season after allowing 22 all last season.

They'll also likely play with [errata: should be "without"] outfielder Sean Boatright, who has been slow returning from a hamstring injury, and third-baseman Danny Mocny, who injured his left shoulder last weekend diving for a ball. Including shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is out for another month after hand surgery, that makes three returning starters missing from the lineup.

DIRTBALLS: Mike Weathers will start the same trio as last weekend against Cal, Cesar Ramos (2-2, 2.74) tonight against Bruce Billings (1-1, 5.87), Marco Estrada (1-0, 2.21) Saturday against Alex Hinshaw (0-2, 9.98) and Jared Hughes (0-0, 0.00) Sunday against Andres Esquibel (1-2, 5.27). … Closer Neil Jamison is day-to-day after taking a ground ball off his forearm last week...Hughes has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings of work, and reliever Brian Anderson is holding opponents to a .077 batting average....All six Dirtbag losses have come on days when it rained. When in doubt, blame the Doppler.
If only!

Angels Reportedly Offer Jered Weaver Nearly $7M

This from the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:
Weaver update

The Angels are believed to have presented a revised total package of nearly $7 million to sign Jered Weaver, the Long Beach State standout right-hander picked 12th overall in the June 2004 draft. Weaver and agent Scott Boras had been seeking a package with a total value closer to $10 million.

"The door's wide open," general manager Bill Stoneman said. "We're still hopeful."

Chicago Cub Mark Prior received a five-year, $10.5 million deal out of USC in 2002, and Boras has maintained Weaver is similarly major league-ready coming out of college.

But a source indicated the Angels do not want to re-define the parameters of first-round signing bonuses merely to sign Weaver, and they believe the package offered is very fair.
It sounds as if the Angels are unwilling to provide a bonus out of step with the number 12 slot in the 1st round, where Jered was selected. Unless they are willing to provide some other non-bonus compensation to make up for offering only "slot" money, or Jered (and Scott Boras) is willing to sign commensorate with the 12th pick slot, the prospects of signing Jered may be dimming. Since the signing bonuses of the players taken 11th and 13th in the draft were $1.95M and $1.75M respectively, it's impossible to tell from the above how the nearly $7M is structured. IF the Angels have decided to take a hard line position that Jered will be signed as if he were any other 12th pick, they may end up having done their fans and the team a disservice by blowing a 1st round draft pick should Jered decide to re-enter the draft in June. He slipped in the draft because of signability, and they knew when they selected him that it would take more than 12th pick money to sign him.

Update: I missed this slightly earlier article in the L.A. Times this morning:
Weaver Cuts Asking Price
By Mike DiGiovanna, Times Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. - First-round pick Jered Weaver has made a significant concession in an effort to break the stalemate in his negotiations with the Angels, knocking roughly $2.5 million off his asking price.

The offer, made by agent Scott Boras this week, did not yield an agreement but could pave the way for more meaningful talks in coming days and weeks.

The former Long Beach State ace originally sought a signing package in the four-year, $10.5-million range; the Angels were countering with five years at about $6 million. The new asking price is four years, $8 million. If Weaver doesn't sign by June 7, he would reenter the draft, and the Angels would lose their rights to him.

"We're taking a mid-line position in an effort to get a deal done," Boras said Thursday. "We were hoping this would move this thing along."

Weaver, the younger brother of Dodger pitcher Jeff Weaver, was the 12th pick in June's draft after finishing 15-1 with a 1.65 earned-run average, 201 strikeouts and 19 walks in 136 innings last season. He hoped to sign in time for spring training, but the Angels entered their second week of drills Thursday without Weaver.

Many considered the lanky, hard-throwing right-hander the top college pitcher in the draft, but he fell to 12th because several teams picking ahead of the Angels would not meet Weaver's asking price.

Boras says Weaver is at such an advanced stage of development that he belongs in the class of Chicago Cub pitcher Mark Prior, who signed a four-year, $10.5-million deal — a record for an amateur pitcher-out of USC in 2001, and Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira, who signed a four-year, $10.8-million deal out of Georgia Tech in 2001.

"He can do something now that few college pitchers can do - help a major league club," Boras said. According to a source, a team picking behind the Angels in June was willing to give Weaver $10 million, and Boras is believed to be using that as leverage in negotiations with the Angels.

But as Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman noted Thursday, "When you draft a player, there's only one team entitled to make an offer, and that's the team that drafted the player."

Though Stoneman wouldn't discuss negotiations in detail, there is a prevailing sense among team executives that they have made a competitive offer to Weaver, one that would make him the highest-paid player in the draft.

Rice pitcher Jeff Niemann, who signed a five-year, $5.2-million deal with Tampa Bay after being selected fourth, has received the largest signing package. The Angels are also feeling pressure from Major League Baseball to hold down signing bonuses for first-round picks.

"We've been very fair," Stoneman said. "We remain optimistic. The door is not closed."

Boras said Weaver would be willing to sign a minor league or major league contract.

In a major league deal, the Angels could spread out the signing bonus over the life of the contract. In a minor league deal, the signing bonus would essentially be paid up front.

Boras prefers a four-year deal, because if Weaver reaches the major leagues quickly, he would be eligible for arbitration-and the hefty contracts that accompany the process-for one more year than if he were to sign a five-year deal.

"I want fans to know that we don't put a 'near-major-league-ready' label on most guys," Boras said. "That has additional value....We believe this deal would benefit the club. We feel this is a compromise."

The Angels would prefer to evaluate Weaver's major league worthiness on the field, not at the negotiating table.

"It's obvious there's one way to make your way to the big leagues, and that's to compete at the highest level," Stoneman said.

"The players determine by their showing whether they're major-league-ready."
When you put the two articles together, the Angels and Jered may be close to a deal. Time will tell.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

FYI Department

Rich Lederer, who's done such a great job following Jered Weaver (to name just one story line) at his Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat, has moved. He's gone together with Bryan Smith (Wait Til Next Year) on a new site, The Baseball Analysts. You'll find a link in the sidebar under Baseball Blogs.

San Diego State Coming In

Long Beach State Release: HTML. PDF.
San Diego State Release: HTML. PDF.
Perhaps it's not the best cliche to use, but when it rains it pours. The Dirtbags, already dealing with injuries to Troy Tulowitzki and Sean Boatright, will probably have to play without Danny Mocny this weekend. He is listed as very questionable for the series against the Aztecs after the injury to his shoulder last Sunday. And though it was previously indicated that Sean would likely be back this coming weekend, he too is now listed as very questionable as his strained hamstring has been slow to heal.

The Dirtbags play 3 this weekend against SDSU, and 1 Tuesday against Pepperdine. With the heart of the batting order out of commission, they need to leave last weekend's error-fest behind and everyone will need to step up their play. The Beach needs to build some momentum going into their series in Waco against nationally ranked Baylor (currently 8th in Baseball America) the first weekend in March.

Beach Falls Out Of NCBWA Rankings

The Dirtbags, 16th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association poll last week, have fallen out of the rankings this week after being swept by the Cal Bears.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dirtbags Fall To 22nd In Sports Weekly/ESPN Poll

Long Beach State has dropped from 14th to 22nd in the Sports Weekly/ESPN weekly poll.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Steve Velazco To Appear On Mike Weathers Show

Steve Velazco, the Dirtbags senior starting rightfielder, will be the guest player on the Mike Weathers Show this week. You can join the show live at Cirivello's Restaurant at 4115 Viking Way in Long Beach on Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., or listen on the radio (KWRM 1370 a.m., in Orange County and in and around Long Beach), or listen online.

Dirtbags Fall Out Of BA And CB Rankings

After being swept by Cal, the Dirtbags have fallen out of the Baseball America top 25 rankings for the first time since February 3, 2003. They have also been dropped from the Collegiate Baseball top 30 rankings for the first time since May 13, 2002.

That Was Ugly!

Story at
Cal. Bears website
Box Score - game 1
Box Score - game 2
The only thing more dreary than the weather yesterday was the performance by the Dirtbags, who were swept in a damp doubleheader (and the 3 game series) by the unranked California Bears, 7-4 and 3-1. Long Beach State will likely join the ranks of the unranked when the weekly polls come out. It's the first time since 1991 that California has swept the Dirtbags. Their record now stands at 5-6, the first time below .500 since the first weekend of the 2003 season when, ironically, they lost 2 of 3 to the Arizona State Sun Devils at Blair Field. So far, the high point of this young season has been their total domination of ASU on their opening weekend, when they took 2 of 3 from the Sun Devils in Tempe.

So, how bad was it? In the first game, Cal scored 7 runs, 4 of which were unearned. In game two, the Bears scored 3 runs, all unearned. In the worst defensive performance by the Beach that I have seen, they committed 4 errors in the first game, and capped it off with 2 in the second game. Add that to Friday, when 2 of the 3 Cal runs were unearned. Trust me, this did not look like the same team that finished 6th in fielding in NCAA Division I baseball last year (at .975). Their 6 errors yesterday (and 1 on Friday) brought the season total to date to 14, and dropped their fielding percentage to .967.

The 8th inning of the first game will, hopefully, be the low point of the season (though there certainly were other candidates this weekend). Brian Anderson entered the game in relief of Steve Hammond, with runners at 1st and 2nd and none out. As Cal's batter prepared to bunt the runners over, the Dirtbag fielders ran a radical shifting play...with a fielder sneaking in behind the runner at 2nd. The play worked, as Brian's throw to 2nd caught the runner in a pickle. But then Chuck Sindlinger dropped the ball in the rundown, and the runners were safe at 2nd and 3rd. Brian stuck out the next batter, but the runner at 3rd scored (unearned) on a sac fly to center field. The next batter grounded to shortstop, but reached safely on Evan Longoria's error. With runners at the corners, Brian walked the next hitter to load the bases. The inning finally ended on a pop up to short. It took 5 outs, and 25 pitches to get out of the inning. The run that scored hurt, as Long Beach had just scored 2 in the bottom of the 7th to even the score at a 4-4.

Sean Boatright made his return, albeit for a lone pinch hitting at bat. Sean came up in the bottom of the 9th in the second game with the bases loaded and 1 out (and the Dirtbags down by 2). Unfortunately, he grounded into a double play. It was good, though, to see him back in there. Hopefully, we'll see him back in the swing next weekend against San Diego State.

Is it too late to get into the bull market in health care stocks? The Dirtbags' injury parade continued. On Friday Neil Jamison was hit by a line drive in the right arm, that he picked up and threw to 1st for the final out. Fortunately, he escaped with a nasty bruise. He was unavailable yesterday, but should be back in action next weekend. Then in the first game yesterday, Danny Mocny was injured diving to field a ball. The word filtering up through the stands was that he suffered a slight separation of his shoulder. His status is listed as day-to-day.

There were a couple of former Dirtbags in attendance yesterday. Jered Weaver caught the first few innings of game 1 behind the Dirtbags dugout. And John Bowker was there with his dad and sister. John, drafted last year by the Giants in the 3rd round, is in transit today to spring training in Scottsdale.

This team will get better. With the injuries, there are a lot of guys without D-I experience playing. They are now getting that experience, and it should pay dividends down the road. But it was fairly painful to watch the lessons learned this weekend.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Offense Sputters Again

Story at Box Score.

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Dirtbags dig hole they can't escape

Ramos gives up hits, LBSU strands runners.

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

There wasn't much about the Dirtbags' play Friday night at Blair Field that their fans haven't already seen.

No. 1 starter Cesar Ramos struggled, as he did a week ago against USC, and the lineup again left the basepaths crowded with runners. Cal (4-4) built up a 3-0 lead after four innings and held on for a 3-2 win before 953.

Ramos (2-2), the left-hander who won 12 games last season and inherited the No. 1 spot in the rotation from Jered Weaver, allowed a hit to the leadoff hitter in four of his first five innings and finished the night allowing six hits and three runs. It was almost a duplicate effort from the week before, when he gave up six hits and three runs in a 4-3 loss to USC.

Meanwhile, the Dirtbags (5-4) stranded six runners in the first five innings and finished the night with seven. That makes 86 runners left on base in nine games.

"It was like last week, although we had fewer opportunities tonight," coach Mike Weathers said. "That's the alarming thing, that we're talking about the same things."

Cal's Adam Gold, who was 6-7 last season with one of the wins over the Dirtbags, allowed five hits and two unearned runs in seven innings, and closer Travis Talbott struck out four of six in the last two innings.

The Dirtbags came into the game with a .326 average, but their slugging percentage is under .400. The early season reality for the No. 14 Dirtbags is that they miss the two returning starters who were expected to be in the middle of the lineup shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is out for around five weeks after surgery for a broken bone in his left hand, and center fielder Sean Boatright, who has been idle since straining a hamstring in the season opener.

First baseman Brandon Godfrey and infielder Evan Longoria have impressed in their first season, but right now, they're being asked to hit in the 3-4 slots in the lineup a bit much for a redshirt freshman and JC transfer.

"You always look to the go-to guy in the lineup and we have to be aware that we don't have them right now," Weathers said.

"Godfrey and Longoria would be hitting elsewhere if we had Troy and Sean. It's a lot to ask a freshman to hit third."

Cal's Allen Craig led off the second with a double off the third-base bag and came around to score on a single by Jason Corder.

An error was the pivotal play in Cal's two-run fourth. James Holder singled to deep to short. Brennan Boesch's sacrifice bunt was right in front of catcher Tito Cruz, who went to second looking for the force, but his low, one-hop throw pulled shortstop Longoria off the bag.

A sacrifice moved the runners up, a groundout to short scored Holder and a single by Matt Einspahr scored Boesch.

The Dirtbags benefited from an error in the fifth to cut their deficit to 3-2. With two on and two out, Cal first baseman Holder booted an inning-ending grounder by Godfrey to load the bases, and Longoria capitalized with a full-count two-run single to left.

The Dirtbags stranded a runner at third in the first, left two in to finish the fifth and had a runner thrown out stealing in the sixth.

DIRTBALLS: Except for some soggy conditions in the outfield, Blair was in great shape considering the rain Thursday night and Friday morning. … Boatright may be held out of the series because of the damp, wet weather. … The Dirtbags have booked a series at Texas and former Fullerton coach Augie Garrido for 2006 and will also play in a tournament at 2003 national champ Rice. … Game 2 today (2 p.m.) will match the Dirtbags' Marco Estrada (1-0, 1.80) against Cal's Brandon Morrow (0-0, 8.38), and Game 3 Sunday (1 p.m.) will match Jared Hughes (0-0, 0.00) and Eric Dworkis (0-1, 10.00).
As most reading this already know, the game today is ppd. by rain. A double header has been scheduled...and hopefully will be played...for tomorrow beginning at 1:00 p.m.

...The Brian Anderson, Neil Jamison, tandem continues to shine. Brian pitched 2 (7th and 8th), and Neil pitched 1 (9th), no hit innings. Each had a strikeout per inning. On the season, neither has given up an earned run, both in 5 appearances [7.0 innings for Brian, 4.1 innings for Neil]. Opponents are batting .087 against Brian, and .143 against Neil. Neil is 2-0 with 1 save, and Brian is 0-0.

...Had the Dirtbags come from behind to win in the 9th, Neil would have been credited with a win in his third consecutive appearance. His last two appearances were against St. Mary's, in which he pitched the 10th inning on Saturday, and the 9th inning on Sunday, with the 49ers putting the winning run across home plate in the bottom half of each inning. [In each 1.0 inning of work, he gave up 1 hit, no runs, and struck out 1]. We all would have like to have seen that history repeat last night!

...With some run support, Cesar likely would have fair better. In 6.0 innings, he struggled keeping the lead runner off base, but still only allowed 3 runs (1 earned). In most college games, holding an opponent to 3 runs puts your team in position to win.

...Jamie Huizar had a good night at bat, going 2 for 3.

Jered Weaver....The Saga Continues

This from the L.A. Times (free subscription required) (hat tip to Rich Lederer):
Dodger pitcher Jeff Weaver said Friday that his younger brother, Jered, the Angels' first-round pick in the 2004 draft, was growing impatient with negotiations that have dragged on for more than eight months.

"We had similarities, but I had a different approach — I went back to school," said Jeff Weaver, who spurned a $750,000 offer from the Chicago White Sox in 1997 to return for his senior season at Fresno State and eventually signed with Detroit in 1998. "I know what it's like to wait it out. My brother doesn't want to wait."

Jered Weaver is seeking a package in the $10-million range; the Angels would prefer to pay something closer to $5 million.

Asked if Jered could just tell agent Scott Boras that he wanted to sign, Jeff Weaver said, "Absolutely. Your agent works for you — not the opposite."
Rich, at his Weekend Baseball Beat, opines that Jeff Weaver's comments may hurt Jered in his negotiations with the Angels...causing the "of Anaheim" team to harden their position, figuring Jered will cave in.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Weather Not Looking Good

Yesterday, the forecast was rain today, rain tomorrow, and chance of rain Sunday. Now it's sooooo much better....chance of thunder storms today, rain tomorrow and rain on Sunday. This keeps up and they'll have to put a dome over Blair Field!

Will He Or Won't He...The Jered Weaver Saga Continues

The internet is buzzing. Take a look:

The Los Angeles Times (free subscription required)
Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat
Ventura County Star (free subscription required)

Update: Rich Lederer (Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat) has a good discussion of the LA Times piece, and his own take.

Troy Tulowitzki Has Surgery Yesterday

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Dirtbags make the best out of a bad break

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Troy Tulowitzki was understandably a bit nervous before undergoing surgery Thursday to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand.

It's the hand that goes on the bottom of his bat, a bat that produced seven home runs, 44 RBI and a .317 average for the Dirtbags a year ago. It's the hand that goes into his glove, a glove that made him a defensive whiz last season, with just nine errors, for one of the top-fielding teams in the nation.

It's the hand that earned the Dirtbags a preseason national rank and Tulowitzki preseason All-American status, the hand the made him the sixth-ranked college junior by Baseball America and a likely first-round pick in June's amateur draft.

Minor surgery is what other people have, especially if you have a major league future. "I was a bit nervous," the shortstop said before surgery. "But I got on the Internet and did a little research, and I talked with Chuck (Sindlinger) a lot about what he went through last year.

Sindlinger, the Dirtbags' second-baseman, suffered the same kind of break to his hand last season. He missed 20 games, then went 5 for 9 in his first two games back. Tulowitzki's Net surfing also informed him that a trove of major league stars have suffered the same kind of injury and successfully resumed their careers.

Among them are Preston Wilson, Eric Hinske, Aaron Boone, Carlos Pena, Luis Matos, Kevin Millar, Erubiel Durazo and Jay Gibbons. "It's a lot more common that I thought," Tulowitzki said.

The Dirtbags (5-3), who host Cal (3-4) in a three-game series at Blair this weekend, will probably play the next six weeks without their starting shortstop. There is no such thing as a timely injury, but knowing their shortstop will likely be back for the beginning of Big West conference play is reassuring.

"The hand specialists say it's a pretty simple procedure, and the only thing he's going to have to deal with afterward is the pain," Dirtbags head coach Mike Weathers said. "Chuck came back from the injury very well."

Tulowitzki isn't sure how or when he suffered the injury. He had some soreness in his wrist and like a lot of athletes just played through it, and well. He was hitting .526 when he went down in the second game of the Saint Mary's series.

"I probably fractured it before then, by lifting weights or hitting," the shortstop said.

He will wear a short cast after surgery, one that goes up to the elbow but leaves the fingers free, and will start rehab in around three weeks.

Weathers said major league scouts naturally began buzzing around when they learned of the injury, but they told Weathers to tell his shortstop that it won't affect their opinions.

"We started the season early and a lot of scouts came out to that series at Arizona State," Weathers said. "He was so good that weekend, and they already know what he can do from last season and last summer (with the U.S. national team). It won't affect his draft status."

Evan Longoria has been playing shortstop since Tulowitzki went out and Danny Mocny moved from the outfield to third in place of Longoria. They'll probably get the most work at those positions until Tulowitzki comes back.

"You're never happy when a player goes down, but it's part of the game and you just deal with it," Weathers said. "Everyone gets beat up from time to time. The good thing is that the players have already responded well."

Making The Rounds On Upcoming Series Against Cal - Starting Pitching Re-Shuffled

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
[Mike] Weathers has adjusted the rotation this weekend. Cesar Ramos pitches the opener tonight, but Cody Evans will be bypassed, with Marco Estrada (16 strike outs, one walk in 2005) pitching Saturday and Jared Hughes making his first start on Sunday. Estrada's start last week was bumped by the rain, but he pitched four perfect innings in relief last Saturday. Hughes made his debut in relief of Evans Sunday and pitched four shutout innings. "Hughes got a chance to pitch, and he was always part of the competition for the rotation from the beginning," Weathers said. "We just hadn't had a chance yet to use him." ... Cal dropped two of three games against UC Irvine earlier in the season and is coming off a 25-31 2004 season. Cal's three scheduled starters (Adam Gold, Brandon Morrow, Eric Dworkis) are 0-2 with an ERA over 8.00 in 2005 ... Dirtbags outfielder Sean Boatright, down with a hamstring injury since the opening series, may return to action this weekend.
From Baseball America's College Weekend Preview:
No. 20 Long Beach State faces California this weekend without shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who's out five to six more weeks following wrist surgery. However, outfielder Sean Boatright's return looks probable. He hasn't played since straining a hamstring in the second game of the year.

The Dirtbags also shuffled the righthanders in their rotation. Junior Cody Evans (0-1, 2.57) is out, with fellow junior Marco Estrada (1-0, 1.80) moving up to Saturday and sophomore Jared Hughes (four strikeouts and no runs allowed in four innings) getting the Sunday duties.
From the Daily Californian:
Junior pitcher Adam Gold can look to last year's 3-1 victory over then-No. 9 Long Beach State as indication of the Cal baseball team's boundless potential and his own ability to serve as an effective ace.

His impressive one-run, 7.3-inning performance against the 49ers, however, stands in stark contrast to his first two starts this season, which have seen him get shelled against inferior opponents for a 10.03 ERA.

Traveling to face No. 20 Long Beach State would prove to be a potent test for any ballclub-especially one with no starting pitchers managing an ERA of less than 8.00.

The Bears will face their stiffest test of this young season in a three-game road trip beginning today at 6:30 p.m. against a 49ers team with a recent history of marked national success.

Cal will look to build upon its two-game winning streak over Loyola Marymount, but doing so will likely take near-perfection-and Gold's return to top form.

"I definitely think if I make the pitches I need to make, I'll be able to have a performance like I did last season," Gold said. "The problem is really that I'm just not executing pitches or hitting my spots."

Long Beach St. (5-3)-riding back-to-back 40-win seasons-showcases three preseason All-Americans in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, starting pitcher Cesar Ramos and closer Neil Jamison. Tulowitzki, projected by Baseball America to be the 10th overall pick in the upcoming major league draft, has begun the season on a torrid pace, hitting .526.

"They're one of the top powerhouses in the country," Bears closer Matt Swanson said. 'They really have an amazing pitching staff. It's going to be a big test to see how we measure up against them."

The 49ers, hitting .326 on the season, should pose a potent challenge for Cal's starting pitching. Although Gold has yet to find his rhythm, his performance has not merited a demotion, as fellow starters Eric Dworkis and Brandon Morrow have done little to overtake him, struggling with ERAs of 10.00 and 8.38, respectively.

"Guys are getting into the swing of things," Swanson said. "They're still trying to get comfortable with the roles they've been given."

The lone bright spot for the pitching staff has been its relievers, who have succeeded in righting the wayward ship on multiple occasions so far this season. Relievers Travis Talbott, Swanson and Alex Trafton have been flawless in nine combined appearances for the Bears, yielding no earned runs.

For the Cal pitching staff (3-4) to have any chance against the well balanced, high-octane Long Beach St. offense, it will likely need solid run support, a necessity which has not always been provided.

Although the Bears have scored 40 runs in seven games, the production has come almost solely from a trio of power hitters-center fielder Brennan Boesch, freshman second baseman Josh Satin and junior right fielder Chris Errecart. No other Cal starter has managed better than a .300 average.

Boesch has paced the team with a .423 average and a .692 slugging percentage. Satin (.344, 2 HR, 11 RBI), who won the position battle at second base in the offseason, has exceeded expectations, leading the Bears in RBIs. Errecart (.310, 2 HR, 7 RBI) has also shown his ability to be one of the top players in the Pac-10 conference.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sounds To Me Like The Angels May Be The Last To Know Whether They Will Sign Jered Weaver

Notes: 'Confident' about Weaver
Negotiations still going on between team, Boras
By Doug Miller /

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Spring Training workouts for pitchers and catchers were in full swing Thursday morning, and the Angels' much-ballyhooed top pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft was not there.

Jered Weaver, the brother of Dodgers starter Jeff Weaver and the 12th pick in last year's draft, is still unsigned because Angels general manager Bill Stoneman has not come to an agreement with Weaver's high-profile agent, Scott Boras.

Angels owner Arte Moreno said negotiations are going on and that he was "confident" something would get done soon. Weaver, who starred at Long Beach State, is believed to be asking for a comparable deal to that of Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, who got over $10 million when he signed in 2001.

"Bill Stoneman and Boras need to see if we can close the gap," Moreno said. "... We're real optimistic about it happening."
Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't it Mr. Moreno's money?
Moreno said he had a good working relationship with Boras, who works in Orange County and has season tickets behind home plate at Angel Stadium.

"A couple times a year, we have a couple beers and talk baseball," Moreno said of Boras, who engineered lucrative contracts for clients Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew and Derek Lowe over the winter.
Just a couple of buddies shootin'
"He's a business guy, and he probably had the best offseason of any guy in baseball."
Oh, man, you've....never mind!
Whether Boras gets more action with a Weaver signing remains to be seen. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he'd be excited if it happens but that he's too busy to worry about it right now.

"Obviously, he's a talent," Scioscia said. "I know Eddie [Bane, scouting director] and Bill positioned themselves throughout the draft and strategically made some picks with the viewpoint that they might not be able to sign Jered.

"Everyone is doing everything they can to bring him into our organization. The marketplace has been set for special talent, and the fly in the ointment seems to be common ground. It'll play itself out one way or the other."
Is that last paragraph not the height of cliche'. Okay, let me see if I understand correctly. The Angels' owner is pretty sure (in fact, "confident") that Jered will be signed. He likes to throw back a few brewskies with his pal, Boras. But when it comes to his money, Bill Stoneman calls the shots. Beside, his keester is covered with "strategic" draft picks. Okay, I understand.

It is within Arte Moreno's power and pocketbook to get a deal done, or to conclusively state that the price is too high. I wonder if he knows that.

Cal. Bears On Deck

"Official" Long Beach State 49ers pre-series release. [pdf version].
"Official" California Bears pre-series release. [pdf version].

The University of California Bears come to town this weekend for a three game set at Blair Field. Weather permitting, first pitch in Friday's matchup is set for 6:30 p.m., with Saturday at 2:00 p.m., and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. As I post this, the forecast for Long Beach is rain on Friday and Saturday, and a chance of rain on Sunday.

The Bears have gotten off to a slow start (3-4), losing 1 to Pacific, and 2 of 3 to UC Irvine. Most recently, they have taken 2 of 3 from Loyola Marymount, and come to Blair on a 2 game winning streak. Although their bats came alive against LMU, the Bears pitching and offensive numbers leave a lot of room for improvement. They've posted a team ERA of 6.57, while batting .269. Opponents have batted .305. In contrast, the Dirtbags have a team ERA of 2.79, and a team batting average of .326.

Cal's starting pitching has had an especially rough go it so far this season, with their weekend starters posting the following ERAs: Friday - Adam Gold - 10.03, Saturday - Brandon Morrow - 8.38 and Sunday - Eric Dworkis - 10.00.

But the last thing Long Beach State should do is take this team lightly. They are not as bad as they have played so far, and this may be the weekend they kick it into gear. I sure didn't coin the phrase, but I've repeated it a few times - baseball is played between the lines.

Sean Boatright may return to action this weekend. The Dirtbags have been hitting the ball well, but have left far too many on base. Sean's return, whether this weekend or next (against San Diego State) would give the offense a boost.

The 49ers will be at home for the next 7 games - 3 against Cal, 3 against SDSU and 1 against Pepperdine, before going on the road for 3 against No. 8 Baylor. Hopefully, the Dirtbags will build some momentum beginning this weekend.

Hometown Paper Feature On Former Dirtbag Chad Bentz

Take a look at this nice feature article in the Juneau Empire on former Dirtbag Chad Bentz. Here's an excerpt:
...The 24-year-old left-hander is one of only two Alaska high school players to play in the major leagues, and for obvious reasons.

With its long, harsh winters, Alaska is hardly suitable as a breeding ground for budding baseball talent. Polar bears, yes. Ballplayers, no. And bears were plentiful around Juneau, where Bentz grew up. His surprise confrontation with a bear on a fishing and hunting trip a few years ago still haunts him.

"Ever since then, I've had nightmares about bear maulings," Bentz said. "That's how I got one of my nicknames - 'Bear."'

When he didn't have his eye out for bears, Bentz was perfecting his baseball skills, even though his fellow Little Leaguers regularly teased him about his hand. [He was born with an underdeveloped right hand]. Bentz said the ridiculing and taunting almost caused him to quit at one point. But he stuck with it.

"I took offense to it when I was young," Bentz said. "But then I just started using people's insults or comments as motivation to prove them wrong. If they said I couldn't do something, I would try everything to be able to do it, just to see the reaction. It's nice to prove people wrong."....

Bentz was no slouch with the bat, either....

... Bentz still holds the Alaskan high-school record of 23 career home runs, though he essentially swings with just the left arm while using the right to keep the bat propped and balanced.

But it was at Long Beach State where Bentz became a pitcher exclusively. The Montreal Expos selected him in the seventh round of the 2001 draft, and he eventually worked his way up to the big club for the first time last season. He made his major-league debut last April in South Florida against the Marlins, retiring Abraham Nunez on the first pitch he delivered....

Did You Catch The Chuck Sindlinger Interview?

I don't know if the problem was my computer, or the audio stream, but I was unable to listen to the Chuck Sindlinger interview on the Mike Weathers Show yesterday evening (I live outside the KWRM broadcast area). If you were there in person, heard it on the radio, or were able to get the internet stream, please give us all a report in the comments to this post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Neil Jamison Named Best Fielding Pitcher In College Baseball

Baseball America has this:
Gold Glove awards recognize defensive excellence at the major league level. Through survey of scouts and college coaches, here's Baseball America's equivalent of the best defensive players at each position:
Catcher  Taylor Teagarden Jr. Texas
First Base Kyle Larsen Sr. Washington
Second Base Adam Davis So. Florida
Third Base Ryan Zimmerman Jr. Virginia
Shortstop Tyler Greene Jr. Georgia Tech
Outfield Jacoby Ellsbury Jr. Oregon State
Outfield Justin Maxwell Jr. Maryland
Outfield Drew Stubbs So. Texas
Pitcher Neil Jamison Sr. Long Beach State
Since the article is in the paid subscription area, I haven't linked to it.

Update: Rich Lederer emailed this interesting bit of baseball history: Bobby Shantz is the only major league pitcher who has won a Gold Glove as a reliever since the award was established in 1957. He won it eight years in a row - 1957 to 1960 in the American League, and 1961 to 1964 in the National League.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Chuck Sindlinger To Be Guest Player On The Mike Weathers Show

The Mike Weathers Show will feature Dirtbag second baseman senior junior Chuck Sindlinger this week. You can join the show live at Cirivello's Restaurant at 4115 Viking Way in Long Beach on Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., or listen on the radio (KWRM 1370 a.m., in Orange County and in and around Long Beach), or listen online.

More Rankings Updates

ESPN/Sports Weekly slid Long Beach State down 2 spots in their weekly poll, from 12th to 14th. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association dropped the Dirtbags from 15th to 16th.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Long Beach State Falls To 22nd In Collegiate Baseball Rankings

The Dirtbags fall from 12th to 22nd in the Collegiate Baseball rankings today.

Be careful CB, you might give yourself whiplash.

Dirtbags Drop In BA Rankings - Troy Tulowitzki Reportedly Has Surgery To His Wrist

Long Beach State dropped 3 spots to 20th in the Baseball America rankings today, after losing a pair of games to USC this weekend. BA had these comments:
Long Beach State slipped three spots to No. 20 after losing a pair of games against Southern California. It also lost junior shortstop Troy Tulowitzki until April after he had surgery on his left wrist.
And this from the Press-Telegram:
Troy Tulowitzki, the Dirtbags' preseason All-American shortstop, will have surgery this week to repair a broken bone in his wrist, Weathers said. Tulowitzki suffered the injury to his hamate bone while swinging in a Feb. 5 game against St. Mary's. [Coach Mike] Weathers said he expects Tulowitzki to miss five to six weeks of action, which means he could be ready for the start of Big West play. Tulowitzki, a first-team All-Big West selection last season, leads the Dirtbags in hitting with a .526 average. Sophomore Evan Longoria, a St. John Bosco High grad, filled the void at shortstop on Sunday.
Update: This is the same hand injury Chuck Sindlinger suffered last season, sidelining him for 4 6 weeks and 20 games. Chuck returned April 27 at Cal. Poly and went 3 for 4 with an RBI.

Dirtbags Come Up Short Against USC

Friday was a rainout. Unfortunately, that was the best result of the weekend for the Long Beach State Dirtbags. Here's links to the stories:

On the series: Daily 49er

Saturday: USC 4, LBSU 3:
Box Score
USC Webpage
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Sunday: USC 7, LBSU 5:
Box Score
USC Webpage
Long Beach Press-Telegram
I didn't make it to the game at Blair Field on Saturday (though Rich Lederer did), but was on hand at USC yesterday. A few thoughts:

...These guys don't quit! After the Trojans put 5 across in the 3rd inning to take at 6-1 lead, I got the sense they thought they would just cruise to victory. They found out otherwise as the Dirtbags scratched and clawed their way back...only an accurate throw from left field to prevent Steve Valazco from scoring on a sac fly in the 8th kept the game from being tied.

...The number of stranded baserunners, an ever present issue in this young season, reared it's head again. Yesterday, 11 runners were left on base, as the 49ers got 16 hits, drew a walk, had 2 hit batters, and USC committed 2 errors.

...An error by Brandon Godfrey in the 3rd inning proved very costly, as 4 unearned USC runs crossed the plate. The error seemed to rattle freshman reliever Andrew Liebel, as he gave up 2 hits and a walk in 2/3rds inning of work.

...USC starter Zack Kalter didn't seem to have a clue how to get Brandon Godfrey out. Brandon ended up 3 for 5 on the day, including a double.

...Jered Hughes looked good in his Dirtbags debut, going 4.0 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4. Coming on after Andrew Liebel to pitch the 4th through 7th innings, his effort kept the Trojans in check as Long Beach chipped away at the USC lead.

...Scott Bradley got the start in left field. I may be wrong, but I don't recall him ever playing in the Dirtbags outfield. He had two tough chances going back for long drives. On the first, he made an outstanding catch going back to the wall. On the second, in the fateful USC 3rd inning, he missed the catch as he slammed into the wall in left center.

...Brian Anderson continued his outstanding pitching in relief. After Steve Hammond came on in the 8th and gave up 2 hits, Brian came in with runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs. After a lead walk to load the bases, Brian allowed only 1 run to score. Not perfect, but pretty darned good.

Update: In addition to Rich Lederer, Rob McMillin of 6-4-2 - an Angels/Dodgers double play blog - made the Saturday game - and he has a post on the subject here. I've added his blog to the sidebar.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Troy Tulowitzki May Not Play Until April

I don't know if he has additional information, but Dirtbags play by play radio announcer Rod Buska said during the game broadcast today that Troy Tulowitzki may not be back in action until conference play (which begins April 1 at Blair Field against UC Riverside).

Friday, February 11, 2005

Game Tonight At USC Postponed

Thanks go to reader Joe for his comment posted here, for the heads up that the game tonight as USC's Dedeaux Field has been postponed due to rain. Here is the story at USC's website:
Friday's Game Against Long Beach State Postponed

Rain moves game to Wednesday, May 25, at 7 p.m.

Feb. 11, 2005

LOS ANGELES -- Friday's baseball game between USC and No. 17 Long Beach State has been postponed due to rain and will be rescheduled for Wednesday (May 25) at 7 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. Both teams will play tomorrow in a 2 p.m. game at Blair Field in Long Beach with Sunday's game at 1 p.m. at Dedeaux Field.
Here's the announcement at
LONG BEACH, CA-- Friday night's game between Long Beach State and USC has been cancelled due to rain. The game will be made-up on Wednesday, May 25 at USC at 7 pm. The 49ers and Trojans are scheduled to play on Saturday at 2 pm at Blair Field and Sunday at 1 pm at USC.

More On Dr. Maxson's Retirement

I tip my hat again to KDSS for pointing me to this story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and especially the photo slide show of Fighting Bob Maxson (a link directly from Dirtbags Baseball won't work, so on the P-T article page click the "see the pictures" link in the right column of the story).

And it seems KDSS is doing all the heavy lifting for me, as he points (at the 49erSports message board) to this Doug Kirkorian piece in the Press-Telegram. Thanks again!

Beloved doesn't quite seem to be enough to describe the feelings of those at, and associated with, the Beach for Bob Maxson.

Bob Keisser's P-T Piece

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:
Injuries bite 49ers

Two stars out, but Weathers confident.

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers sounds reasonably calm for a coach who, two weeks into the season, has already lost two key returning starters.

Outfielder Sean Boatright pulled a hamstring in the opening series at Arizona State and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki suffered a left hand injury last weekend against Saint Mary's. Combined they hit .321 last season while driving in 67 runs, and Boatright only played half the season.

But Weathers isn't worrying that much. The Big West season is quite a ways away and he's pleased so far with the newcomers who have helped the Dirtbags to a 5-1 record and No.12 national ranking going into tonight's game at USC (6 p.m.).

Tulowitzki saw a hand specialist Tuesday and had an MRI Wednesday that was inconclusive, so he has another MRI scheduled. But regardless of the diagnosis, the All-American shortstop is minimally out three-to-four weeks. He can't swing a bat or wear a glove without pain.

Boatright, meanwhile, took batting practice this week for the first time but isn't ready to run the bases or play in the field.

For now, Evan Longoria moves over to shortstop, a position he played last year as an all-state choice at Rio Hondo College, and Danny Mocny, last year's starting third baseman, returns to third after starting the season in the outfield.

"(Evan) is a good shortstop," Weathers said. "We planned to play him wherever we could to get him into the lineup, and he potentially was our future shortstop. And Mocny played real well the second half of last season."
Hmmmm...first I've heard that from Coach Weathers on Evan.
The Dirtbags have already discovered some gems from its new class and returnees, filling holes that became vacant after last season's stars moved on to professional baseball. Jose Hernandez has played well in the outfield, Brandon Godfrey has filled Mike Hofius' cleats at first base, and Tito Cruz and Chris Jones have played well as successors to catcher Brad Davis.

Weathers hopes to have Tulowitzki back by the end of March and the nonconference series against Cal State Fullerton, and Boatright by the series at Baylor from March 4-6.
I'm not liking the sound of this. With each announcement, the return of Tulo and Sean keeps getting pushed back.
This weekend the Dirtbags contend with USC, which is coming off two subpar seasons. The Trojans went 24-32 last season after a 28-28 mark in 2003, both seasons marred by injuries to key players.

Tonight's game has star quality, with the Dirtbags' Cesar Ramos (2-0) going against USC's Ian Kennedy, who went 7-2 last season as a true freshman with a 2.91 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 922/3 innings. Both pitchers were members of the USA National title-winning team in the summer.

DIRTBALLS: Game 2 of the series is at Blair on Saturday (2 p.m.) and will match Cody Evans against Brett Bannister, who went 8-3 in 2002 and lost the last two seasons to Tommy John surgery. The son of former major leaguer Floyd Bannister pitched three shutout innings in USC's season-opening shutout win of San Diego State on Tuesday. Sunday's game at USC (1p.m.) matches Marco Estrada against Jack Spradlin, the son of the former PGA golfer of the same name who went 7-1 with an 0.50 ERA at Southwestern College in 2004. … Kennedy also pitched an inning Tuesday, striking out the side in the ninth. … The Dirtbags have won the last three series against USC, all by 2-1 margins. … Mike Gillespie, who led USC to the 1998 College World Series title, needs two more wins for 700 in his career.

Former Dirtbag Jason Giambi Apologizes

Here's the AP story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Cesar Ramos and Neil Jamison Named To 2005 Roger Clements Award Watch List

The Watch List for the 2005 Roger Clements Award, given to the top pitcher in college baseball, was announced today. Here's the release. Dirtbags LHP Cesar Ramos, and RHP Neil Jamison are among 42 pitchers nationwide placed on the watch list. Long Beach State has the distinction of being one of only six schools with two pitchers on the list. (The others are Arizona State, Miami, North Carolina, Texas A&M and Tulane).

The honor, formerly known as the Rotary Smith Award, was renamed the Roger Clements Award last year. The 2004 winner was Long Beach State Dirtbag Jered Weaver.

Update: Here's the story at

I Don't Want To Be Picky, But Buy A Map!

This from Baseball America's College Weekend Preview this morning:
Sure, there's a lot of focus on the Houston tournament this weekend, but there's another destination also as popular with scouts and baseball fans alike: The O.C. We're not talking about the teen television drama because around here we don't say things like, "You brought him home? This is not a stray puppy, Sandy."

This, of course, is about college baseball and there will be none finer than what's taking place in Orange County, Calif., when No. 8 Washington visits UC Irvine while No. 17 Long Beach State and Southern California play a home-away-home set. Consider it an all-you-can-eat pitching buffet.
Unless the California Legislature has taken action recently, Long Beach and south central Los Angeles are not in Orange County. Okay, I am being picky!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Neil Jamison Appears On The Weatherless Mike Weathers Show

Neil JamisonDirtbags Coach Mike Weathers was a little under the - he was sick - so Assistant Coach Don Barbara sat in for him on the Mike Weathers Show Wednesday night. The guest player was Long Beach State closer Neil Jamison. Here's what had to say about Neil in the current weekly press release:
Senior righthander Neil Jamison (San Diego) has been just as good at the end of games at the start of the season, as maybe he'll be later this season at the front of games. Jamison, who is still in the plans to start this year, is 2-0 with a save in four appearances to start the year out of the bullpen. Jamison, a pre-season All-American, has yet to allow a run in four appearances, shutting the [opposition] down once setup man Brian Anderson (Aliso Viejo) pitches the eighth (0.00 ERA). Jamison has 16 career saves, third-best all-time.
Here's some of the Q&A from the radio show:

...Neil was asked by Rob Buska why he decided on Long Beach State, given the good baseball programs in the San Diego area where he's from (SDSU, San Diego). Neil said he's wanted to be a Dirtbag ever since he watched Long Beach State play in the College World Series in 1998. Turned out Troy Buckley recruited him before he ever took a recruiting trip (to Long Beach State, or anywhere else), and he had a good relationship with him from the beginning. Neil never did take any recruiting trips.

....Rob asked Neil about his pitches. Neil says his out pitch is his slider, which he started developing in high school. He also throws a fastball and change up. He says the change up has been slower in developing, but it's coming along.

...Houston Bob then took the mic...asking Neil why he decided to come back to Long Beach State for his senior year (Neil was drafted by the Mets in the 8th round). His first response was "mainly you, Houston. I came back for you, Houston." The crowd got a good laugh out of that one. Then Neil gave his serious response. That he came to Long Beach to make it to Omaha, and he wanted to come back to finish what he came to do, and he felt he could develop better spending another year with pitching coach Troy Buckley.

...Kathy from Long Beach asked if Neil played a position (other than pitcher) in high school. Neil said he was a shortstop. He said he and Tulo had announced at a dinner (didn't catch which one) that they were going to switch...Neil would play shortstop, and Tulo would close. It also sounded like he's ready to grab a bat!

Next Up: University of Southern California Trojans

The University of Southern California has a proud history in collegiate baseball. No other Division I school tops their twelve National Championships. The Trojans have had a couple of off years - they haven't won their three game series against the Dirtbags since 2001 - and they haven't played a post-season game since they were swept in the Stanford Super-Regional in 2002. [Gee, I think we Dirtbags fans know the feeling of being denied by Stanford - at least the tables were turned last season]. Long Beach State will seek to extend the streak to 4 seasons - but they will have their hands full. You can't keep USC down forever, and they have some pieces in place to get over the hump and back into the top rankings.

The opener on Friday (at USC in this away-home-away series) will feature one of the premier pitching matchups of the season in college baseball as Team USA 'mates Cesar Ramos and Ian Kennedy square off. Here's Kennedy's bio from the USC website:
Kennedy, who established himself as one of college baseball's top pitchers, will once again be the Trojans' anchor in the starting rotation...earned 2005 Baseball America Preseason All-America third team honors.

He was a member of the 2004 U.S. National Team, going 3-1 with a 3.81 26 innings, he allowed 21 hits, walked 10 and struck out a team-high 40 batters with a .219 opponents' batting average...member of the team that won the FISU II World University Baseball Championship in Taiwan...during the tournament, Kennedy earned a win against Japan (5-3)...had a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings against Japan until he was touched up for three runs (did not allow a hit until his 100th pitch)...he also played on the 2002 U.S. Junior National Team...started for Team USA at the 2002 IBAF World Junior Championships in the bronze medal game, but did not get a decision in a 12-3 win (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 10 SO).

In his 2004 freshman season, Kennedy was the team's No. 1 starter and registered a 7-2 record with a 2.91 ERA and one 92 2/3 innings, he allowed 86 hits with 31 walks and 120 strikeouts (15 starts)...earned All-Pac-10 and Baseball America Midseason Freshman All-America honors...earned the win at No. 1 Stanford on May 21 with six innings of work, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts...recorded a victory at Washington State on April 16, allowing a run in seven innings with eight strikeouts and struck out the side in the third and seventh a televised game on March 27 against UCLA, he threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings, scattering seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in the Trojans' 5-0 win...defeated No. 22 Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., with 6 2/3 innings of work (5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 SO)...earned his first collegiate save in his only relief appearance of the season on March 2 at UC Irvine, striking out the side in the ninth...struck out 10 batters in five innings in a win on Feb. 27 against No. 5 Georgia Tech at the Kia Baseball Bash in Fullerton, allowing two runs on five hits...struck out a season-high 11 batters in seven scoreless innings against Louisville at the Public Storage Baseball Classic, allowing just two hits and no walks...did not get the decision in his collegiate debut on Feb. 13 against No. 9 Long Beach State against eventual Golden Spikes Award winner Jered Weaver, allowing only one hit and one unearned run in five innings with three walks and eight strikeouts.
Here's what has to say about USC:
The Trojans opened the season on Tuesday with a 6-0 win over San Diego State... USC is picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10, according to Baseball America... star catcher junior Jeff Clement (.293, 10 homers) and Friday night sophomore starter Ian Kennedy (7-2, 2.91) are the Trojans top two players... both are projected by Baseball America to sweep the conference’s top honors... both players were teammates with Dirtbags Cesar Ramos and Troy Tulowitzki on Team USA this past summer... Kennedy is the publication’s fifth-best sophomore in the country, while Clement is just ahead of Tulowitzki on the junior list at fifth-best... Saturday starter Zach Kalter is a transfer from Pasadena City College and is the third-best newcomer in conference... last year USC went 24-32 for Mike Gillespie... USC leads the all-time series 56-26, holding just a 29-24 edge since 1989... LBSU has won the last three, three-game series.
Last season, the Trojans finished 24-32. Team batting average was .290, while they posted a 5.51 ERA.

Weaver Info Patrol

Tipping my cap right back at Rich Lederer, whose Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat provides incite into all things baseball...whether it's statistical analysis, the Hall of Fame, big league baseball contracts, or.... you name it!

Rich, a Long Beach guy, has done an outstanding job following the exploits of Jered Weaver (links to Rich's Weaver posts). When (if?) Jered comes to terms with the team formerly known as the Anaheim Angels, I'm betting Rich will be one of the first with the low down.

Sidebar: There is hope for Anaheim. Didn't Prince change his name back to Prince?

Dr. "Fighting Bob" Maxson Leaving Long Beach State

According to this article in the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning, Long Beach State President Dr. Robert Maxson, 68, will be leaving the university as soon as his successor can be selected. This may take until next October.

I wish Dr. Maxson all the best. I'm not an alumnus of Long Beach State. I earned my bachelor's degree at San Diego State University in 1979. The first time I ever saw then SDSU President Thomas B. Day was at my graduation ceremony in Aztec Bowl...along with 5 or 6 thousand others matriculating that day. I've seen and talked with Bob Maxson at Dirtbags games more than I saw some of my professors in college! Bob Maxson's engagement, rather than the more typical aloofness of other college presidents, should be a model. LBSU is going to miss him.

Update: Here's Dr. Maxson's letter to the university community (thanks to KDSS for posting it on the 49erSports Message Board):
It is with such mixed emotions that I write this message, but I do want the university community to know of my plans to retire as President this year. The Chancellor has asked me to stay until a new President is named. I will, of course.
How lucky I have been to be able to do something I love so much! I have been a university president for 25 years, and I can't imagine a better life. It has been a blessing to be able to spend my days on a campus with all the wonderful people who are attracted to intellectual life.

My life at Cal State Long Beach has been the best! I've been able to get up every day and come to this beautiful place and work with the finest people around - people I truly love. And while I am a president, I've always considered myself an educator first. As you know, I teach a class every semester, and I remain as committed to the classroom as I was when I first started as a professor in 1970.

I have also been fortunate to have a boss in Charlie Reed who makes life exciting, demanding and fun! He is a nationally recognized leader in higher education, and working with him and with the finest Board of Trustees in America has made my job so easy - it has just been icing on the cake.

While I won't be the President of Cal State Long Beach, I am not retiring completely. I do have professional plans for the future, which I will be able to talk about later. But no matter what Sylvia and I do, we will always be a part of The Beach! This has been for us, an 11-year love affair. We both thank you for your kindness and love.

Go Beach!

Injury Update - Tulowitzki, Boatright

Here's an injury update on Troy Tulowitzki from
Tulowitzki Injured, Out for Awhile: All-American shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (Sunnyvale) will miss the next three to four weeks due to a left hand injury suffered on February 5 against Saint Mary's. A hand specialist is in the process of evaluating his condition, but the star shortstop is likely out until early or mid March. Tulowitzki was batting .526 with six runs prior to the injury. Evan Longoria (Downey) will fill in at short. Tulowitzki, who entered the season with 88 career RBIs, is a first team pre-season All-American after starting for Team USA last summer and earning Regional Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2004 playoffs.
The next 3 to 4 weeks means series against USC (away, home, away), Cal (home), San Diego State (home) and Baylor (away). The Dirtbags also play a Tuesday game against Pepperdine on March 1. Let's hope Troy heals quickly...Baylor sits at #10 in the Baseball America rankings!

Sean Boatright should be back from his hamstring injury a little early. This also from
Junior outfielder Sean Boatright (Mission Viejo), who has missed parts of the last three seasons due to injury, strained a hamstring in the season opener chasing down a drive to centerfield. Boatright is likely out until the end of the month. Boatright batted .330 last season, earning all-regional tournament honors.
Prior statements from LBSU had Sean back for the San Diego State series...hopefully still the case.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jered Weaver Update From The LA Times

From the Angels Report in the Los Angeles Times (free subscription required):
Negotiations between the Angels and the representative for first-round draft pick Jered Weaver are ongoing, and although a deal does not appear imminent, the sides seem to be making progress. Weaver, the former Long Beach State ace who was the 12th overall pick, is seeking a signing package in the $10-million range.

"We're still in the initial negotiating process, talking about the market, having dialogue, exchanging proposals," agent Scott Boras said. "Everyone wants to get this resolved. Certainly, we're trying to move this forward, but you have to understand, Jered is not your typical draft pick. He's major league ready."
No time like the present! Angels pitchers and catchers are to report to spring training February week from today.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Update In The P-T

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Dirtbags to be without Tulowitzki

By Press-Telegram staff reports

The Dirtbags will be without preseason All-American shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for at least a few weeks because of the left hand injury he suffered Saturday against Saint Mary's. The junior, who is hitting .526, saw a hand specialist Monday and may have more tests later this week.

Newcomer Evan Longoria will likely be the starting shortstop in his place with Danny Mocny moving to third. Longoria played third base and shortstop at St. John Bosco High and Rio Hondo College. Mocny started 41 games for the Dirtbags at third last season and moved to the outfield at the beginning of the season to make room for Longoria.

Outfielder Tom Sarti, a junior college transfer from Sacramento, made his Dirtbag debut Sunday and had two hits and three RBI. Freshman pitcher Matt Fitts also made his debut in the eighth, allowing one hit while striking out the side. Fitts is one of five true freshman who have already played in 2005, along with outfielder Jose Hernandez, infielder Donny Ecker and pitchers Andrew Liebel and Donnie Hume.

The Dirtbags (5-1) moved up in all three college baseball polls Monday. They moved to No. 12 in the USA Today Coaches and College Baseball polls and went from No. 22 to 17 in Baseball America. The only top 25 team with more wins is Florida State (6-0).

The Dirtbags meet USC this weekend, playing games at USC Friday (6 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) and at Blair Field Saturday (2 p.m.). Friday's night matchup will be a battle of preseason All-Americans, Long Beach State's Cesar Ramos and USC's Ian Kennedy. USC opens its season today against Santa Clara.

- Bob Keisser

* The first 500 fans to Saturday's LBSU-USC baseball game at Blair Field will receive a 2005 49er baseball poster, courtesy of the Yellow Book.

Dirtbags Move To 15th In NCBWA Rankings

Long Beach State baseball moved from its 18th place ranking in the pre-season National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association poll to 15th this week.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Eric Sorenson's Big West Preview

Check out Eric Sorenson's Big West Conference preview at It includes this assessment of the Dirtbags:
Long Beach State (40-21, 14-7):

The Good News:

All American SS Troy Tulowitzki (.317-7-44), P Cesar Ramos (12-4, 2.29) and reliever Neil Jamison (12svs) are All America-types. Incoming pitchers Cody Evans (JC All Am., starred in Cape Cod League) and Jared Hughes (16th round pick in `03, Santa Clara transfer) could make up the remainder of the rotation. Defense (6th nationally in '04) has become a trademark of Mike Weathers-coached teams and will be good again.

The Bad News:

That near-sure W of pitching prodigy Jered Weaver is gone and the perennially brutal schedule once again offers no quarter for timid play.

The Intangible:

Motivation. Beach players won't soon forget the feeling they had after losing in the Super Regional round on its home field.
Last point, well said! Check out the full article, include an assessment of each Big West team.

Long Beach State Moves To 12th In Coaches' Poll

The first in-season Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll is out, and the Dirtbags have moved from 16th pre-season to 12th.

Paul McAnulty No. 10 Prospect For Padres

Baseball America, in naming former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty the no. 10 prospect in the San Diego Padres organization, has this to say about him:
10. PAUL McANULTY, of/1b Age: 24 B-T: L-R Ht: 5-10 Wt: 220
Drafted: Long Beach State, 2002 (12th round) Signed by: Jason McLeod

Background: McAnulty led the Rookie-level Pioneer League in batting (.379) in his 2002 pro debut, but followed that up with a mediocre showing in low Class A as his weight ballooned to 260 pounds. He showed up to camp last spring in the best shape of his career and responded with a breakout season. He went 8-for-17 with a homer as Mobile shared the championship in the Southern League playoffs.

Strengths: McAnulty's hitting ability is obvious. He has quick hands, developing power and an excellent feel for the strike zone. He projects to hit for average with 20-25 homers a year. He has great instincts at the plate and makes savvy adjustments from at-bat to at-bat.

Weaknesses: Other than the bat, McAnulty offers little else in terms of tools. Both his range and arm are lacking in left field, so he'll probably have to play first base in the majors. He's slow, though he runs the bases intelligently.

The Future: His build and offensive package have drawn comparisons to Matt Stairs, who has created a lengthy career for himself as a grinder who can swing the bat. McAnulty will begin 2005 at Double-A.

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