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


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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The "Oregon Dirtbags"

Two of the 8 teams in the Class A Short Season Northwest League are located in the State of Oregon - the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (a San Francisco Giants affiliate) and the Eugene Emeralds (a San Diego Padres farm team) - and each has a former Dirtbag drafted in 2005 on its roster. Neil Jamison pitches for Eugene, and Brian Anderson for Salem-Keizer. I had a chance to see each of them play at home last week. I just missed seeing Cesar Ramos - he was transfered from Eugene to the Padres full season Class A team in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Both parks are considerably smaller than Blair Field, especially down the lines. But then some folks like to refer to Blair as "Long Beach Airport." Still, each field is very different. Civic Stadium in Eugene is a mostly wooden structure built in 1938 by the WPA, and looks it. But the playing surface is very good, and it was a very pleasant place to watch a ball game (despite the 92 degrees displayed on a digital thermometer in right field at 9:00 p.m.). Notwithstanding the heat, and the park dimensions, the ball doesn't appear to carry well in Civic Stadium (Emeralds pitchers have allowed 10 HRs at home, and their batters have hit 7 through 21 home games). The same cannot be said of Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer. A much newer park (built just a few years ago), the ball carries very well (a total of 16 homers have been hit by opponents and 13 by the home team through 19 games). Of course, all those home runs keeps the volcanoe crater on top the scoreboard spewing steam each time a home player hits one out. The park is immediately adjacent to I-5, in the middle of a field being graded for future construction.

After Salem-Keizer rallied to take the lead over Vancouver (British Columbia), Brian Anderson pitched the 9th for the save. He gave up a walk on 4 wide ones. Nothing significant about that, other than the fact that it was his first walk of the season against 25 strikeouts. Brian leads the Northwest League in saves with 10. After the game I saw the car Brian and 3 teammates paid $290.00 for. I have to say I think they may have overpaid!

I caught 2 games in Eugene and saw Neil pitch in 1 against the Yakima Bears. Up to and including this game, he pitched setup for closer Alfredo Fernandez. Neil went 1.1 innings, stranding 2 inherited runners, and giving up 1 hit, no runs, and recording a strikeout (he has 20 on the season, against 7 walks). Following this game, Neil has appeared in the closer role - recording his 2nd save last Saturday. Interesting trivia on Yakima: their 7-foot-1 reliever Ryan Doherty is believed to be the tallest to ever play professional baseball. [Notre Dame bio]. On a critical play in the game Neil pitched in, Doherty did not move well to cover 1st on a grounder to the 1st baseman, allowing the Emerald batter to reach on an infield single.

Players in the Northwest League (as in most of the minors) lead an "interesting" life. Yesterday they had their 2nd day off on the season. Almost all games are played at night. Life is generally spent playing baseball, sleeping and eating - except when riding on buses. Bus trips are mostly overnight affairs, leaving after the conclusion of a series (most of which are 5 games long). The average bus ride in the league is 304 miles. It's a good thing they're young!

posted on 8/02/2005 by Jeff Agnew

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