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 email@example.com.
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Former Dirtbag Curt Lee May Continue To Juggle Two Careers
Curt Lee played for the Dirtbags in 1998 and 1999. In recent years, he's played in the independent Northern League - this year for the Gary Southshore RailCats. This piece from the Northwest Indiana Times gives a window into the two careers Lee is juggling:
Should they stay or should they go? Two RailCats vets, prepare for playoffs -- and their future
BY MIKE CLARK firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Samuels was ready to walk away from baseball after one more season if the signs were there.
If he was a step slower down the first-base line, a split-second later in turning on an inside fastball, Samuels was prepared to move on to the next phase of his life.
Across the RailCats clubhouse, Curt Lee was prepared to come back for another year if he could make sure his second career could keep running smoothly without him.
Some RailCats players have a good idea what they'll be doing once the best season in franchise history comes to an end; they'll play the franchise' first playoff game tonight at St. Paul, Minn. Veteran leadoff man and oufielder Anthony Iapoce is ready to retire as a player and get into coaching. Many of his younger teammates will work out in preparation for another season.
For a few like Samuels and Lee, though, the winter will be a time to figure out whether the bus rides and dream-chasing of minor league ball are part of their future AND a part of their past....
A few years ago, Lee was getting ready to meet up with some friends in the offseason and he decided to make up a few T-shirts with quotes on the front from the movie "Airplane!"
What could have been a one-off gag turned into something much bigger for Lee, who saw money-making possibilities. He has been helped by folks along the way, like the buddy who works for Kodak and helped show him how to clear the licensing rights for the quotes, and the friend who let Lee use his silk-screening shop at night.
The result is a business called "One Liners" that prints movie quotes on T-shirts and, more recently, golf towels.
He started the project at the end of 2002, spent 2003 learning the production end of the business and started hawking his products last year. Though most of Lee's sales are on-line, he has one item at the RailCats' team store, the South Shore Depot -- a T-shirt with a RailCats logo on the front and a quote from "The Sandlot" on the back: "You're killing me, Smalls."
Sports quotes are predictably big -- "There's no crying in baseball" has been a consistent seller. But Lee has learned to jump on trends wherever he finds them.
"Last year was 'Napoleon Dynamite,' " he said. "Every college kid wanted 'Napoleon Dynamite lines.' "
With Lee off playing baseball this summer, his family has kept the business running.
"They're real excited about it," he said. "I caught them at a good time."
But this offseason is a critical time, and that could impact on his decision to keep playing baseball.
"It would just depend on what happens with the business when I go back home," Lee said. "Maybe everything just clicks right away with the business and I hire the right people. .... But if I run into snags and it's something that I think has a lot of potential that I have to be there for, I'll do that."
But for all the calculating Samuels does in assessing his skills or Lee does in checking his business' bottom line, the lure of getting paid to play a kids' game can't be ignored.
"If I work hard in the offseason and get things right, there's a chance I could have another year of fun," Lee said....
Anything goes when court jester hits the DL Sunday, July 24, 2005
...In every family, on every team, there always seems to be a joker, the one who elicits all of the laughs and keeps everybody loose.
That guy for us this year is our slick fielding, switch-hitting second baseman, Curt Lee.
In his sixth season as a professional, Curt played his college ball at Long Beach State, helping the "Dirtbags" to a College World Series appearance in 1999. He's been in the Northern League ever since, even earning a spring training invite with the Florida Marlins a couple of years ago.
Besides his value on the field, Curt has also found a way to make himself a vital part of our clubhouse dynamic this year. Whether helping fellow veteran Anthony Iapoce run the Kangaroo Court or just dropping in one-liners every now and again, Curt is always in the middle of the team's down-time laughs.
When third baseman Tanner Townsend was struck in the ear by a bad hop earlier this season, Curt was at his quick-thinking best. With blood trickling down Tanner's right ear and our manager and trainer rushing out to the field, Curt, as always, had a comment to offer.
Grabbing our skipper Greg Tagert quickly, Curt encouraged him to put Tanner into panic mode by moving his mouth without creating any sound, so our injured infielder would think that his hearing was affected.
And then there was the week when Curt was placed on the DL after rolling one of his ankles.
With nothing else to do during our series in St. Paul, Minn., Curt sat in the dugout with the team's bang box -- where all of the Kangaroo Court violations are placed -- and wrote enough citations to put a high school hall monitor to shame.
Lee is all Southern California. A resident of Orange, he is laid back to say the least. I don't think I can recall a single time this summer that I've seen him in anything but a T-shirt and shorts, and he is always eager to share a leisurely laugh.
On bus trips, Curt can often be found sitting with his computer on his lap, typing in movie quotes. As the proprietor of a company in California called "One Liners," Curt is in the business of printing shirts featuring movie lines. With studio rights taken care of, Curt is a serious businessman. And, actually, it's probably the only time he's serious. Well, sort of.
One by one, our guys often come up to the front of the bus where Curt sits, offering a movie line they just remembered. Sometimes, they just shout out, "Hey that's a good one," if a memorable line from a movie we are watching on the bus comes up.
A night after a recent day off, Curt was again making us all laugh.
With rookie infielder Eric McNamee supplying a game-winning RBI single the previous night, Curt was determined not to get lost in the shuffle. So for the next few nights, every time he got a basehit or made another outstanding defensive play, Curt would remind us that he had to come up big, to keep up with the rookie.
With an All-Star game selection this past week, Curt really doesn't seem to be in too much danger of finding himself on the bench very often.
But if he did, he'd probably have us all laughing.
Brendan Sagara, a former University of Hawaii-Hilo pitcher, is in his first season as pitching coach for the Gary Southshore Railcats.
I haven't been able to find a link to Curt Lee's business. If and when I do, I'll post it so you can take a look.