Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Sunday Column

A collection of thoughts, rounded up and placed on the table like a San Diego Continental Sports Breakfast:

  • For the first time in years, Daylight Savings Time hit me by surprise this morning.  Pogi woke me up as usual, I went out to give him breakfast, laid down on the couch, fell back asleep, woke up a few minutes later...and it's 8:30???  Whoa.  I know I'll like it as the summer unfolds, but right now it kind of sucks.  
  • So on Friday, I brought up one of my favorite pet peeve baseball topics, KT's Bane.  If you scroll down that post, I gave you the inevitable sequence of laudatory Everth Cabrera quotes in the paper: the "upside", the anecdotal reports of greatness, the "he's just pressing" quote that always follows the Rule V player's 2 for 16, 5 error in 8 games start.  And I predicted that before long there would be a glowing quote about his "eye popping speed" as soon as he did anything, ANYTHING in a spring game.  It took Tom Krasovic less than 15 hours to deliver.  
In a blur yesterday, Everth Cabrera stole second base, then zoomed to third when the ball got away. While Cabrera dusted himself off, a nearby Rockies scout watched intently.

Whee!  Cabrera's zoomy fast!  See how he runs!  Watch him wiggle!  See him jiggle!

He won't do a damn thing in the major leagues in 2009 and will rot on the Padres' roster, but we will get all excited about his "tool", the same thing you can see at any track meet in the country.  And you know what, he's a great story, he comes from a poor background, this is his great chance, and so on, and so forth.  I hear it every year.  Callix Crabbe was the nicest kid you would ever meet.  He didn't belong on a big league team and really hurt the 2008 Padres back while their season was still viable.  Kory DeHann was the nicest kid you'd ever meet, but he didn't belong in the big leagues.  I refuse to fall in love with KT's Bane every year, but it's a tradition that many colleagues in the local media are more than willing to uphold.  

  • It felt great to get to call nine innings of SDSU baseball on the actual gosh-darned radio yesterday.  It also felt weird to be on the same station where I'm no longer an employee.  There aren't any hard feelings there, to be sure.  It's all a business and being unplugged from the Matrix that was employment inside a mega-corporation like Clear Channel has been good in a lot of ways.  They have their own problems to manage, and the decision their top-level management has made is to strip back and reduce across the board in sales and programming, the two places where radio should almost never cut back.  Cutting away is one thing, but carving out bone doesn't usually help the patient.  Regardless, the broadcast went well and today we do it again from Tony Gwynn Stadium, as the Aztecs look for a five-game sweep of the season series.  Chris Ello will join me today, 12:45pm pregame, 1pm first pitch.  
  • As for yesterday's game itself, what a clutch performance from SDSU.  Start with the offense, which responded in the 6th inning after USD had come back to tie the game.  TJ Thomas delivered a booming double to right which got the Aztecs right back in front.  Brandon Meredith had, to me, his best game as an Aztec with two hits and an RBI.  Then, the pitching.  James McLaughlin got out of a 1st-and-3rd jam by retiring the best USD power hitter Victor Sanchez, after Sanchez just missed a HR.  Craig Rasmussen, an inning later, inherits 1st-and-3rd, NOBODY OUT, and gets a strikeout before Rich Hill tries yet another suicide squeeze.  He's gone 0-for-3 calling the squeeze in the series, and this time #9 batter Brian Haar just bunted it right back to Rasmussen, who scooped to the plate for the out.  Then, Addison Reed really stood tall as closer, striking out Muno to end the 8th and working around a Nicol single in the 9th.  Keep it going, fellas.  Today, Nate Solow makes his first start of the year on the mound for SDSU...looking forward to seeing what the lefty's got pent up after sitting for two weeks. 
  • Maybe, Rich, next time just let your guys swing away.  Sometimes when USD gets a rally going Hill will take such an iron grip on things, slowing down every at-bat for 185 signals, and using every littleball trick in the world, that the Toreros can grind themselves right out of a rally.
  • UNLV goes 7-9 in conference, SDSU goes 11-5.  SDSU beats UNLV twice heads-up, including at Thomas and Mack Arena in Vegas.  But in the 3rd meeting, again in Vegas in the MWC tournament, UNLV finally prevails.  Someone else winds up winning the MWC tourney, but the NCAA committee takes UNLV as an at-large over SDSU.  Sounds nuts?  It is nuts, but it could easily happen.  This is the check coming due on the losses to St. Mary's, Arizona State and Arizona, with no other remarkable wins in the non-conference schedule.  Every day in these Joe Lunardi-"who's in who's out"-scenarios, UNLV's win over Louisville and blowout win over Arizona just keep getting repeated and repeated.  My personal feel is that Thursday's first-round game between the Aztecs and Rebels is a play-in game for the NCAA's, but UNLV could possibly still lose and make the field, amazingly.  SDSU has no such option.
  • Looking forward tonight to the USA-Venezuela game in the World Baseball Classic.  Last night I fell asleep on the couch watching the replay of the USA-Canada game, and it was pretty cool stuff to have 40,000+ fired up for a March baseball game.  Not too jazzed about the USA bullpen though.  In a weird way, holding the games in March favors the most well-rounded team.  That's because unlike any other short-series baseball scenario, where one or two hot starting pitchers can control everything, here the pitchers are just working their arms into shape and will throw only 3-5 innings, maybe up to 6-7 by the finals.  So you're forced to show your whole bullpen.  
  • Year Two for Bill Grier at USD looked an awful lot like we thought Year One was going to be, a year of struggle and rebuilding.  I think he'll get things back in order for Year Three, but a lot of problems were revealed this year and by the end it seemed like Grier wasn't sure about his team at all.
  • UCSD will find out their playoff fates today when the Division II NCAA field is revealed.  The women's team is a shoo-in for an at-large berth, the men not so much.  They are likely to be on the outside of the bubble looking in after losing in the CCAA semifinals to Cal State San Bernadino on Friday night, 76-72.  The UCSD men's team is outside the top 10 in the region and 17-11 on the season, but we wish them luck for some slip-in-the-bathtub moment in the war room which will sneak them into the field.  
That's it for now, have a great Sunday, and don't forget to tune into XTRA today to hear Chris and I together calling the Aztecs' game!  Also, if you are cruising by the site for the first time, perhaps you heard us mention 619 Sports on the air...please feel free to contact me, either by friending me on Facebook or via e-mail, all my contact info is listed under my profile.  Also please help us out at no charge whatsoever by signing up at the top of the page as a follower of the blog, and subscribe to get all of our posts in your e-mail inbox!  Much more is coming very soon, you won't want to miss it!  Now, what time is it?  Sheesh, Daylight Savings Time got me again!  Gotta go walk the pug and get ready for the game!


  1. Okay, so I'm a broken record on this subject, and I agree Thursday's game is a play-in game, at least for the Aztecs. But I find it rather humorous, because right after the BYU loss, everyone...I repeat, everyone...said that SDSU's only way into the tournament was to win the MWC tournament. This is an area where both fans and the media constantly get it wrong. Two weeks can seem like a very long time in the sports world, and I kept saying that if the Aztecs somehow won their final three games, things would look much different headed into the conference tournament. Even I thought they'd need to reach the final to get an at-large berth, but now, I'm increasingly convinced that one win on Thursday will get it done. Of course, beating a team like UNLV three times in the same season, and twice on their own floor, is exceptionally difficult. However, my point to sports fans...and other members of the media (and Craig, I'm not pointing the finger at you; of course you're much more sensible than most), is that we're always in such a hurry to make some sort of pronouncement, that we don't really care if there's a reasonable chance we might be wrong. After all, had SDSU lost at TCU, or last night, everyone who counted them out after BYU would have patted themselves on the back and said, "I knew it." Still, they would've been wrong, because the possibility still existed for the team to bounce back, even if they never actually did.

  2. I was in the car quite a bit today and you guys call a good game.

    Why only 15 games this year?

  3. Thank you, I love doing baseball and it was great to be back on with Chris.

    The 15 games are part of SDSU's deal with Clear Channel. It's a 15-game mix of baseball and women's hoops. So far, 2 baseball, 0 women's. The women's game on Saturday will be picked up OVER the baseball game provided they don't lose in the semis. Hopefully both the men and women will be playing on that day! Regardless, there's a small% chance that more baseball games could be picked up, if the team got on a real roll or went to the NCAA's, obviously.