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Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Long Road Back

On January 19, 2016, I suffered a mild heart attack that sent me to an ER for stabilization and testing. The next morning I had three stints placed in my heart through a femoral artery in my left leg to clear blockages. After the surgery my doctor informed me that he had called in a specialist to take a look at my echo-cardiogram to determine if the stints were enough. Upon receiving the news they were  not, open heart surgery was scheduled three days later. I ended up having a quadruple by pass along with a titanium plate placed in my chest to hold the sternum and ribcage together.

The long road back to "normal" is still a work in progress 9 1/2 months later. However, the care and treatment I received, along with the rehab instruction and encouragement and the prayerful support of friends and family, have made a huge difference in my recovery.

Tomorrow (11/11/16) at 10AM I will return to the diamond for the first time in over a year to umpire the game I love at Los Alimitos High School. At 65 years of age I am just as excited for game day as I was as a 16 year old kid. Can't wait to say, "Play Ball!"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cubs Win World Series Championship 2016

  Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs on their first World Series Championship in 108 years. The history behind the Cubs long drought has been one of the most superstitious, frustrating, and disappointing stretches in all of baseball. However, it has brought them hopeful support from Baseball fans across the country for many decades.

In 1921 William Wrigley Jr. gained a controlling interest in the Cubs and made the decision to have them train on Catalina Island. In doing so, he became the first baseball owner to bring a major league club out West for spring training. He built a facility for the Cubs on Catalina that he humbly called “Wrigley Field.” (Regular-season major league baseball wouldn’t arrive on the West Coast until the Dodgers and the Giants made their moves west in the 1950s.) This Wrigley Field predates the Los Angeles minor league baseball facility of the same name, which didn’t open until 1925. Not only that, but it’s technically the first baseball facility to bear Wrigley’s name. The more famous Chicago ballpark was known first as Weeghman Park, and then as Cubs Park, before being renamed Wrigley Field in 1926.
 
The Cubs trained on Catalina every spring from 1921-1941, and from 1946-51. (The island was controlled by the U.S. military during the war years.) An amazing array of baseball stars spent their springs in the bucolic setting, including Charlie Root, Phil Cavaretta, Charlie Grimm and Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby, Dizzy Dean, Gabby Hartnett, Joe McCarthy,Grover Cleveland Alexander and Hack Wilson.

 The team would arrive every spring on one of Wrigley’s fleet of ships used for transportation from the mainland. These included the Hermosa, the Cabrillo, the S.S. Avalon, and, beginning in 1924, the S.S. Catalina, “The Great White Steamship.” After disembarking, the team would join the fashionable set and stay at the island’s fanciest hotel, the Hotel St. Catherine on Descanso Bay.

The club would spend most of the spring playing intra-squad games, though occasionally outside teams such as the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels would make the trip over for some games, and the Cubs would make the trip to the mainland right after spring training for exhibition games with West Coast minor league teams. The team’s home games were free, and the stadium was a major tourist attraction on the island during spring training.

The Cubs’ last season on the island was 1951. A spell of bad weather, including a snowstorm, may have played a role in convincing the team to move spring operations to Mesa, Arizona for a few years. According to Daily Breeze files, an announcement was made in May 1965 by then-owner Philip K. Wrigley, William Wrigley Jr.’s son, that the Cubs would return to Catalina temporarily for the 1966 spring training session while other permanent facilities were being finished. Unfortunately, a combination of timing issues and the expense of conducting the camp caused the team to reconsider and cancel its Catalina plans in favor of training at Blair Stadium in Long Beach instead.

After the 1966 session in Long Beach, the club trained in Scottsdale, Ariz., through 1978, before settling permanently again in Mesa in 1979, where their spring training is held to this day. 

Because of this long history Cub fans almost always out number LA Dodger fans when they come to town. The roars by Cub fans during the recent NL Division Championship Series in LA bears witness to the fact that Cub fans are alive and well in Dodger town. Congratulations! Go Cubs and Go Dodgers.

Friday, March 11, 2016

LBCC State Champions Honored

The LBCC State Championship Baseball Team form 2006 will be honored at Joe Hicks Field on Saturday, April 16, 2016. The historic team finished the 2006 season 41-10 and most of the 20 man roster will be in attendance to see the Vikings (10-7, 2-0) take on Cerritos JC at noon. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

CIF Baseball Playoffs 2014

The CIF-SS Baseball playoffs begin Tuesday, May 20, 2014 for 7 Divisions in the Southern California Section. Among games being played today; in Division l will be LB Poly vs Crespi at Blair Field in Long Beach at 6:30 PM. The winner of this "wild card" game will take on highly ranked Agoura HS in the first round on Friday, May 23, 2014. In Division ll Mayfair will travel to Ayala with the winner to see Camarillo, the #1 team from the Pacific View League on Thursday, May 22, 2014. Division lll games will begin on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 with Gahr HS hosting Beverly Hills at 3:00 PM on the school field. The winner to draw Garden Grove HS on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Garden Grove. For more information on parings of your local schools check the CIF website at www.cifss.org

Monday, May 19, 2014

CCCAA Baseball State Championships

The CCCAA Baseball State Championships will be held on May 24-26, 2014 at Fresno City College. The sectional brackets can be viewed at CCCAA Baseball web site. The Northern bracket will be represented by San Joaquin Delta and College of the Sequoias. The Southern Bracket will consist of Oxnard and Orange Coast. To further look at team stats and individual performances go to http://www.spincostats.com

Thursday, May 1, 2014

LBCC in So. Cal. Regional

Calling all Vikings. The LBCC Baseball team will travel to Santa Ana College to begin a 3 game series against the Santa Ana Dons on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 2 PM. Game two is set for Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 11 AM with game three to follow if needed. LBCC seems to be peaking at the right time winning six straight games, including eight of their last nine, to share the SCC Title at 15-6. The Vikings are in search of their first State Championship since 2006 when they went 41-10, with only one loss in the entire playoff structure. For more information on the 2014 CCCAA playoff structure/brackets, check the LBCC athletic web site at www.lbcc.edu. Good Luck and Go Vikings.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"The Slump"

From the archives: “I’ve had slumps last all winter” Bob Uecker

Every ballplayer at some point in his career goes through a slump. Vance Law described it as, “The field looking like one big glove and everything I hit goes right into it”. The slump is often referred to as being, “Snake Bit”. For this reason, some ball players have been known to carry anti venom in their travel bags to cure the dreaded curse. Still others, like Yogi Berra, refused to admit their bad luck: “Slump? I ain’t in no slump….I’m just not hitting”. Even the great Mickey Mantle dealt with it. Mickey stated, “During my 18 years I came to bat 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. Figuring a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball”. That should put it in perspective. Thanks Mick.

The slump is not always related to a flaw in your technique. One’s troubles may have something to do with the guy on the mound. Making adjustments to what he is doing is important to your success as well. The best way to handle a slump is to: 1) realize everyone goes through it, 2) keep faith in your ability, even when others may want to reinvent your swing and 3) go back to the basics. Hitting is an art, but it is not an exact science. Timing, feel, confidence and hard work are the intangibles that every good hitter needs to put his technique into action and break out of the slump. Consider this basic thought, "My theory of hitting was just to watch the ball as it came in and hit it." Tommy Lasorda

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Direction - "Play Ball"

In May of 2008 I stepped away from Baseball after over 30 years of coaching. My coaching experiences, while mostly in High School, have given me a unique education for my recent new endeavor, Umpiring. I appoligise for not keping up this Blog with Baseball coaching articles over the past few years but, when I broke away I made a complete break. After playing the game from little league to Division 1 College Baseball at UCLA in 1973-74; to a professional level through Independent Baseball (Portland Mavericks 1974 NW League); to coaching High School Baseball, youth baseball and Community College Baseball - I decided to take up Umpiring. Why not? I had been a player, a coach, why not an Umpire? Playing and coaching the game at any level is difficult, especially the higher up you go. But, Umpiring - we're talking awhole new skill set. I have found a new appreication for officiating of any sport at any level. I have been in the Long Beach unit now for 4 years, (currently completing my 5th) worked probably 50 to 60 games each year and still polishing my craft. I look forward to the years ahead in this new position of the wonderful game of Baseball. All the Best. "Play Ball"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Long Beach Draft Picks 2012

Shane Watson (Lakewood) Pick 40, Philadelphia Phillies Chase DeJong (Wilson) Pick 81, Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Maxey (Poly) Pick 536, Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Duffy (LBSU) Pick 568, San Francisco Giants Brennan Metzger (LBSU) Pick 688, San Francisco Giants Steven Gallardo (LBCC) Pick 600, St. Louis Cardinals Lance Breedlove (LBCC) Pick 706, Pittsburgh Pirates Shawn Stuart (LBSU) Pick 948, Colorado Rockies

Monday, April 9, 2012

National Classic Begins Today

The 16-team Hard 9 National Classic begins on Monday, and it will be an opportunity for a group of Southern California-based teams to demonstrate they have the pitching depth to make a deep run in the playoffs come May. The championship game is Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton.

Alemany, Esperanza, El Toro, Cypress and El Dorado are the teams to watch. They will need to combine quality pitching with good defense and some key hits to make it to the finals.

An Alemany-El Toro quarterfinal game could happen on Tuesday if both teams win their openers on Monday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

ABD Academy 1992-2012

Ron Miller of Gardena Serra, won't be playing for the Cavaliers this season, Coach Wilmer Aaron said Friday. Miller, a senior third baseman who batted .439 last season, has decided to play in the San Bernardino-based ABD Academy league that takes place during the high school baseball season.

Amateur Baseball Development (ABD), has been around sense 1992 and has seen a number of players (who have played in their leagues) become drafted. However, most of them have had high school/college exposure. Miller would be one of the most visible players to ever give up high school baseball to play in the league.

The ABD Baseball Academy is a recognized leader in training and is considered one of the Top Baseball Development Academies in the United States. They are located in San Bernardino, California and are administered by USA Baseball.

You can find them on the web at: http://www.eteamz.com/abdacademy