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I Love baseball!

From John Hughes West Coast scouting director for the Florida Marlins and former player and pitching coach of the UC Berkeley Bears!

Subject: A Day to remember at Evans Diamond

 

        Sunday February 20th started out like any other Scouting Day for me.  The sun was out

for the 1st time in 2 days and I was looking forward to going to the ballpark.  It’s great  to

 have a job that you love, particularly when it takes me to Evans Diamond.  I can’t begin to

count the number of games I have been a part of at Evans as a Player, a Coach, and a Scout

but it has been many.  There have been many memorable games ,and some forgettable,

 that are a big part of my life and a part of who I am, and God willing, I will never forget

them. But this surely will be just another day at the park, doing my job, watching prospects

 for the Florida Marlins. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Little did I know that this would be  

  another one of those memorable days at Evans Diamond.

        Got to Evans early.  Watched the players remove the tarp and the ice that was on it.

No BP on the field just in the cages.  Cal playing catch in the outfield, music playing and its

time for infield.  Infield is done and the grounds crew is dragging the infield.  Just another

day at Evans Diamond.  NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!  All of a sudden it’s the voice of Ed Zuber,

father of Cal Hall of Famer Jon Zuber, on the PA with “Good morning everyone and welcome

to Evans Diamond, home of your California Golden Bears”. Uh oh!  Something inside began to

tell me this is different.  I moved behind home plate to get in position to get radar readings

from Cal’s prospect Pitcher Eric Johnson (along with 30 other Scouts).  Ed told us to “all rise and

remove your hats for the National Anthem” and we did.  As the Anthem played and I stared

 out into centerfield I got a chill & a tear, and it hit me again—this is something different.

         Ok, regroup Cheese,-get to work!  Time to Bear down.  Eric Johnson is dealing, the Bear

Dugout is excited and College baseball is under way again for the 100th and whatever year

at the University of California Berkeley.

         By the 4th inning the stands are filling up, the fans are rolling in, there’s baseball at Evans

and electricity in the air. Just another opening day and season of Cal baseball.  NOT SO FAST

MY FRIEND!  The fans keep rolling in and so do former Cal Players.  There’s Randy Hooper,

  Pete Burman, Bob Milano, Dave Granger, Dan Deaver, Mike Knapp, Ross Sakamoto, Mike

  Lawn, Sam Petke, Gwyn-Mohr Tully, Dave Granger, Michael Capbaret, Ryan Atkinson,

  Matt Toomey, Will Schock, Wayne Chai, Chris Beagle, Darryl Vice, Dan Cholowsky, Chuck

  Hensley, Noah Jackson, Jeff Peterson, Tommy Callen, and John E. Hughes (apologies to those

  I forgot) Wow!  Memories!

         It’s the 6th inning, 12:30, and in rolls the San Francisco Giants World Series Trophy. Many

  lined up for a picture with the trophy. Families, husbands & wives, fathers & sons, and yes

  Cheese and Dustin.  All there to share in what was an incredible Fall with the National Pastime,

  and now they are doing it at Evans and watching Cal baseball.

         Cal goes up 1-0 and EJ is still dealing and there is noise in the park.  We head to the 8th

  still up by 1 and Cal goes to the pen.  Will this be a late inning heartbreak in the opener?  NOT

  SO FAST MY FRIEND!  Kevin Miller posts a donut in the top half of the inning.  Cal loads the

  bases and up comes freshman Andrew (son of Mike) Knapp.  He laces a double to LC and 2

  Batters later Mitch Delfino hits a grandslam. The Bears break it open for a 7-0 win.

         With a 30 minute break between games and the Trophy leaving, surely all these fans are

   going to leave. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!  “ Let’s play 2. baseball is back, I’m here with my kids,

   I’ve got no other place I’d rather be”.  Where else can you see a doubleheader anymore?

         An early Cal lead was erased and the Bears fell behind 5-2.  And it wasn’t getting any

   warmer.  Some fans left as it looked like the Bears were in for a split with Utah.  A thought

   came across my mind that Utah was going to playing in the Pac next year and we weren’t.

   Really?  How in the world is that possible? This really can’t happen can it?

         Back to the game.  Bottom of the 9th and there are still a lot of fans left.  The 2011 Golden

    Bears have not lost hope.  Their dugout is excited and this incredible group of kids who have

    never allowed the injustice they’ve been dealt diminish their enthusiasm are ready to roll.

    With 2 outs, the bases loaded and down 5-3 Soph Darryl Matthews gets a base hit to tie the

    game.  Coach Esquer now sends Freshman Andrew Knapp to the plate to pinch hit.  Andrew ,

    whose double broke open game one surely can’t do this again in his Collegiate debut.  As

    cold as it is we will have to stay and watch extra innings and see this thing out. NOT SO FAST

    MY FRIEND!  Andrew gets a base hit to right- Game over.  As you hear Ed Zuber on the PA

    shouting “Bears Win, Bears Win”, I look over at Mike & Julie Knapp with their arms raised and

    smiles from ear to ear.  Other Cal parents are congratulating them with high fives and hugs

    while Andrew’s teammates are smothering him with hugs, bumps and a whole lot of love.

     WOW!

          I walked over to Mike and Julie and gave Mike a high five and a hug and Julie too.  I could

     feel their emotions. Their wide range of emotions.  The same wide range of emotions they

     have been riding since the day that Andrew signed his letter of intent to play, since the day

     they eliminated the program, since the day they eliminated it again, and  today when somehow

     this all seems worth it.  As I walked away I could feel what they were thinking and feeling.

     You may try to take away our dream of watching our son play on the same field at the same

     position that his Dad did, and you may try to take away our son’s dream of getting to play

     on the same field, at the same position, and getting the same Cal degree as his Dad did. But

     NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! -  You can never take away this moment and this feeling we have

     right now.

          As I walked out of Evans after 7 hours of ball I had a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

      What a day!  For all of you that were there thanks for coming and I’m sure it was a memorable

      day for you.  For those of you that couldn’t attend I hope that this story of the day’s events

      gave you a good picture.  A picture of Cal baseball that we all have seen and felt before. I

      left Evans saying can this really be it?  Can these Administrators that have no idea what this

      experience is like really take this away?  Well I say to them  NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!  We

      will not quit.

 

                                               See you at Evans!  You are going to love these kids!                      

 

              

                                                                                  Cheese

 

 

      PS:  Don’t forget March 12th at AT&T.  SHOW UP!

      

 

    

scoobypop5 scoobypop5 51-55, M 2 Responses Feb 21, 2011

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Golden Bear baseball nears extinction

by Rory Paap



Here’s a list of people you may have heard of:



Les Claypool – the God of Bass – is from the band Primus, Julia Morgan was the architect of the Hearst Castle, Aaron Rodgers is a Superbowl MVP quarterback, Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, Gregory Peck won the Academy Award for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Jeff Cohen played Chunk in the awesome and unforgettable film The Goonies and Tom Anderson is the co-founder and president of MySpace – though whether or not such an internet destination still exists is unknown to me.



What do they have in common? I’ll tell you, but not just yet. First, know they also have something in common with a handful of others…



Men like Jeff Kent who, according to FanGraphs, produced 61.9 over his career. He won the National League MVP in 2000 and has more home runs than any second baseman ever (377). For these reasons and others, I recently advocated his worthiness of Cooperstown while also admitting he may not be a slam dunk.



There’s also Xavier Nady. He netted the Padres Mike Cameron in a 2005 trade. The Mets received Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez (back when he was promising) for him back in 2006. He netted Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens for Pittsburgh from the Yankees in 2008. So he may not be Lance Berkman, but he’s fetched a decent prospect or two in his day as a major leaguer. That’s worth something.



Conor Jackson nearly hit for the cycle in 2008, would have in his final at bat with a double off Greg Maddux. Instead, he motored to third for his second triple of the day. You don’t see that too often. He then got Valley Fever in 2009 which wiped out his season. He’s now playing for the A’s, until Billy Beane decides he is not—hey, it seems to happen pretty often.



Darren Lewis won a Gold Glove as a San Francisco Giant in 1994. That same season, his major league record was finally set at 392 straight games without an error when he let a Cliff Floyd hit slip under his glove after 938 consecutive chances of avoiding such a blunder. Heck, Dusty Baker even named his son—the same that owes his life to J.T. Snow—after him.



Brandon Morrow, Geoff Blum, Mike Epstein, Brian Horwitz, Jackie Jensen, Kevin Maas, Tyler Walker and baseball America Top-100 player Brett Jackson are all professional ballplayers in their own right and of varying success. Given that, I suppose Jensen’s 1958 AL MVP is worthy of note and perhaps more so than Horwitz’s two career home runs over 42 plate appearances, one of which came versus Ollie Perez (who I mentioned earlier). But there it is.



What they all have in common, though, is that these fine people, ballplayers and otherwise, went to University of California, Berkeley, aka Cal. Let’s be honest for a second. The city is known for its hippies and runaway liberalism. In addition to that, it’s a great American city for no less than its many stark contrasts to America's heartland. Though not to the degree of the protests, one is such thing it's known for is its athletics programs, baseball among them.



Cal stands to have many more musicians, architects, actors, cartoonists, football players, brilliant minds and future millionaires spawn from their halls. It’ll also likely they’ll thrust upon us scientists, advocates & activists, writers, mayors, judges, astronauts, astronomers, mathematicians and Olympic athletes. As for the baseball players…



The University of California announced today it will not reinstate its baseball program despite vigorous fundraising efforts to save it from the chopping block…



Cal chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau issued a statement Friday saying that enough funds were raised to reinstate men's rugby, women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse, but not baseball and men's gymnastics...



Cal baseball has a long history that dates back to 1892. The Golden Bears won the first College World Series in 1947, then won another national title in 1957... The Bears have been to regionals in two of the last three seasons and head into 2011 ranked No. 17 in baseball America's Top 25…



The Golden Bears figure to be a force in the Pacific-10 Conference one final time in 2011, and then their players will have to find new homes.





Sadly, it’s currently unknown whether or not they’ll ever again send our way (read: MLBs way) another Jeff Kent or even a Brian Horwitz or two. Who knows, maybe one or several of the alums will save the day with a nice donation. It just really smarts someone like Barry Zito was a Trojan instead of Golden Bear. He’d fit right in, I suspect, and it seems his current salary might allow such a handout.

Golden Bear baseball nears extinction

by Rory Paap



Here’s a list of people you may have heard of:



Les Claypool – the God of Bass – is from the band Primus, Julia Morgan was the architect of the Hearst Castle, Aaron Rodgers is a Superbowl MVP quarterback, Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, Gregory Peck won the Academy Award for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Jeff Cohen played Chunk in the awesome and unforgettable film The Goonies and Tom Anderson is the co-founder and president of MySpace – though whether or not such an internet destination still exists is unknown to me.



What do they have in common? I’ll tell you, but not just yet. First, know they also have something in common with a handful of others…



Men like Jeff Kent who, according to FanGraphs, produced 61.9 over his career. He won the National League MVP in 2000 and has more home runs than any second baseman ever (377). For these reasons and others, I recently advocated his worthiness of Cooperstown while also admitting he may not be a slam dunk.



There’s also Xavier Nady. He netted the Padres Mike Cameron in a 2005 trade. The Mets received Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez (back when he was promising) for him back in 2006. He netted Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens for Pittsburgh from the Yankees in 2008. So he may not be Lance Berkman, but he’s fetched a decent prospect or two in his day as a major leaguer. That’s worth something.



Conor Jackson nearly hit for the cycle in 2008, would have in his final at bat with a double off Greg Maddux. Instead, he motored to third for his second triple of the day. You don’t see that too often. He then got Valley Fever in 2009 which wiped out his season. He’s now playing for the A’s, until Billy Beane decides he is not—hey, it seems to happen pretty often.



Darren Lewis won a Gold Glove as a San Francisco Giant in 1994. That same season, his major league record was finally set at 392 straight games without an error when he let a Cliff Floyd hit slip under his glove after 938 consecutive chances of avoiding such a blunder. Heck, Dusty Baker even named his son—the same that owes his life to J.T. Snow—after him.



Brandon Morrow, Geoff Blum, Mike Epstein, Brian Horwitz, Jackie Jensen, Kevin Maas, Tyler Walker and baseball America Top-100 player Brett Jackson are all professional ballplayers in their own right and of varying success. Given that, I suppose Jensen’s 1958 AL MVP is worthy of note and perhaps more so than Horwitz’s two career home runs over 42 plate appearances, one of which came versus Ollie Perez (who I mentioned earlier). But there it is.



What they all have in common, though, is that these fine people, ballplayers and otherwise, went to University of California, Berkeley, aka Cal. Let’s be honest for a second. The city is known for its hippies and runaway liberalism. In addition to that, it’s a great American city for no less than its many stark contrasts to America's heartland. Though not to the degree of the protests, one is such thing it's known for is its athletics programs, baseball among them.



Cal stands to have many more musicians, architects, actors, cartoonists, football players, brilliant minds and future millionaires spawn from their halls. It’ll also likely they’ll thrust upon us scientists, advocates & activists, writers, mayors, judges, astronauts, astronomers, mathematicians and Olympic athletes. As for the baseball players…



The University of California announced today it will not reinstate its baseball program despite vigorous fundraising efforts to save it from the chopping block…



Cal chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau issued a statement Friday saying that enough funds were raised to reinstate men's rugby, women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse, but not baseball and men's gymnastics...



Cal baseball has a long history that dates back to 1892. The Golden Bears won the first College World Series in 1947, then won another national title in 1957... The Bears have been to regionals in two of the last three seasons and head into 2011 ranked No. 17 in baseball America's Top 25…



The Golden Bears figure to be a force in the Pacific-10 Conference one final time in 2011, and then their players will have to find new homes.





Sadly, it’s currently unknown whether or not they’ll ever again send our way (read: MLBs way) another Jeff Kent or even a Brian Horwitz or two. Who knows, maybe one or several of the alums will save the day with a nice donation. It just really smarts someone like Barry Zito was a Trojan instead of Golden Bear. He’d fit right in, I suspect, and it seems his current salary might allow such a handout.