I Love baseball!From John Hughes West Coast scouting director for the Florida Marlins and former pla
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 Pla
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 pla
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 ba
at the University of California Berkeley.
By the 4th inning the stands are filling up, the fans are rolling in, there’s ba
and electricity in the air. Just another opening day and season of Cal ba
MY FRIEND! The fans keep rolling in and so do former Cal Pla
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 ba
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
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. ba
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 ba
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 ba
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.
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
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 ba
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!
PS: Don’t forget March 12th at AT&T. SHOW UP!