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Mid-Winter Thrills! and Beyond - 2020

 
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
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Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Thu 2/13/20 11:47 pm    Post subject: Mid-Winter Thrills! and Beyond - 2020 Reply with quote

What a wonderful weekend ahead. I'll be back to preview the season that gets underway tomorrow!
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"The Dodgers have always occupied an enormous place in the history of the game. If the Yankees are the most successful team in baseball history, the Dodgers are the most essential. Their legacy is unique."

-Baseball Hall of Fame


Last edited by dodgerblue6 on Wed 3/25/20 9:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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forloveofthegame



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri 2/14/20 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a beautiful weekend to get baseball started! It does seem strange though, that we have no local games to attend. Thanks for getting this one started - it is always one of my favorite threads of the year.
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Sat 2/15/20 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must be the only one who actually went to an opening night game! I mentioned in the Valentine's Day thread that we went to Goodwin Field for Fullerton's home opener vs. Stanford. CSF is not ranked to start the season, but we all know Stanford is. Titans won the game 7-1.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 2/17/20 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent choice of a romantic date! Smile

CSUF was unranked to start the season, but they took the opening series from No. 17 Stanford.

Though they're not on anyone's radar, here's a good article from the L.A. Times about incoming USC head coach

The Trojans are now 22 years removed from their last College World Series title.

"New USC Baseball Coach Jason Gill Hopes to Return Trojans to Glory Days"

By JACK HARRIS
FEB. 13, 2020

Jason Gill leaned forward in his office and contemplated the weight of his words.

“I know it might sound funny,” USC’s new baseball coach said, explaining his core consideration for taking the Trojans job last summer, “but for me, it was all about winning national championships.”

In the context of USC’s storied history, this shouldn’t seem strange: The Trojans have 12 College World Series titles, double the amount of the next closest schools in the country. They have 21 CWS appearances and 2,858 wins, both fifth-most all-time. They have a historic alumni list that includes MLB legends Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire. Most of all, they are situated in arguably college baseball’s most fertile recruiting landscape.

“It’s U-S-C,” Gill continued, emphasizing the three-letter acronym that for so long was synonymous with baseball excellence. “It’s like, this is the best job in the world.”

Only, this century, it hasn’t been. Instead, a program once perched on the sport’s mountaintop now finds itself far from the summit, almost 20 years removed from its last CWS berth and facing a steep climb to reach Omaha again.

“I feel the same way [about USC],” said Gill, a 49-year-old Southern California native who spent the last 11 seasons coaching Loyola Marymount into a mid-major contender. “But I don’t know if everybody else does.”

There is no one diagnosis for USC’s decades-long decline. After the retirement of national-championship-winning coach Mike Gillespie in 2006, the Trojans suffered through a string of ineffective hires. Its recruiting tailed off (between 2011 and 2019, the Trojans signed only three national top-25 classes, according to Perfect Game) and its pipeline to the MLB draft dried up (since 2010, only four Trojans have been selected in the top-five rounds). Its home facilities at Dedeaux Field have been surpassed by renovated and revamped complexes at other programs, too, especially within the Pac-12. Then there is college baseball’s recent transformation. In 2009, the NCAA adopted new roster regulations (limiting roster sizes at 35 players and capping the number of players allowed to be on scholarship at 27) that dispersed the player pool and promoted sport-wide parity. In the years since, blue-blood programs such as USC have been put on a far more equal playing field.

When Gill arrived following his June 14 hiring, he honed in on smaller symptoms he deemed to be equally problematic. For example, the clubhouse was left by last year’s team in an “unacceptable” state of disarray. In Gill’s office, a corner of the wall was chipped. The carpet beneath his desk was stained.

“I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus,” he said, “but there’s a lot of that around here.”

It was the opposite of what he was used to at LMU, where he won 322 games and eclipsed the 30-win threshold six times in 11 seasons.

“Not that LMU is a better brand than USC, but what I had going on at LMU was a well-oiled machine,” Gill said. “Towards the end, I wasn’t having to do a lot. Everybody knew their role. Everybody understood it. Everybody was getting their stuff done. So then I walk out of that to something that has been dysfunctional … you can see things right away.

“I know that sounds really minuscule or not relevant, but believe it or not, those are the things that, when you start paying attention to winning, you lose focus of.”

It’s a chicken-and-the-egg argument. To Gill, on-field success can only be hatched once off-the-field habits are properly cultivated. At LMU, that philosophy helped the Lions tie for a conference championship in 2017 and reach an NCAA regional final last spring. Now at USC, on a team picked by the Pac-12’s coaches to finish seventh in the conference this season, Gill’s new players have learned the line of thinking as well.

“Even since Day 1, we had our first meeting the Sunday before school started … and after the first 15 minutes, he had us all ready to run through a brick wall,” junior pitcher John Beller said. “He talked about how the culture was going to change, and how he was going to put it on himself to make that happen. I think him being able to take ownership of the program right away, immediately, helped us feel comfortable following him.”

This offseason’s rebuild started from the ground up. Gill and his staff, which includes 10th-year USC assistant Gabe Alvarez and newly hired pitching coach Ted Silva, retaught defensive fundamentals almost from scratch — “starting with catch,” junior Jamal O’Guinn joked. For much of fall practice, pitchers were only allowed to throw fastballs in scrimmages until they demonstrated command of the strike zone.

And, as promised, the clubhouse was cleaned up.

“The locker room has been spotless,” Beller laughed. “They took everything out, they took the furniture out. It’s just super clean. There’s not even an excuse to have food or trash or anything, because it gets noticed.”

Long-term, Gill is confident his other coaching tools — he has been a lifelong recruiter in Southern California and put together a pitching staff at LMU that ranked 14th in the country in ERA last season – will help a program with only two NCAA tournament appearances since 2002 rediscover a level of consistency that has been lacking for too long.

“I took the job knowing what the standard is,” he said. “The standard is winning national championships at USC. That’s pretty much in every sport. You come to USC to play baseball. That’s the standard. Now it’s about us upholding them, or just reminding ourselves of how to get to that point. I just think they need some direction on how to do that.”
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"The Dodgers have always occupied an enormous place in the history of the game. If the Yankees are the most successful team in baseball history, the Dodgers are the most essential. Their legacy is unique."

-Baseball Hall of Fame


Last edited by dodgerblue6 on Sat 2/22/20 10:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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forloveofthegame



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 2/19/20 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Aztecs are 3-1! I was very impressed with their win over Coastal Carolina on the road! We were at Tony Gwynn Stadium last night for their home opener and they beat Cal State Fullerton, 8-4. I hope some of the hoops mojo rubs off on them (although they already did lose a game in the first week, Lol).

Iowa, Nebraska and USC will be playing on Montezuma Mesa this weekend for the Tony Gwynn Legacy tournament.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Fri 2/21/20 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I'm the only one who didn't get to a game in the first week. However, I will soon!

And here we are ready for weekend #2 of action.
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Sun 2/23/20 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I followed along with the Gwynn tournament this weekend even though I was en route to Arizona. I saw the Aztecs lost to USC today, 11-5, but I was pretty impressed they beat Iowa and Nebraska over the weekend. Their record is 5-2 now.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 2/24/20 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But four unearned runs! Surprised Exclamation And you didn't mention six errors in the win over CSUF!

Aztecs at UCI tomorrow...

Toreros have also had a great start to the young season with a 6-1 record.

Here's the local weekend wrap from the Union-Tribune.
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sunnyblue



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed 2/26/20 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone been out to Fowler Park yet this season? I haven't.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Thu 2/27/20 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nor have I.

And back to the Pac, how embarrassing for Stanford is it that they've started the season at 1-8 even after being ranked in the preseason polls? That's a difficult hole to climb out of. Embarassed
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Thu 2/27/20 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Aztecs did beat UCI on Tuesday - good pitchers duel they won 2-1. Avery Jones got the win.

They host Oregon State for 4 games this weekend! We will be there tomorrow night.
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Sat 2/29/20 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like they really got walloped in the first game, losing 13-1! Oregon State pitching is really holding them back because they scored only 2 runs total in the first 2 games. At least Friday's final was more respectable! They only lost 4-1.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sun 3/1/20 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And tonight the tide turned, with a solid start by sophomore RHP Troy Melton, who held the Beavers to four hits in a 6-0 Aztecs win! I'm happy to say I was there for Aztecs Lifetime Alumni Night at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
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-Baseball Hall of Fame
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Thu 3/5/20 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a fine game for Melton, and I was happy to see our Aztecs come back for a split of the 4 game series with their win on Sunday. Not exactly a pitchers' duel with a 12-11 final score, but they showed some grit.
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Mon 3/9/20 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDSU held their own in Oklahoma over the weekend. They lost the series to the No. 5 Sooners although it could have gone either way. On Sunday the rubber game was won in 10 innings by OK. They have a 10-6 record now.

I have noticed the Toreros are 11-4 now, too, though I have not had a chance to watch them play this year.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Tue 3/10/20 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just realized I posted no weekly update of the top 25 rankings last week.

Getting ready to work at the polls, I neglected to mention certain other polls. Smile So you know where my mind was. Still recovering from a whirlwind week! After tomorrow, things will settle down a bit for a few days. And even my event in OC this coming weekend has been canceled thanks to Coronavirus precautions (how baseball is being affected is addressed in the thread I started for that topic).
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Tue 3/10/20 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And sadly, no Dodgertown Classic this year - not because of coronavirus but because of construction! Exclamation
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Wed 3/11/20 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad Sad

Getting back to Stanford, I have no idea how they managed to lose two of three at home...to Kansas State. The Cardinal is a perplexing team.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Wed 3/25/20 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eternally the optimist, I won't let this thread die even though our mid-winter thrills were taken from us before winter even ended.

From BaseballAmerica.com, creative ways to get college baseball back on the diamond in 2020.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Tue 4/14/20 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The word has come down that no Golden Spikes winner will be named this year. Well, duh. I was surprised that they have already bestowed honors on some other players.

And since the news has come down that this year's senior players will receive another year of eligibility, here's a list of the top 25 most anticipated to watch next year, from BaseballAmerica. As the article notes, returns to their teams aren't guaranteed for a variety of reasons.
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