The extreme length of the post was seemingly causing problems with the blog. So, I have split it up. This post is the introduction and details the game itself. The post below includes some random shots of the day and a conclusion.
The atmosphere in Berkeley yesterday was great. There were a lot of events going on, so, while parking was near impossible to find (had to park at Milvia and Francisco !), there were a LOT of people out and about. Besides the b-ball game, there was also a track meet and tennis match all in that local area. Plus, there was some sort of festival downtown, making parking even worse. And it looked like there was a high school debate competition or something, because there were a lot of younger kids on campus in suits practicing speeches to each other. Not sure exactly what that was, but it just heightened the sense of humanity.
Though, I would have HATED to be in a suit yesterday.
I met Ragnarok and his fiancee down at Evans Diamond yesterday. That diamond always has special memories for me, because the marching band used to practice there a lot. Not sure if they still do. I can even remember my first practice there last millennium. Just added to the atmosphere. Tickets are only 8 bucks (tho if I hadn’t lost my Cal ID lo those many moons ago, I prolly coulda gotten in for free). Then again, it does go to a good cause, so 8 bucks is not a small problem for payment. Very reasonable fee. And look how close you get to the game:
That is the team celebrating scoring our first run of the day. The screen ruins the photo slightly, but sitting behind the screen is important. The combination of metal bats, quickly pitched balls, and close proximity can spell danger. Even if the ball doesn’t come screaming foul off the bat, it can still end well. There is a small lawn area down the 3rd base line, most of which is behind the shield. One hitter hit a looping foul ball that just made it over the screen and nearly hit a seated gentleman right in the crotch.
But, more importantly, look at how excited the team is. They spent most of the time standing on the edge of the grass cheering on their teammates. When a pick off attempt was made, they yelled "back" in unison. Although I doubt that the runner would enough time to hear them yell, recognize their command, and get back without getting picked off, it shows the passion and emotional energy of the team. And when a run was scored (and we only scored 2), the went out to celebrate near home plate. The only time I ever see anything like that at the pro level is if it is a game winning home run. Not for a clean hit knocking in a run.
Now, we were facing the UNLV Rebels. Here is the Cal recap. And here is the boxscore. I kinda felt bad for their team. Every major sports star was at their school this weekend and they were out here in California. Their friends were trying their hardest to sneak into parties left and right and they were stuck in Berkeley. But I didn’t feel so bad that I want them to win. They, however, disagreed as they quickly hung 2 runs on our pitcher, Tyson Ross.
Only 1 of which was earned, tho. Cal had 3 errors on the day. Given that the score was 3-2, that unearned run was the difference in the game. Oh well. Ross calmed down after the first. He went 7.1 giving up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned. But that 3rd run was the killer.
UNLV led 2-1 for most of the day. In the bottom of the 7th, Cal made some noise. #5, who I later found out to be Brett Munster, walked to first.
That’s him arriving at first. He quickly took a lead.
The coach came over to give instructions to 5 and scout out the opposing pitcher.
And then Munster moved onto 2nd when the catcher (who is apparently Bob Brenley’s son) had a passed ball.
Then, a balk. And quickly Munster was on 3rd.
#9 is Jon Zuber, who was a great Cal player in his own right. More importantly, he is the son of one of my elementary school teachers. Go Mrs. Zuber! They have him up on the big billboards in the outfield.
BTW, they really need to get Kent out there. I heard Kent and the current coach had a big fight or something and they hate each other. Fair enough, but Kent is BY FAR the most well known Cal baseball alum. Whatever.
So, we had a player on 3rd on a walk, passed ball, and balk. Not a single hit, yet. I can’t remember Cal attempting to steal a base yesterday, but they were making a lot of noise on the basepaths, because there were 3 balks and a passed ball. Pinch hitter Michael Capbarat was up at bat.
He took the first pitch, can’t remember whether ball or strike.
He took the next pitch, which was low and inside.
And then smacked the next ball into right field.
It was caught, but it was enough to score Munster from 3rd on a sacrifice fly.
And on to part II