Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Take me out to the ball game...

Happy 4th of July everyone!  It's a day where we celebrate America!  And what could be more American than a day at the ball park!  Luckily for yours truly, I was able to spend a wonderful Sunday Afternoon recently in San Francisco at AT&T Ball Park.

From the moment you enter AT&T it just screams of the ultimate Baseball experience.  Entering in the Lefty O'Doul Gate, you know you aren't in some cookie cutter concrete jungle built a generation ago, but in a place that can only be hailed as a shrine to baseball's rich history, and successful present, in the city that is San Francisco.

All through AT&T you see the tribute payed to those who made baseball great in the City by the Bay.  Statutes and sculptures paying homage to Giant greats Willie Mays and Juan Marichal.  You have McCovey Cove, named after Willie McCovey, who, Bob Gibson (who himself is arguably one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game) once called "The scariest hitter of all time".  You have the gigantic sculptured glove in left field, a glove with only four fingers, to which the voice of baseball, Dodger's play-by-play great Vin Scully, once said "It only has four, because the Giants gave the finger to the Dodgers". AT&T is, in short, a west coast mecca for all that is baseball, a Ball Park on par with Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Camden Yards (for those of you asking where is Yankee Stadium, I refuse to endorse the home of A-Fraud, Alex Rodriguez!).

The game itself was great!  The West-Leading Giants took on the play-off contending Contending Cincinnati Reds.  Ryan Vogelsong took the mound for the Giants, giving a strong 7-inning performance that included 7 strikeouts for the Giants Ace.  Alas, the bullpen let the lead slip and the Giants entered the bottom of the 9th inning all tied up at 3.  With two outs, Giant Center Fielder Angel Pagan hit a perfectly placed walk off double to right field scoring All-Star Buster Posey, and giving the Giants the thrilling victory, giving a sell out crowd a reason to go home smiling.

But even if the Reds has managed to steal the victory, the fans would of gone home happy, because they got to spend a perfect summer afternoon, watching a game made for summer, in a Ball Park that is what others strive to be...a mecca for America's past time.

Until next time spot fans....

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For all you Pinterest fans out there....

Yes...the Spot has finally given in.  Joining the ranks of 'tweens and thirty-something soccer mom's everywhere...the Valley Sports Spot has now joined Pinterest.

Among the categories the Spot (and our wonderful readers if they'd like!) can "pin" pictures and what not, are: College Ball (for all things College related), The Beautiful Game (for all things soccer related), Old School (yep, break out those old Willis Reed Jerseys!), Sports Style (where I"ll be showing, and talking, about how putrid the latest University of Oregon Football Jersey is) and Places We Play (who doesn't love stadium pics! especially AT&T Park!).

So follow the link, and start pinning away!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Going Old School....

This past weekend, the Spot went Old School, and spent a good portion of Friday and Saturday at the Pacific Alumni Reunion Weekend.  Now I know what everyone's saying...."oh yet another blog post about the Spot's beloved Univ. of the Pacific"...well, I hear ya, so the Spot would like to take this post and explain exactly why he bleeds orange and black.

From when you first walk onto Pacific's campus, it just screams out, "This is what a college is supposed to be like".  The Brick and Ivy buildings, the tree lined walk ways, students whizzing by on skateboards.  The experience, my experience, at Pacific was second to none.  It was what college is supposed to be.  A time of innocence, a time of growth, turning a 17 yr old High School graduate from a town with more cows than people, to a young man ready to take on the world.

Only at a school like Pacific could one have the kind of experiences the Spot was able to experience.  Having that first serious girlfriend from that exotic and faraway locale called: West Covina.  A girlfriend who went by the nickname (to her credit one she readily claimed title to) of Lion Hair.  Sitting in your Political Science Class with one Professor Courtland Smith, where he proudly proclaimed "Beijing in the 14th Century made Venice look like....Turlock", and watching the look on his face as you raised your hand and said "ummm...professor, I'm from there".  Only at Pacific could you be sitting in your History class and have an All-American worthy Softball player sit right next to you, take her pen, and in a scene reminiscent of elementary school, mark on your arm all class long, because, well, she liked you.  Only at Pacific could you sit right under the Utah State basket as the Aggies paid the Spanos Center a visit to take on our Tigers for conference supremacy.  And only at Pacific could you be sitting under that basket, incessantly taunting Utah State's 6-8 red headed power forward, and then bravely hide behind one of the members of the Volleyball team after he'd had enough and came looking for you.  Last but not least, only at Pacific could you be about ready to start your intramural co-ed softball game,  realize that you're one girl short, and have all your teammates say in unison "Check the Phi Delt house".  Yes, we checked the Phi Delt house, and lo and behold, who comes walking out, but our missing female teammate.

Yes, Pacific was a special place, and a special time.  It's a place where we all feel like family, where we all hold a special bond, that we were, or still are, Tigers.  At Pacific we knew, we're all in this together, and we created friendships that last a life time.  At how many other schools could you still be on a first name basis with the Head Coaches for Softball, or Women's Soccer, or Professors you had 15 years ago.  Would the Athletic Director of say, Ohio State, or Alabama, have given an interview to a some blogger trying to write about the haves vs. have-nots of College Basketball?  Not unless the Spot was a million dollar booster.  But, Lynn King, while he was still the Athletic Director at Pacific, did, and the Spot was extremely grateful for his generosity.

So that, Spot fans, is why I bleed Orange and Black.  Why I'll be a Pacific Tiger until the day I day, and why, from time to time, you'll get to read my sometimes not so insightful take on all things Pacific.

Until next time fans....stay classy....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in...

Suprise!!!  Yes, back from a long hiatus, the Spot is on the prowl!  Why you might ask?  Well, to quote Al Pacino in an otherwise forget-able "Godfather III" (Andy Garcia?!?! Really?!?!)...Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!

Just who pulled me back in might you ask?....why the ever so wonderful wide world of sports in our lovely little corner of the planet!

But first, before I get to the matter at hand, you might ask, what has the spot been doing for the past nearly 10 months?  Well, glad you asked!  I have: Ran a professional indoor soccer team, lost 60 pounds, got voted onto the Pacific Alumni Association Board (Go Tigers!), dated an absolute whack job from the East Bay , ran a Congressional Primary Campaign, finally expunged the former "Mrs. #1" from his social life and crashed a wedding...and that's just the good stuff!

Now, onto why we're all here...why is the Spot tempted to start up again?  Well, first off, it's Euro2012 time!! (Sorry Joe Justin, there is no coverage of the Rugby World Cup, or scrum...or whatever they call it).  Now that the group stage is over, it's time to get to the good stuff...and I'm proud to report that yes, my beloved Portuguese National Team for once didn't under achieve, and are onto the quarterfinals vs. the Czech Republic.  The Spot's prediction?  In a scene reminiscent of downtown Prauge circa 1968, Christiano Ronaldo, who seems to be more concerned about playing soccer than appearing in Armani Underwear ads these days, and his Portuguese teammates steamroll over the Czechs, 3-0.

What else is on the Spot's mind?  Well, not suprisingly it has to do with his Alma Mater, the University of the Pacific!  After years of hoping, praying, and lighting the occasional candle in church, the Pacific Tigers are FINALLY joining the WCC!  The Spot says its about time!  Not only is it a better fit that gives Pacific natural regional rivalries with the USF Dons, St. Mary's Gaels and Santa Clara Broncos, but we (I'm on the Alumni Board, I'm allowed to say we now!) join a conference with nationally recognized hoops teams in Gonzaga, St. Mary's and BYU (out of respect for our Mormon friends, I shall refrain from drinking adult beverages on days when the Cougars Men's Hoops team visits the Spanos Center...ok...on second thought....).  I'm already salivating at the thought of some absolutely awesome games at the Spanos Center on a yearly basis!

As an added bonus, now that Pacific is joining the WCC, it will be fielding a men's soccer team...can I hear a double yippee that new addition!  Since Stagg Stadium is as old as Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Pacific will be building a brand spanking new soccer stadium to house both it's men's and women's Soccer Teams.  What's it look like you might ask?  How can I donate (don't like, you know you want to)....well, field specs. and a donation form for those who might want to help advance the cause of the beautiful game here in the valley can be found RIGHT HERE.

That's all for now, hope everyone is as happy that the Spot's back as I am...and stay tuned for the very next installment of everyone's favorite, The Valley Sports Spot!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's a free futbol Sunday! (or, the Pacific Women's Soccer 2010 outlook!)

It's 8:30 on a Sunday Morning and while most on the West Coast might still be sleeping...yours truly is up and at 'em for the day.  But why might you ask?  Cause its a free futbol Sunday! (and hey, if it's free, I'm there!).  The Spot himself (ok ok, more like the company who pays his bills, Barnes & Noble) will be co-hosting the Pacific Women's Soccer Team's annual "Community Night" as they take on the Lady Hornets of Sacramento State at 6pm under the lights (by the 2nd half at least!) of UOP's Stagg Memorial Stadium.  Rumor also has it that a certain "Big Red Dog" by the name of Clifford will also be making a special appearance...and yes kids, the rumor is true...feel free to grab him by the tail all you want!.

Which leads us to the Pacific Women's Soccer team itself.  I could reinvent the wheel and give my season preview on the team...but hey, its way to early in the morning for that!  So I give you the Stockton Record preview of this year's team.  To make a long story short...Coach Keith Coleman is excited about the prospects of this year's team and it looks like he has good reason to be.  He returns midfielder Marciela Padilla, who scored 8 goals last year even though she missed more than half the season with injury, along with first team conference players Angelica Figueroa and Kylee Ah Choy.

After going 1-1 in Hawaii to start the season (win over the Univ. of Hawaii, loss to Wagner Univ.), Pacific starts an 8 game stretch which probably gives them one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the West Coast, including games vs. perennial power Santa Clara University and four PAC-10 foes (Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State).

Will this year result in the Tiger's first NCAA tournament apperance since 1998 (When they beat Cal to advance to the 2nd round)?  That we'll have to wait to see...but in the meantime....if you're in the Stockton area...come on out to Pacific tonight at's fun, it's free...what a better way to end your weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Fall Preview....Pacific Tigers Golf

What's that?...a Tiger on the golf course? no no...put away the paparazzi cameras and groupies need not apply!   I'm not talking about the Tiger we all think of when it comes to golf...I'm talking about the Pacific Tiger's Golf Team.  Not only are they snazzy dressers (seriously, who doesn't love the sweater vest action!) but they're pretty good on the links too!  So without further is your Fall 2010 Pacific Tigers Golf Preview....

With Head Coach Brandon Goethals’ first recruiting class at Pacific all seniors, the Tigers should be favorite to win the Big West Conference for the first time in more than a decade. The Tigers finished runner-up last year in the Big West Conference and return their entire team, while perennial powerhouse UC Irvine lost Conference POY John Chin. The Tigers play one of the strongest West Coast schedules, including trips to Washington’s Husky Invitational, Stanford’s Palm Springs’ Prestige, and the Callaway Match-Play in Georgia featuring the Top 16 teams in the nation this spring. 

The Tigers are lead for the fourth year in a row by TJ Bordeaux, who starts off the year by playing in his second US Amateur in his home state of Washington. Local product Patrick Kucich (St. Mary’s) is also a team leader for the third year in a row and expect huge contribution from senior Alex Johnson (team and indiviudal win last year) and 2010 US Amatuer qualifier Alex Edort (sophomore). A good recruiting class for the Tigers in 2010 adds freshman Matt Ogden of Salinas and San Diego native Alex Wagner.

The year is also highlighted by the Pacific Invitational in November at Brookside Country Club. The invitational is regarded as one of the top five collegiate tournaments in the country thanks in no small part to incredible amenites, the 3-day format and the hype surrounding the popular event. 

This is the make it or break it year for the Tigers as they have steadily improved over the past five years since Goethals took over, but have yet to taste postseason play as a team or indiviudally. Two victories in two years, plus two more individual wins in the past three years give the Tigers plently of experience as the core of the team has been together for the past four years. The Tigers have crossed numerous hurdles as a program but are still looking to establish themselves as the West Coast force that head coach Brandon Goethals envisoned when he took over in 2005. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 spin me right 'round baby right round....

Yes, that's how the Spot feels after today's WAC/MWC rat-a-tat-tat...for those who haven't been able to keep up with the breakneck pace of things...let's recap....

  • BYU pretty much ups and says they're leaving the MWC, going independent in football, a la Notre Dame, and landing in the WAC in all other sports.
  • Conventional wisdom has the WAC staying together to create a very strong Basketball Conference with BYU, Utah St., New Mexico St., Nevada and Fresno St. being the power players in the new and improved WAC for men's hoops.
  • the MWC turns around and invites both Nevada and Fresno St. to join....
  • Nevada and Fresno St. say "see ya" to the WAC, showing that football is driving the bus here, giving the MWC a fairly strong football conference with Boise St., TCU, Nevada and Fresno St. the cream of the crop football wise.
Are you still with me?...good, cause now we have this little snippet from an ESPN article on today's events...
         "WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich told early Wednesday the league would be interested in pursuing BYU for all sports except football. Zaninovich said BYU would fit well with the other church-based institutions in the eight-team league."

That would leave the West Coast Conference with 9 teams...10 would be ideal for travel parings...hmm...I wonder what other private university on the West Coast could be the ideal fit for the WCC to bring it to an even 10?...wait for it....wait for it...yes, that's right....the Alma mater of your's truly, the Pacific Tigers.  A WCC in men's hoops with Gonzaga, BYU, St. Mary's, Pacific, and in good years a team like USD, Portland and Santa Clara...easily the best mid-major league in the nation...possibly creeping up into major status, and definitely a regular multi-bid league.

Where does this leave a now 6 team WAC?  Looking towards the Big West and possibly poaching UC Davis and Cal Poly SLO.  Where does that leave the Big West?  Unfortunately for the remaining schools...nearly dead.

But that's neither here nor there.  As for now, things are looking up for Fresno State Football, and might possibly be looking up for Pacific Athletics as a whole...hold on to your seats everyone, this is far from over....