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....

...Just when you thought the dust had settled...

Should I stay or should I go now?  That's the question Fresno State has to be asking itself this morning...just when you thought all the dust from conference re-alignment had settled...BYU decides to do this.  BYU has decided to go the route of another major religion based university (i.e Notre Dame) and go independent in Football and join the WAC in all other sports....and yes, those screeches you hear are from all the Boise State fans who are now asking, "What the &*#@?!?!?!"

The decision by BYU actually makes sense.  The Mormon Church gives them a following to allow them to be a draw in football and as a result give them a much easier time putting together a high profile schedule a la Notre Dame.  The fact that BYU also has it's own television network will also be appealing to the football schedule makers.  Just where would BYU schedule in football?  California is an obvious choice....the strength of the BYU football program along with the large Mormon population in California makes scheduling games vs. the likes of USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford a no brainer.

Now this is the part where Fresno State comes in.  BYU as an independent in football would allow for a greater chance to have the Cougars come to Bulldog Stadium, and vice versa, thus helping Fresno State in it's flagship sport.  BYU's move to the WAC in all other sports only strengthens the WAC, especially in the other flagship sport, Men's College Basketball.  A WAC roster of BYU, Utah State, New Mexico State, Fresno State and Nevada automatically makes it one of the tougher mid-major conferences in the nation.

But...but....but....what if the Mountain West now comes calling and wants Fresno State for expansion?  It would be a better league in football (for the time being....I'm sure that TCU is looking for an out clause as we speak) but in all other sports, it would now be a step down, especially in Men's Basketball.

So when all is said and disappointed as Fresno State fans were that they weren't included in this summer's games of conference musical chairs...looks like things will come out alright for them in the end after all...go figure

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another Saturday Night at "The Wagon"

If it's Saturday Night Soccer that can only mean one thing...the Spot was out at "The Wagon" once again to see the FC Gold Pride take on the Washington Freedom.  With a playoff birth and at least one home play off game guaranteed, the Pride are looking to close things out and clinch first place and the automatic spot in the WPS Championship Game (and the right to host the Championship Game)...alas...that will have to wait for a future date as the Freedom hung on by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins for a 0-0 tie.  Although it was the third straight scoreless game for the Gold Pride (and third straight tie), Coach Albertin seemed upbeat that the ladies played much better today than the previous two weeks.  Per usual, here are the post-game interviews...this week with DC Coach Jim Gabarra, Gold Pride and USWNT Midfielder Shannon Boxx and Coach Albertin...enjoy!

DC Coach Jim Gabarra

Shannon Boxx

Coach Albertin Montoya

'Till next time Spot fans...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

College ball (of all sorts) is back!

Well Spot Fans, after a bit of a break (to now become an official resident of the City of Stockton!) its time to get back on the horse.  Since we're nearing the middle of August that means that all sorts of College Ball is just around the corner!  In the coming week...your's truly will take a look at the upcoming seasons for:

Fresno State Football
Pacific Women's Soccer
Sacramento State Football
UC Davis Football
Pacific Volleyball
Pacific Golf

How will they do?  Is there a Bowl Game in store for the Bulldogs this year?  Can Pacific Volleyball make it back to the NCAA Tourney?  Will the Pacific Golf Team continue to be the best dressed outfit this side of a David Beckham sideline sighting? (I want one of their sweater vests please!)....only one way to find out! Stay tuned for more from the Spot!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A new College for the Valley...

There's a  new College here in California's Central Valley.  Now before you, it won't be trying to join the Pac-Whatever they call it now....or trying to get a ticket to March Maddness on a yearly fact it won't even field any athletic teams.  Why is the Spot bring up this new College then you may ask?  Because if you're lucky enough, one day, your sons or daughters...nieces or nephews...grandchildren even...may be taught, or for our purposes here at the Sports Spot, coached, by one of it's graduates.

Teacher's College of San Joaquin, located in Stockton, just recently celebrated it's one year anniversary (word on the street has it that the anniversary cake was quite good!).  Created for those College Graduates seeking to enter the teaching profession (hence the name...of course!), Teacher's College seeks to be an innovative, collaborative institution that seeks to help reform California's current K-12 educational system (side note here....our current K-12 public ed. system can use all the help it can get!) by making sure that its graduates are successful not only in a traditional teaching environment, but also in carrer oriented and other multiple educational pathways.

Ok, enough of the talk that sounds like it belongs in a glossy catalog.  Why exactly is the Spot writing about a graduate college that will most likely have it's only athletic event be a slow pitch softball game at the annual school picnic? Because as mentioned before, their graduates will mostly likely be our future elementary, Jr. High and High School coaches to thousands of our son's and daughter's.  Because having a College that teaches its student's to think outside the box can only be a good thing for our future generation.  And because as a guy who coached High School Basketball for 3 years, I know that more often than not, Coaches can have a greater impact on our school age children than almost any adult they encounter not named mom or dad. We are mentors and role models for our future generation..

Need more proof?  Take it from the NFL's Brian Waters, Offensive Lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs, who nominated the NFL's 2008 Teacher of the year, George Solis, Spanish Teacher at Waxahachie High School in Texas:
          "“I had heard of George Solis before I took Spanish. I think everyone in Waxahachie has   heard of him. He migrated from Mexico and split his time at Waxahachie High School in the classroom and in the cotton fields. Like most in this area of Texas, he needed to work in order to help his family make ends meet. His unwavering support and confident candor has taught me and countless other Waxahachieians about more than just the language of Spanish. He taught us to give our all and how to be successful. Most importantly, he taught us how to accept the consequences of our actions.”

Or take it from your's truly, and one of my biggest influences growing up (and former Hilmar H.S. History Teacher and Vice-Principal) my High School Basketball Coach, Alan Peterson.  Coach Peterson accepted me for the semi-talented, highly eccentric, ball player that I was.  But more importantly, taught me that there is more to growing up, and being an adult, than just who had the most points at the end of four quarters.  He taught us that there are much more important things in life, like family, and the type of person you are.  That it's about doing what's right not only in front of a packed gym, but also when no one else is looking.  Those are lessons that I somehow lost along the way, but was lucky enough to remember, and reapply, not only to myself, but also to those that I coached for my three unforgetable years (yes, the good, the bad and the ugly kinda unforgetable) as "Coach Lee".

So there you have it Spot Fans.  If you're as excited about Teacher's College as I am...then look 'em up on Facebook and become a fan...follow them on twitter (@teachcollegesj) and get their latest up to the minute news...and be confident in knowing that they are producing the coaches, teachers and role models that our next generation will be looking to for role models.

"Till next time....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Whats on the Pacific Men's Basketball Docket This Year....

For those of you get the "Pacific Digest" mailed to you on a quarterly basis from the Pacific Athletic the latest edition you'll find the Athletic Department Calendar for 2010-11 that also includes...yes, you guessed it....the Men's Basketball Schedule.

While the schedule isn't totally complete (TBA's for home games on 11/20, 12/11 and 12/21) here are the non-conference highlights (I'm guessing all Pacific fans can guess who we play in conference):

Non-Conference Away:
11/12: UTEP
11/15-16: Pre-Season NIT @ UCLA (Pacific, UCLA, Pepperdine & Nevada- since we play Pepperdine again, I'm guessing our first game in the Pre-Season NIT is vs. Nevada).
12/4: Texas A&M
12/18: New Mexico State

Non-Conference Home:
11/7: Chico State (Pre-Season warm up I'm guessing)
11/20: TBA
12/1: Pepperdine
12/11: TBA
12/14: Santa Clara
12/21: TBA

The Tigers Start Big West Conference play on 12/28 with a trip to Cal State No-Place...err...I mean Northridge.

So what say you Tiger fans...or College Basketball fans in general....what do you think of the Tiger's Non-conference schedule?  Glad to see Coach T. loading up with some quality games?  Suprised that it looks like some teams are afraid to come to the Spanos Center (yes, I'm talking to you Fresno State...and Cal...and San Diego...and Gonzaga...and the list goes on and on)

'Till next time Spot Fans....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Spot gets some airtime....

You know that nothing good can come out of putting a microphone in front of your's truly!  Yet as luck would have it...Matt Beckwith from Podcast Stockton did a short little interview with the Spot in his new role helping out the California Cougars.  Out segment starts at minute if you wanna get a good chuckle (hey, I'm able to weave in Ron Burgandy AND Jack Tripper into the interview!), then take a listen!

Interview with Podcast Stockton

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lights, Dugouts...and some really great Softball

Well Spot fans...when it comes to college programs with a track record of success here in the Valley, we usually think of Pacific Basketball and Volleyball, Fresno State Football, Modesto Christian Basketball (ok, so maybe they're a high school team, they could probably take out a few college teams with all that talent!)...but tucked away on the University of the Pacific campus is a program that has consistently produced winners, yet hasn't gotten the attention of it's more well known brethern...the Pacific Tigers Softball Team.

Led by Coach Brian Kolze (whom the Spot can tell you from personal experience, is a GREAT guy...and hooked the Spot up with Ms. #1's now favorite gray Nike Softball hoodie)...Pacific Softball has produced 11 NCAA tournament apperances, 1 College World Series apperance, 1 Super Regional apperance...and one coach with a great profile story done on ESPN. 

Yet with all the success, the program, seeking to keep up with the "jonses" of West Coast Softball, continues to seek ways to improve.  Pacific currently plays it's home games at Bill Simoni Field, which, while being one of the best places to catch a game that your's truly can think missing two key ingredients...lights and actual dug outs.

That's where the Pacific Athletic Department's "Lights, Dugout, Action!" campaign comes in.  Just why does the home of Tigers Softball need lights and dugouts?  Well who doesn't like to catch a game under the lights in the cool spring air?  And wouldn't a night game...or two...or three make it just that much more convenient for you to take a nice break from your work week routine and catch some Tiger Softball action?  As for the dugouts...come on now...doesn't every ball field worth it's weight in rawhide and aluminum bats need a dugout?  Remember how fun it was to be in your little league dugout singing "we need a pitcher....not a belly itcher...)...shouldn't your Lady Tigers get to do the same? (ok ok, maybe minus the "belly itcher" chant!)

So what say you Tiger fans and alumni?  Coach Kolze and his Lady Tigers have given us a program that we can be proud of...a program that has produced winners on the diamond AND in the classroom....if you're like me and feel like it's time we show him a little appreciation then just click HERE and get ready for a little Tiger Softball under the lights!

'Till next time....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oh Canada.... home and native land...oh Canada...oh who's the Spot kidding, eh?  It was another wonderful Saturday night at the "Wagon" as the FC Gold Pride took out the Philadelphia Independence (interesting side note sticking with the independence theme that only your's truly would know...Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom" was done in honor of tennis great Billie Jean King, who at the time was a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis, and her victory over Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" ...'cause I live and breath this Philadelphia freedom) 2-0 on what was billed as "Canada Day' at the Wagon.

Whats that you say? "Canada Day"?  Yes, there are still people out there who believe that Canada is actually an independent country, and not the 51st State of the United States that we all know it is (yes, that was for my Canadian relatives in the lovely Toronto area!).  In a performance that was fitting for "Canada Day", both Gold Pride goals were scored by Christine Sinclair, who is, you guessed it, Canadian (from British Columbia to be exact).

Per usual, we have the post game interviews...special warning for this week's interviews.  The Spot had to use his allegedly "smart" phone (Samsung Code to be exact) which didn't pick up the answers to well, especially with the background either pump up the volume or pay close attention for this week's Q&A.

The Gold Pride's next home game is their "Think Pink" game August 7th at 7pm vs. the Chicago Red Stars.  But just as important, lets all gear up for their August 14th, 7pm "Tweetup" game vs. the Washington Freedom...and yes...the "tweetup" was the brain child of your's truly (ok, more like I stole the idea from the SF Giants who had one in April...but hey, all's fair in sports and social media!).  So if you're on Twitter, call in for special "tweetup" ticket rates and stay after the game to meet up with FC Gold Pride players who are also fellow "tweeters"!

'Till next time....

Post Game Interviews (sorry for this week's sound quality!):

Marta (yes, as usual, it's in Portuguese) 

FC Gold Pride Coach Albertin Montoya

FC Gold Pride 'Keeper Brittany Cameron

Friday, July 16, 2010

Twitter me this...Twitter me that...

Well my fellow Spotonians....It's a Thursday night...and while getting ready for my trip to the ever so lovely San Luis Obispo area...and after taking in a pretty damn exciting Stockton Ports game (walk off Home Run win + Thirsday Thursday $2 dollar beer night = SOLID!) I decided...yep, time to give out a little more social media love.

But who does the social media love go to this time?  No, not the University of Utah, this time it goes to my favorite women's soccer team (NO NO NO, not the one Playboy puts out every four years!)...the FC Gold Pride.  And just what has the FC Gold Pride done to earn such love?...they're having a "Tweet Up!"  A "Tweet Up" you ask? make a long story's a bunch of people who use twitter and  "Tweet" with each other...meeting up in person to mix, mingle, have a few adult beverages...and just all in all have a good time.

The Gold Pride's Tweet Up is scheduled for their August 14th game vs. the Washington Freedom with special $12 dollar tickets (it's $12 dollars people...that's less than it costs to park your car for 10 minutes in San Francisco!) and with Gold Pride players (and fellow tweeters) Kristen Graczyk (@kristengraczyk) & Candace Chapman (@chappie95) along with Gold Pride GM Illisa Kessler (@fcgoldpridegm) all scheduled to appear at the post game Tweet Up to meet and greet the fans....and yes tackle those tough Tweet Up questions! (here's to hoping none of the questions involve "bieber fever" or "do you follow Ashton Kutcher too?") .  For more information on the Gold Pride's Tweet Up...just click HERE.  In the meantime...kudos to the Gold Pride for coming up with new ways to reach out to their community and fan base.  The more one thinks about it...the more sports and social media are a match made in heaven...and it's always good to see a team like the Gold Pride tackle something new and innovative to make the game just that much more of a memorable experience!

That's all for now Spot back to your regularly scheduled programing....

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup withdrawl and other topics of note....

Yes, its the day more Copa del Mundo.  The Spanish are the champions, and say what you will...they win ugly...they're boring...they only win 1-0...they still win...and when you get to that level in the world of sports...that's all that matters.

So how does yours truly deal with "World Cup Withdrawal Syndrome"?  Well for starters, we still got lots of great soccer here in Northern California.  The FC Gold Pride of the WPS currently sit in first place, the San Jose Earthquakes take on Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premire League, and Stockton's own the California Cougars look to make it three straight playoff seasons starting this fall.  Speaking of Stockton....

That brings us to the other reason for this post...Football (specifically the College variety, I'll leave the NFL to the big boys at the big networks) doesn't start till late August, so just what will the Spot talk about between now and then?  Never fear fans...I've got LOTS to talk about!  In the upcoming weeks you'll see stories about my comical attempts at rowing (OK, at least I think it's funny!), my trip down to Cal Poly SLO to see how their Athletic Department does its marketing on the beach (oh no, spending time in San Luis Obispo, its rough I know!), why Stockton is lagging behind other cities in landing or creating compelling sporting events and yes, there is a rumor that the Spot might put on the old school roller skates and do a little roller derby!!

That's all for now Spot fans...'till next time....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Social Media Marketing and the Sports World: Utah Utes Women's Soccer

On occasion, your's truly likes to take himself semi-seriously and actually take a look at some rather interesting and timely topics when it comes to the world of sports.  Well, I woke up this morning and decided, "today, will be one of those days".

As we all pretty much know, the Spot loves his soccer.  He loves it in all shapes and forms...from the World Cup, to WPS & MLS, to the indoor's fun, it's exciting, and hey, I'm Portuguese, there's some sorta law saying I have to dig the footy!  In the pantheon of the soccer landscape that we have here in the United States is one branch of the soccer tree that, unless you go to the University of North Carolina, doesn't get that much attention...Women's College Soccer.  Now in most places, it gets about as many fans in attendence as there are those taking an o-chem final...which is unfortunate since it is the college scene that gives us our stars of the National Team....the women who bring home the Olympic gold and that we'll be seeing in next year's Women's World Cup.

Now, most programs and athletic departments could just accept the status quo...that women's soccer is a minor college sport in most places, and let it play away in relative obscurity...or, they could do something about it, and try to not only grow the sport, but the strength and popularity of their program.  After all, more fans equals better game day atmosphere equals more revenue for the program equals an easier time recruiting wise.  Of course that leads us to the question...and they're going to afford this how?  Let's face, college athletic department's today are run like a buisness.  You put your resources...and dollars...into those sports which bring in the dollars for your department.  In other'll see a whole lot of advertising and marketing for football, men's basketball and even women's basketball (if you happen to be a resident of Storrs, Conneticut) but not so much for women's soccer.  So this begs the question...just how do you do expand the reach and popularity of your program if you don't have the resources dollar wise...well the answer might come soon enough, and it would be coming from the University of Utah.

Utah you say?  Hot bed of soccer in America? (ok, to be fair, Real Salt Lake are the defending MLS Champs and they do a good job of filling up Rio Tinto Stadium).  Well, it seems as if the Lady Utes have developed quite the marketing campaign that intergrates both their internet web page presence, facebook, and's called "Show your Scarf"...and the Spot likes it!  

The "Show your Scarf" premise is fans love their soccer, if you go to the official web site for Utah Women's Soccer, you'll see that for the whopping total of $20 dollars you get a Utah Utes Women's Soccer Scarf, which also doubles as your season ticket!  Don't know about you, but sounds like a deal to me.  But the fun doesn't end there, and that is where "Show your Scarf" comes into play.

The Lady Utes, you see, are making their campaign interactive, and asking fans to "show your scarf".  They are asking fans to take pictures with their scarves...well, where ever!  Around campus, around town, Times Square, get the point.  Once you take your pics showing your scarf, they then ask you to upload it to team's facebook page and to post it on twitter, using the hash tag #sys (for show your scarf of course!)  so that anyone in the twitterverse (as they call it) can just type in #sys and up will come links to fans of the Lady Ute's...with their scarves.  Already you have pictures of the #sys campaign with scarves on the John Stockton Statue (John Stockton, Steve Nash...looks like point guards from the Northwest all love the soccer!), outside of the Utah State Capitol and yes, even scarves on a buffalo!  Of course, for a more in depth look at the #sys campaign, I suggest you head on over to the blog of Lady Utes Assistant Coach Mariel Wilner , a fellow social media enthusiast who gives a detailed account of what the #sys campaign hopes to accomplish and how they plan on doing's a great read for us social media types!

So what does the Spot thing of this?...He likes it, he loves it, he wants some more of it!  It's a great marketing campaign using minimal resources dollar wish to create the greatest possible buzz....they may want to pattent this one, because if it succeeds it could be a model for programs across the country (are you listening my alma mater, University of the Pacific?)...oh yeah, and the scarf is pretty snazzy too...I'm definitley ordering one!

That's all for now...till next time...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Spotlight on....The Atwater Aviators

Yes Spot fans...your's truly has been a little pre-occupied con el Copa del Mundo it's time to bring things back closer to home and put the spotlight on a local team that's been on a tear of late...the Atwater Aviators of the Pacific West Baseball Leauge.

After having started the season 3-13...the Aviators have taken off (yeah yeah, pun intended) and are 10-1 in their last 11 games to currently stand 13-14 overall, and 9-7 in leauge.

What has led to this current  hot streak?  Well, on a team full of college baseball players from across the United States, its none other than local product Kori Melo. The Aviator's 10-1 run began with the game in which Melo joined the Aviator's roster and the Merced College product (now playing for Newman University) takeover of both 3rd base and the lead off spot in the batting order have helped propel the Aviators (ok ok today's story is just full of puns....I can't help it!) on their current tear through the PWBL.

Interested in seeing if the Aviators can keep up their hot streak?  Just wanna support some great local baseball?  Then catch the Aviators July 8th thru the 11th as they take on the Clovis Reds and the Sacramento Legends at Atwater's Memorial Ballpark.  It's sure to be a great time on a hot summer night...and that  you just can't beat!

'Till next time....

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's the 4th of July Weekend!!....

It's the 4th of July Weekend Spot fans....which means lots of BBQing...lots of...umm...."adult beverages"....and lots of getting out and about!  Still looking for some ideas on the "out and about" portion of the weekend....well lucky for you, the Spot has some suggestions!....

Friday July 2nd and Saturday July 3rd- Modesto Nuts v. Bakersfield Blaze- John Thurman Field- Modesto: Both games start at 7pm, both games feature post-game fireworks and you can run the bases with your lil' ones after both games...really, can you go wrong with either date?  The Spot thinks no!

Saturday July 3rd
Manteca 4th of July Parade- Gonna be in Manteca this weekend?  The California Cougars will be!  They'll be having a float in Manteca's annual 4th of July Parade, starting at 10am on Saturday.  Rumor has is the words "free" and "candy" will be associated with their float entry also!

Elk Grove 10k/5k Run 4 Independence- Elk Grove Regional Park: Race starts at 8am.  Click here for more information.  Proceeds go to benefit Elk Grove Food Bank Service.

Sunday July 4th
Stockton Ports v. Modesto Nuts- Stockton Ballpark- Stockton: The Ports take on their rivals from Modesto with a 7pm start.  The Ports will wear special "Stars and Stripes" jerseys to be auctioned off after the game...and of course, the biggest (and only) fireworks show in Stockton this 4th!

Monday July 5th
World Team Tennis- Sacramento Capitals v. Newport Beach Breakers- Capitals Stadium- 7:30pm-Roseville:  Who wants to hang with Chang?  6-Time World Team Tennis Champions Sacramento Capitals kick off their 25th Anniversary season with former French Open Champ Michael Chang on the Roster.  Keep that Wimbeldon fix going with some great tennis at Capitals Stadium that is...yes...set up at the Westfield Galleria I hear some shopping multi-tasking?!?!

Big Creek Lumber Criterium- Castle Commerce Center- 8am- Atwater:  Need to get fired up for the Tour de France?  Then head on down to Atwater Monday morning as the Big Creek Lumber Criterium brings professional cycling to the valley for the 2nd time this year.  It's a great way to support a new valley event...and get yourself in the mood for this month's tour de lance...err...I mean France!

Well...there you go Spot fans! Take your pick of events and have a great time this 4th of July weekend!...'till next time....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where's my Vuvuzela!!

Well Spot's day 2 of  no World Cup games and it's got the Spot asking...where's my Vuvuzela?!?!  No no no...actually, it's given the Spot some time to look at the upcoming Quarterfinal matches and give his take on who's moving on....

Friday's Matches:

Brazil v. Holland- 7am- ESPN- Yes, we all know everyone is picking Brazil in this one...and the Spot does think KaKa looks quite snazzy in the mock t-neck set up...but...the Spot's dad did pay for a Univ. of the Pacific Education by making Gouda, Edam and a whole variety of other Dutch I'm going with Holland on this one...2-1 for the Dutch.

Uruguay v. Ghana- 11:30am- ESPN-  Uruguay has one of the world's best goal scorers in Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid.  Ghana took out our boys in blue last you really need to ask who I'm pulling for in this one?...Uruguay with the 3-1 victory.

Saturday's Matches:

Argentina v. Germany- 7am- ABC- Let's face it, this is more worthy of a World Cup Final then it is of a Quarterfinal...but alas, we have Diego Maradona's boys v. the team that puts the TEAM in team.  While Germany may function as a well oiled unit, 11 guys working together and not one star that sticks out, they still haven't had to face anyone who can even hold Lionel Messi's shin guards yet...Take the Argentines, 2-1, Messi with both goals.

Paraguay v. Spain- 11:30am- ABC- The Spanish took out my Portuguese...which probably wouldn't of happened if one Cristiano Ronaldo spent less time with the Armani Underwear and more time learning how to be a team player...but I much as I hate to say it, the Spanish are just that good...and Paraguay wasn't exactly impressive in their win over Japan...take the Spanish, 3-0...oh, and By the Spanish Goalkeeper Iker Casillas...nice job on the girlfriend!!

There ya go Spot do my picks stack up against yours?  Am I right on the money, or do you think I'm a little off my rocker?  Only one way to find out...enjoy this weekend's games!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It was a scorcher at "The Wagon"

Every stadium, arena, field, etc. etc. worth its weight in...well...anything, needs it's very own nickname. University of New Mexico has "The Pit"...Urban Meyer and Company have "The Swamp", LSU has "Death Valley" on and so forth.  With this in mind, those of us in Press Row at this past Sunday's FC Gold Pride vs. Sky Blue FC match (ok...ok... maybe it was just myself and Giovanni Albanese Jr. from decided the appropriate nickname for the FC Gold Pride's Pioneer Stadium would be...drum roll please..."The Wagon"!  Get it...Pioneers....coming over in Wagons...well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!

Ok, onto the important stuff...the Gold Pride suffered their first home defeat, 2-0 to Sky Blue FC (from New York/New Jersey, and they had on orange uniforms...yep, even the Spot was a bit confused!) in what was a lethargic (and HOT!) first half.  Lucky for those of  us in the  nice Air Conditioned Press Box...and those sticking through the heat in the stands, things picked up in the 2nd half to create an up and down game that kept things lively.  Here are the match's post game interviews...and no Spot fans...there were no interviews in Portuguese this time! (a big shout out to Giovanni who is a fellow contributor in the Q&A sessions...and also owes me a picture of those Dunkin' Donuts hasbrowns he keeps raving about!):

Sky Blue FC Coach Pauliina Miettinen

FC Gold Pride Coach Albertin Montoya

Sky Blue FC Goalkeeper (and member of the English Women's National Team) Karen Bardsley

Sky Blue FC's Christine Rampone

FC Gold Pride's Rachel Buehler

One final note....Sky Blue's Karen Bardsley has both the Notorious B.I.G AND Al Green in her IPod...tell the Spot that isn't as close to perfection as you can get!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where will YOU be watching?....

It's almost here Spot fans...time for Team USA to take on the Black Stars of Ghana in the World Cup's version of the "Sweet 16" (game is a on 1 day at a time! ....still need an idea for where to watch the game with your fellow Americans (and soccer lovers in general?)....well, here are a few suggestions...much thanks to "Go USA Bid", the official website of the U.S. bid to bring the World Cup back to the United States...for providing the locations...

Stockton- 856 Restaurant and Lounge, 856 w. Ben Holt in the Lincoln Shopping Center, corner of Ben Holt and Pacific.  This watch party is being put on by the California Cougars of the PASL and the Stockton Stars FC.  Not only do you get to watch the game with a great group of Stocktonians...but there are games, prizes...and yes, even a bounce house!...enough said!  Doors open at 10:30am

Modesto- Uno Chicago Grill, 1533 Oakdale Rd., Modesto  CA...Party starts at 11am...15 LCD TVs and $2 dollar beers on tap...$2 bucks huh?...better hope things don't get TOO rowdy!!

Modesto- P Wexford's Pub, 3313 McHenry, Modesto  CA...Kudos to P Wexford's for being open early for the U.S./Algeria match...looking to get a great crowd like the last ones I just mentioned!

Well there ya go Spot fans!  If ya need to get out...there are some of your choices....or you can just enjoy the game in the comfort of your own home...either way, lets be sure to cheer on our boys!! as Larry the Cable guy would say..."get're done!! Team USA!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Soccer Represents America...

Well Spot fans...we know two things, a) unless you live under a rock, you know that the U.S. Men's National Team pulled off a dramatic, with a Capital D, win, today to advance to the round of 16 in the World Cup, where they'll play Ghana on Saturday (11am our time) and b) the Spot loves his soccer.  Yes, it's a great day to be both an American AND a soccer fan...but then again, every day is a great day to be an American and a fan of the footy...why?  Because soccer represents all that America is about...

You can see it in our Men's National Team...11 men on the field, from different parts of the country all with different backgrounds.  You have today's hero, Landon Donovan, from the Suburbs of sun splashed Southern California.  Goal Keeper Tim Howard, arguably one of the best Goalies in the world, a Jersey guy who has turned his Tourette's Syndrome from a handicap to an advantage...and you have Head Coach Bob Bradley...Princeton educated, but with a tough as nails, blue collar attitude and work ethic that has embodied America ever since Horace Greeley went west and Davey Crockett manned the Alamo.

Together, along with their teammates, they represent our nation in a country many of us have never been a sport a lot of people unfortunately haven't discovered the beauty of yet...and they make us proud.  They have displayed that uniquely American never say die attitude as they battled adversity and  injustices.  They have fought one of the powers of world soccer to a stand still (Will the English National Team please report to the woodshed...thank you) nearly a year after they humbeled yet another world power (yes, thats you Spain).  Yes, even if you aren't a soccer fan, this is a team you should get behind and support.  Because they ARE America.  A diverse, hard working collection of young men who will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and won't fold like cheap lawn chairs at the first sign of rough seas (yes France, that was directed at you).

But soccer doesn't just represent the present of America, but also it's future.  I have the pleasure of seeing the FC Gold Pride of Women's Professional Soccer on a regular basis, and see the hundreds of young women, the future of our country, as they see their new heros in action.  Heros that are positive role models.  Women  that someone like my niece and godchild Makenzie can look up to and say "ya know what, she's cool, I wanna be just like her" and be comfortable in the fact that the role model she's talking about isn't strutting around half-naked on the latest episode of an MTV reality show, but is displaying grit, determination and smarts out on the playing field.  It's about the mother's of those same young girls who are there to see their hero's, having a hero of their own in 37 year old Tiffeny Millbret...a woman who can make every soccer mom in America look in the mirror and say "if she can get out there and do it, why can't I get out there, kick the ball around with my daughter or play catch with her...or start my own buisness....or do something spectacular" and provide their son's and daughter's a role model they don't have to turn on the TV to follow.  And finally it's about showing the young men and women of America the determination, desire and dedication of a Christine Rampone of they Sky Blue FC (who coincidentally play FC Gold Pride this Sunday at 3pm at CSU East Bay...ok ok...Hayward!)...who, as the Wall Street Journal Chronicled, last season made it through 3 head coaches, one ruptured cyst, and one lost liter of blood to lead her team to a championship...and give birth to a daughter.

Yes...Soccer is America...and it's days like this, and teams like these, that make me proud to love my country...and the game of soccer!

Until next time...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FC Gold Pride Break in Their New Home with a Win (aka...our very first podcast...kinda!)

The Spot had the pleasure of being at Re-Grand Opening of Pioneer Stadium last night as the FC Gold Pride defeated the Boston Breakers 1-0 on the strength of a Kelley O'Hara Goal in the 37th minute.

While the Spot's take on the Gold Pride's new digs will be coming shortly...The Spot also had the pleasure of getting in on a couple of post game interviews (much thanks to the always hospitable FC Gold Pride Staff...and keep it up with the veggie pizza in the press rocked!) and so, without further adieu...the Spot finally adds a podcast (kinda sorta) to his blog! ya go!

Post-Game takes from:

FC Gold Pride Coach Albertin Montoya

Boston Breakers Coach Tony DiCicco

4-time FIFA World Player of the year Marta (sorry everyone, this interview is all in Portuguese!)
FC Gold Pride Forward Kelley O'Hara

Saturday, June 19, 2010

it's Father's Day Weekend...get out and do something with your pops!!

It's Father's Day Weekend Spot fans....and instead of getting into some long solliloquy that might put everyone to sleep (calling Bob Costas...calling Bob Costas) the Spot is just gonna cut to the chase and give you all some last minute options of what you can do with dad this here ya go!

Saturday June 19th- 7pm- Stockton Ports vs. Visalia Rawhide- Stockton Ballpark- Is your dad both a baseball fan AND an Oakland Raider fan? (Yes, the Spot has given his bi-monthly acknowledgement of the Raider Nation)  If so, then head out to the Stockton Ballpark as the Stockton Ports take on the Visalia Rawhide at 7pm.  The Raider connection you ask?  WR Todd Watkins will be at the ballpark signing autographs.  I'm pretty sure if you mention how happy you are that Jamarcus Russell is gone he just might give you an extra autograph out of sheer jubilation!!

Saturday June 19th- 7pm- FC Gold Pride vs. Boston Breakers- Pioneer Stadium- CSU East Bay- Hayward- Does dear old Dad have World Cup Fever?  Need to get in his evening fix of the footy?  Then head over Hayward as the first place FC Gold Pride of Women's Professional Soccer take on the Boston Breakers at 7pm.  You'll also get to see the Gold Pride break in their brand new permenant home at CSU East Bay (ok ok ok....Hayward St., there I said it...after being corrected on such last nite!).  The Spot's prediction....Marta nexts a hat trick...and Kelly O'Hara stays looking super hot while dropping the dime on two of Marta's three goals!

Looking for where to take the family for brunch of Father's Day?....Here are the Spot's picks for excellent eats on father's day....

856- Lincoln Center- Stockton- Wanna get brunch in AND catch the day's World Cup games?  If so head over to 856 in Lincoln Center.  The food is great, the atmosphere is even better (Your's truly was there  last week for U.S./England) and your you're treating dad to a great time...where can you go wrong?!

AVE on the Mile- Miracle Mile (Pacific Ave.)- Stockton- Why hit the AVE for Father's Day brunch?  Two words...Bottomless Mimosas!...and I suggest trying the Creme Brule, it the best that the Spot's had yet (and I'm super picky when it comes to my Creme Brule!!)

Well Spot fans...enjoy your Father's Day...and until next time!....