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!