Tag Archives: UCLA

5 Days a Summer Fun-Drei…The Road to Omaha…Day 1, 6/3/2017

Day One, 6/3/2017

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Day one of what I call 5 Days a Summer Fun-Drei would find me at the Long Beach Regionals at Blair Field, featuring the Long Beach State Dirtbags, San Diego State Aztecs, Texas Longhorns and my UCLA Bruins as all for vie for a spot on the Road to Omaha en route to college baseball’s World Series.  It would be the first time Blair Field in Long Beach would host a regional since 2008 and Day 1, even with my Bruins being eliminated would not disappoint… Postgame Congratulatory Handshake

UCLA would lose their elimination game to San Diego State in 13 innings 3-2. Oh if not for leaving 15 runners on base. The Mighty Bruins will be back. This game would last a little over 5 hours ! In the back, you see the Texas Longhorns ready to take the field. Surely the next game on tap can’t top this battle between 2 southland schools…Game 2, Long Beach State vs Texas

The second game wouldn’t last as long. This one would ONLY go 12 innings, though this could have all been avoided if not for some great defense by the Longhorns…TWICE 

 

The Longhorns would eventually come out on top. So, after Day 1 of 5 Days a Summer Fun-Drei, I would spend close to 12 hours at the yard. With a total of 25 innings played, these 2 games would almost amount to 3. Both games we’re as advertised as pitching and great defense would rule the day. Here’s more sights from Day One of 5 Days a Summer Fun-Drei from Blair Field. 

The four schools featured have produced their fair share of MLBers, from Roger Clemens ,Tony Gwynn, Troy Tulowitzki, current Dodger Chase Utley and of course Dave Roberts. We also can’t forget some guy named Jackie…

 

Rivalry Week…Congrats Skip !…Drei’s Favorite SC-UCLA Moment, A Skip Toward 6

Leading Off…

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Congratulations to our 2016 Manager of the Year, Dave Roberts ! In spite of the many injuries particularly to the starting rotation, the rookie manager led the Dodgers to their 4th straight NL West title. Like the starter rotation, Roberts alma mater, UCLA, will have to overcome some huge obstacles if they are to beat S.C. this Saturday…

Divided We Are…

The only thing that can divide Dodger fans, aside from recent elections, is the annual SC-UCLA game. Over the years USC has had the decided edge not only in wins but in conference and national championships

Prior to last season UCLA had won 3 straight from the Men of Troy. UCLA also owns the longest winning streak in the series, having won 8 straight from 1991 to 1998. 

After a 1-3 start that included an embarrassing loss to Alabama, USC has recovered remarkably, winning 6 straight including last weeks impressive win over the Washington Huskies. 

USC  is a heavy favorite over UCLA. Deservedly so. 

As we all know, when these two meet, all records are thrown out…

20 Years Ago…1996…A Skip Toward 6

” Skip Hicks holds the UCLA school record for touchdowns in a season and in a career, but most people seem to only remember two of them.

Hicks was an All-American running back his senior season with the Bruins and went on to play five seasons in the NFL, but it seems Bruins fans only remember his performance in one game: UCLA’s improbable comeback victory over USC in 1996.

“Hey, at least they remember me,” Hicks said.

It would be difficult for Bruins fans to forget. “

Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com, Nov 30,2010

As for this Bruin fan, those 2 TD’s and that exhilarating Saturday afternoon will be ever so hard to forget…150 years down the road.

The afternoon would not start off so great for the UCLA faithful. USC would jump out to a 17-0 en route to a 24-7 halftime lead, thanks in large part to a pick six by Sammy Knight and a 67 yard TD reception by R.J. Soward. Both TD’s would finish in the NE corner of The Rose Bowl endzone…Right in front of me…Nothing but grass separating my vision of those two and their path…

The second half would start off with a bang as UCLA QB Cade McNown would find Danny Farmer on a post down the middle to draw UCLA within 10. SC would strike back though with a long drive of their own to bring the deficit back to 17 late in the 3rd…

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The Victory Bell…The prize that both schools play for…Currently in that “Other” schools possession in that “awful” shade of red…

With UCLA trailing by 17 once again, prior to SC kicking off, I couldn’t help but to take a glance at the Victory Bell…Painted a glorious Blue 5 years in a row…Possibly on the verge of being surrendered…A fact not lost among the UCLA cheerleaders, huddled around the bell as two of them had their arms tightly wrapped around the frame…

If UCLA was to surrender The Bell they wouldn’t do it lying down…Certainly not UCLA QB Cade McNown…McNown and company would counter back with a long drive, capped off by his 9 yard TD scramble that would bring UCLA back within 10…

20160924_154638 Kicking it with Cade McNown, 9/24/2016 prior to the UCLA-Stanford game

With the Bruins back in the game heading to the 4th, both teams exchanged punts. With just over 10 minutes to go, SC QB Matt Koffler finds R.J. Soward streaking down the sideline with…Once again…Nothing but grass separating him from the endz one…The NE Corner no less…Yup, right in front of me (I sure was having a great day huh?)…Putting SC back up by 17. At that point, it seemed all hope was lost…

As UCLA was driving toward a “possible” miracle, I head over to visit a buddy of mine who was seated in the SE corner of the upper end zone. Bjorn Merten would draw UCLA back within 2 scores with just under 7 minutes left. The SC fans in the south end zone, confident their 5 year losing streak was over, we’re chanting something about UCLA to the SC Band’s tune of Tusk…

As I returned to my seat in the NE corner of the endzone, UCLA would get the ball back and score a quick TD to pull them within 7 with just under 3 minutes to go…Some hope is still left…If we can recover the onside kick…Too bad it would go out of bounds…

After an SC first down, now inside 2 minutes, hope was all but gone for UCLA. One more first down and the 5 year streak would be over…Just as R.J. Soward proclaimed after putting his Men of Troy up by 17 earlier in the 4th…

Only a miracle would save UCLA…

Did I say only a miracle would save UCLA? As USC was trying to run out the clock, Kusanti Abdul-Salam would recover a LaValle Woods fumble! The Bruins would have new life! 

Inside a minute to go and the ball now at the SC 11 thanks to a huge 3rd down conversion to seldom used WR Rodney Lee, after an incomplete pass, the armchair QB in me tells the fans “GET THE BALL TO HICKS, LET HIM TAKE IT UP THE MIDDLE…” …

On 2nd and 10…” Hicks, up the middle…TOUCHDOWN UCLA !!!”

The Rose Bowl is in a frenzy. UCLA, who trailed for most of the game by as much as 17 had now tied the game at 38, capped off by that 10 yard run by Skip Hicks…A proud bearer of the number 42…The run that…Your’s Truly…Sitting a hundred yards away…Called

That’s one of the two TD’s this…And many other Bruin Faithful remember from Skip Hicks…

With everyone at The Rose Bowl on their feet since about the halfway point in the 4th, SC, however, would threaten. The final seconds of regulation would come down to a last-second 41 yard FG attempt by Adam Abrams. As SC was getting set to end their 5 year skid, I, along with 80,000 souls in The Rose Bowl, was yelling perhaps the loudest I could ever. Adam Abrams attempt at glory…BLOCKED !!! OVERTIME WE GO !!!

1996 would be the first year college football would have an overtime. During the first OT neither team could do much, both exchanging field goals. So now, the second OT…

UCLA would get the ball first…On the first play form scrimmage, Skip Hicks would take the handoff from Cade McNown. For a moment, it seemed a USC defender had Hicks wrapped up. Somehow, Hicks broke loose…Break loose he did…Just like that, UCLA would have their first lead of the day…As for the Hicks TD, where would it finish?

HICKS TD

All the way back and beyond the NE corner of the end zone. The fan just above Hicks to his right in the blue and yellow hat? Yup, you guessed it ! (Thank You YouTube !!!)

Other players and fans joined in the celebration…A celebration that seemed like an eternity! Game over right? Uh, not yet…

SC would get their turn with the ball and on 3rd and 3, spotting a UCLA blitz, Koffler would find a wide open RJ Soward…Nothing but grass ahead of him en route toward, yet again, the NE corner of the end zone and a possible taunt fest with us Bruin Faithful…If only he caught the ball…

Soward, who would have a record setting day for USC…Soward, BOASTING the 5 year skid was over…Did what so many wide receivers tend to do…Turn up field before securing the football ( To today’s UCLA’s receivers, take note…)

Now 4th down, USC was now in a do or die situation. Convert and their still alive. Otherwise, the streak continues…And on what would be the final play of the game, Matt Koffler’s floating duck, and I DO mean floating, flailed into the waiting arms of Anthony Cobbs.

BALLGAME !!! UCLA 48 USC 41

After trailing for much of the game, UCLA would mount a furious comeback, capped off by that miracle run by Skip Hicks. 30 minutes after the final play, we the Bruin Faithful we’re still in a frenzy…

As for me, in my “youthful innocence”, as I was still caught up in the Blue and Gold frenzy along the venerable Rose Bowl concourse, I just could not help but bellow out my version of Tusk…Even yelling out U-C-L-A…Daring the defeated Trojan Nation to yell out what they yelled during the 6 minute mark in the 4th. Nothing doing…

I ain’t gonna lie. There are plenty of emotions involved in this game from all involved. Students, fans, lifetime alums. Do I still get worked up for this game? You bet I do. Would I still be able to act the fool that I did 20 years ago? Uh, not entirely. At 42, a popular number from Westwood to The Ravine, it doesn’t quite come off the same…

42_UCLA Quad

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I also remember yelling ” I’VE STILL NEVER LOSS TO SC, I DON’T EVER WANT TO KNOW THE FEELING OF LOSING TO SC !!!…”

Well, that feeling is long gone now, the experience being far too frequent now.

” Skip Hicks holds the UCLA school record for touchdowns in a season and in a career, but most people seem to only remember two of them.”

Oh yeah, as for that 2nd TD, while many Bruins fans will forever remember, this Bruin fan will forever have it etched in his heart…

DREI_SKIP Kickin’ it with Skip Hicks, 2005. Other than Skip Hicks, and current linebacker Kenny Young, who will be the last Bruin to wear 42, some other Bruin that wore 42 would eventually wear another shade of blue as a MLB player…I wonder how he turned out…

Drei’s Prediction…

Drei is going with his heart once again. SC is a 12 1/2 point favorite. They just may be playing the best football in the Pac 12 right now. UCLA has struggled this season. UCLA is going with a backup QB in Mike Fafaul. Does Mike duplicate what John Barnes did for the Sons of Westwood in 1992. Can UCLA’s D keep it close enough to give them a chance in the 4th quarter. As they say in these rivalry games, throw out the record books…Anything can happen… UCLA 24 USC 23

Overtime…

As for Drei’s favorite SC-UCLA moment…20 Years Ago…Here it is, in it’s entirety…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Years a Good Dre…From The Ravine, Down I-5 and Back…

picsart_05-21-05.27.35.jpg Drei kickin’ it with our former outfielder and future skipper, Dave Roberts, Camera Day, 4/30/2006. Dave would roam the outfield of Chavez Ravine from 2002 to July 2004 before being traded to the Red Sox, where he would play a key role in Boston’s first World Championship in 86 years. Pictured here with the Padres, he would roam the outfield at Petco Park from 2005-06. Roberts even as a Friar was always very cordial toward us Dodger fans. Good to have you in charge of the home 3rd dugout. Yeah, we’re struggling right now, our bullpen has been of no help recently, but hey, it’s a long season…

Drei’s Sunday Tale…Mini Puig and Jackie

Puig_Jackie Welcome Back Mini Puig ! We see you’re checking out the Jackie Robinson tribute at the UCLA Hall of Fame. Like our skipper, Jackie wore both the Blue and Gold and the Dodger Blue…

20160220_125335 Dodger Blue and Blue and Gold…

20160220_125841.jpg Can never pay enough tributes to Mr. Robinson…

 

 

 

 

Throwing Back Thursday…A March Madness Tale

Leading Off…R.I.P. Joe

A good part of my childhood on Saturday afternoons was spent watching the NBC Game of The Week, listening to the tandem of our Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola. Vin_Joe G.jpg

The man who would along with Vin call 3 of the most epic games of my childhood, one involving heartbreak ( Jack Clark in 1985 ) and one that even Hollywood couldn’t script ( Gibson, 1988 ), broadcasting legend Joe Garagiola passed away Wednesday at the age of 90

DODGERS_Joe G Vin Tommy Joe, Tommy and Vin

A March Madness Tale

March Madness is the first sounds of the cry…”PLAY BALL”…

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March Madness is Kid Marley Marlz dreaming of a World Series title…

March Madness…March Madness is KID…

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and Dre blowing bubbles…Waiting for the season to start

March Madness… March Madness has been anything but kind to Dre…

For Dre must now wait before he can play…

Dre and Drei, both feeling Blue, and not the right kind of Blue…

Oh the madness…

Madness Moments…Throwing Back Thursday…HEARTBREAK CITY, Oakland CA, 2006

As the Madness continues tonight with some Sweet 16 action, let’s go back 10 years to one of my favorite March Madness moments…HEARTBREAK CITY…

33ab.jpgSS…H With Jordan Farmar,  godson of former Dodger Eric Davis. This was after his final ever game at Pauley Pavillion, unbeknownst anyone’s knowledge, March 2006 before…THE MADNESS…HEARTBREAK CITY !!! 

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Also throwing back to 2006…BACK THE PACK…3 Bruins and a Duck…Now, it’s Oregon who is representing the Pac 12 in The Sweet 16… So, how have your brackets held up ? Or are you just like the rest of us ? Just waiting for baseball to start ? Yup, the wait can be…VERY MAD’NING…Yup, It’s March Madness…

9th Inning

wp-1458705266252.jpeg WAKE UP KID !!! IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL !!!

 

 

Dodgers to Welcome The New Skip…Dodgers Fans Divided…

In honor of SC-UCLA week, here’s a brief spotlight on two former ballplayers on who have worn both the school colors and the Dodger Blue as either player or coach…

Dodgers_Mark McGwire Mark McGwire, USC, 1983-4. The former Trojan would play 16 MLB seasons with the Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals, setting the than single-season home run record in 1998 with 70. He would don the Dodger Blue in 2013 as the hitting coach. He is currently in talks with the San Diego Padres for the bench coach position, the position vacated by the former UCLA Bruin and next Dodger manager…

dodgers_dave roberts Dave Roberts. Roberts would don the Blue as a player from 2002-04. Midway through the 2004 season, Roberts would be traded to the Red Sox, playing an instrumental role with Boston, remembered fondly in Red Sox Nation for The Steal, helping launch the Red Sox from a 3 games to none deficit to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS en route to their first World Series title since 1918.  From 2010-15, Roberts had been the first base coach then the bench coach for the San Diego Padres. The managerial position had come down between Roberts and  Gabe Kapler, who had been the early favorite to win the position.

All along I had been in favor of Roberts over Kapler, a sentiment echoed by Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal. Kapler will make a fine manager some day, but to me what it came down to is on-field MLB coaching experience, which Roberts has 6 seasons of, making him the right choice for this current Dodger team.

2006_DAVE ROBERTS With Dave Roberts, Camera Day, PETCO Park, 4/13/2006. WELCOME HOME DAVE !!!

Away From The Diamond…Dodgers Fans Divided

It’s that time of year again. The one event that divides us Dodgers fans. The SC-UCLA game. UCLA has won the last 3 against the Men of Troy. For the 2nd time in 4 years, this one will be for the Pac 12 South and the right to play Stanford for the Pac 12 Championship.

It has been a crazy season in the Pac 12. Both SC and UCLA enter this contest with identical 5-3 conference records, in a 3 way tie with Utah, whom both UCLA and USC have defeated.  Winner of this game will be crowned the Pac-12 South Champion and will also face Stanford in the Pac 12 Championship game for the right to represent the Pac 12 in The Rose Bowl.

As we all know, anything can happen in these rivalry games. Both SC and UCLA have endured their roadblocks en route to this match-up. Statistically, both teams practically mirror each other, particularly on offense with UCLA having a slight edge in the running game while USC maintains an edge defensively against the run while UCLA  has the edge against the pass.

This game has the potential to be a high scoring game, with USC QB Cody Kessler and UCLA QB Josh Rosen being very highly touted. SC’s secondary has been suspect, while UCLA has at times had trouble stopping the power running game. Drei’s prediction… UCLA 38 USC 35. ( A game winning FG by Ka’imi Fairbairn ? )

The Victory Bell

The prize that’s awarded to the winning school…

Past High Scoring Thrillers…

1990. USC 45 UCLA 42. This would be a heart-breaker for me, as SC QB Todd Marinovich and UCLA QB Tommy Maddox would stage an epic 4th quarter, which both teams would combine for 42 points, capped off by Todd Marinovich’s TD game winning TD pass to Johnnie Morton with less than 20 seconds to play…

1996. UCLA 48 USC 41, Double OT. UCLA, down as much as 17 halfway through the 4th quarter, would stage a furious rally, capped off by Skip Hicks game tying TD under a minute to go. USC would have a chance to win at the end of regulation, but Adam Abrams would have his 41 yard FG attempt blocked. Skip Hicks would score the eventual game winning TD in the 2nd overtime, capping off a furious rally for UCLA, earning them their 6th straight win in the series…

HICKS TD Who is that guy in the blue hat greeting Skip Hicks on his game winning TD in the ’96 thriller ?

 

 

 

 

Honoring Jackie’s Legacy From Westwood To Chavez Ravine

This Wednesday, Dodger Stadium will be the host of this years Civil Rights game. This will mark the first time the Civil Rights game will take place on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15th. Recently, UCLA,  Jackie Robinson’s alma mater, took a page from Major League Baseball by officially retiring the number 42 throughout both their men’s and women’s athletic program…

42_PAULEY Jackie’s presence is felt inside Pauley Pavillion among other Bruin greats…

42_UCLA Quad A touch of Blue from Westwood to Chavez Ravine…

Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick on the significance of the Dodgers hosting the Civil Rights game on Jackie Robinson Day…

42_JR Stadium This statue and mural is located along the 1st base concourse at Jackie Robinson Stadium where UCLA Baseball plays it’s home games

42_top of the park Of Course, 42, at the Top of The Park…