Quite the conundrum for someone who resides in the DubNation but loves the Dawg Pound

Unlike many in Cleveland who felt a tremendous surge of joy and glee when LeBron James finally brought a championship to The Land, my feelings took a much more circuitous route.

I am a life-long Golden State Warrior fan who grew up a stones throw from the former Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, as well as a life-long Cleveland Browns fan who lived and died with the team through Red-Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Move. So, here I sit, devastated from a fan’s perspective that my Dubs could have silenced all the doubters and nay-sayers, but instead lost three straight games at the most important time of the year and succumbed to Cleveland and King James along with his merry group of bandits.

I see friends who I correspond with during the football season rejoicing with that joy that only being an invested supporter of a franchise can bring, yet I have nothing to say to them. Their joy is my pain.

I am still numb. A win in either Game 5, 6 or 7 would have meant that the Charles Barkley’s, Chris Russo’s and Colin Cowherd’s of the world would have had to shut their traps and give the Dubs their due. A title would have validated a team, a franchise that had been questioned from the very moment they won last year’s championship. All the DubNation heard was, “if Cleveland was at full strength they would have schooled the Warriors.” That was hanging in the balance over the final three games of the series. Yet the Warriors couldn’t deliver. I am not one to believe the Warriors title needed validation, but I did want for all the noise-makers around the country.

A week ago the Warriors were sitting with a 3-1 series lead knowing that no one in the history of the NBA had blown such a lead in the NBA Finals. At the time the Warriors had blitzed Cleveland in Ohio and it appeared the Warriors would wrap it all up at home. Then Draymond was suspended, Kyrie Irving and James combined for 82, Cleveland jumped out to a 31-9 lead, and James had a block for the ages while the Warriors went scoreless for the final 4:39 of the season and it was over.

Poof ! Done

This whole meltdown thing had to be shocking for the bandwagon crowd, but for those of us that love this game we knew this thing wasn’t over, even after Game 4. But none of us actually thought it WOULD happen. It was shocking. It was stunning.

The Cavaliers will have a parade on Wednesday where the loyal fans of Cleveland will celebrate their first championship of any kind in 52 years. Many of those celebrating will be Dawg Pound faithful, for them I am thrilled. They have had to endure a wretchedness that only Art Modell can bring. Sitting in one of those cars being honored will be Earnest Byner. One of my favorite Browns of all time, he was stripped by Jeremiah Castille at the 3-yard line in the waning moments of the 1987 AFC Championship game resulting in a second gut-wrenching AFC title game loss for the Browns. Byner will be applauded and honored by a fan base that simply wants to cheer for a man who gave his all but came up on the wrong side of history. I will applaud and cheer for Byner, a Cleveland Brown legend.

The rest of it will be too much, the wound is still open, the emotions still to raw. As Steph Curry said on Monday when asked when he will get over the Game 7 loss, “I will get over when we win another one.”

So true Steph, so true

I live in the DubNation but proudly reside in the Dawg Pound

Excuses won’t win an NBA Championship; playing better will

It wasn’t the refs.

It wasn’t the NBA headquarters.

It wasn’t a conspiracy.

It was Cleveland.

If you call yourself a Warriors fan and you are blaming the Warriors predicament on some vast right-wing conspiracy, take a seat and get some knowledge.

The Warriors have been pushed to the limit in these NBA Finals for one reason and one reason alone. The greatness and dominance of LeBron James. Yes, I said it. LeBron James, who was roundly vilified and ripped for his passive play in Game 4 has come out with reckless abandon in Games 5 & 6. His controlled aggression and play-making ability has dictated the game and tempo for his Cavaliers. His decision-making has been impeccable as he distributes when he needs and attacks when he sees a sliver of space. To not admit as much is being blinded by fandom.

Warrior fans have been up in arms  and have been preaching that conspiratorial anthem since Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5. The fact is, is that Green put himself in a horrible predicament by not showing any self-discipline earlier in the playoffs. His chippiness and constant chatter put him in a position of focus. His energy and passion is the life-blood for this team, but his energy can also be a detriment and we saw that at the end of Game 4. The NBA didn’t suspend Green. His lack of discipline dictated that he be penalized for that the Dubs paid a steep price.

Warrior fans are crying foul after tonight’s Game 6 where Steph Curry was called for several ticky-tack fouls. Blah blah blah……Even with the fouls Warriors head coach Steve Kerr kept him on the floor, so it didn’t for all intent and purposes affect the amount of minutes Curry played. The fouls called on Curry had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Curry scored 30 points and played well.

The Warriors find themselves in a Game 7 because LeBron James and Kyrie Irving played from another dimension in Game 5 and took advantage of Draymond Green’s absence to confuse the Warriors on the defensive end. They each scored 41 in epic performances.

The Cavaliers perimeter defense on Curry and Klay has been splendid. With every pick and roll there are two bodies there to ride and harass Klay and Curry. Kerr made mention that the Cavs are riding Curry and Klay off of these screens and that was certainly a seed planted for Game 7. Without Green in Game 5 and Bogut in Game 6 the Warriors post-play has been in one word….ATROCIOUS.

Festus Ezeli has been awful and looks like he has regressed over the last two weeks. Kerr can hardly leave him on the floor. Harrison Barnes combined to go 2-for-20 in Games 5 & 6. The Cavaliers can’t guard everyone when they are doubling and bodying Curry and Klay, so they are leaving Harrison Barnes open. He has been awful. Just putrid. I can make an argument that if Barnes hits even half of his open looks in Game 5 the Warriors are having a parade tomorrow in Oaktown. Barnes is a HUGE reason why we are seeing a Game 7 on Sunday.

And, other than Leandro Barbosa the bench was pedestrian in Game 5 and in Game 6. Throw in Andre Iguodala’s back spasms and the DubNation has reason for some consternation.

Throw out any of these reasons, but please do not say the Warriors have been forced to a Game 7 because the refs have it out for them or there is some type of conspiracy. It makes you look amateurish and foolish. When the Warriors beat the Cavs in Games 1, 2 & 4 it wasn’t because of the officials or some type of league-wide conspiracy. The Cavaliers winning Games 5 & 6 is simply because they are playing better, stronger, and are more tenacious on both ends of the floor.

Game 7 will be amazing and I fully expect the Warriors to finish off this amazing 73-win season with a win on their home floor. They have been pushed and tested this entire post-season, as it should be. They will have traversed through the ultimate gauntlet and will have won back-to-back championships. But, if they don’t, do not blame. Here is a novel concept, how about recognizing the greatness of their opponent and giving Cleveland some credit. After all, they were 10-1 underdogs after Game 4 and were left for dead. Besides, if ANY team can beat this great Warriors team three straight times, including two at the Oracle, then they deserve it. Should be an amazing Game 7 !

 

Chico State baseball family says “goodbye” to a man who taught us all how to be a grinder……

The Chico State baseball family buried a young man this week way too soon.

Aaron Demuth was 31 years old. He was laid to rest on Monday in his hometown of Vacaville. Those of us that knew him were not surprised to see a standing room only crowd where the church services were held.

To know Aaron was to like him. What was there not to like ? The gregarious towering man was jovial and fun-loving. Those that knew him best always said he had so much zest for life and attacked life with passion.

Aaron was a devoted family man who loved his family and friends. He had a special affinity for hunting and baseball. Depending on how the Giants were doing depended on what he loved more. Aaron passed away after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer. It was a courageous fight that saw Aaron live by the moniker that has been a hallmark of the Chico State program……GRIND.  Aaron and his equally as devoted and courageous wife, Lindsey fought, scratched, clawed and “grinded” their way through the fight.

As I recalled memories of Aaron, one singular moment comes to mind and tells you a lot about the Demuth family. It was a Chico State game in 2006 and the Wildcats were playing the San Francisco State Gators. The day before the game I had gone to the Bay Meadows race track and here I sat 24 hours later after that visit to watch the ponies and I wasn’t feeling too well. I had obviously eaten something that didn’t agree with me and within minutes my play-by-play calls had turned into a desperate attempt and hope that the inning would end so I could go get sick somewhere. When I finally was able to leave my broadcast set, I saw Aaron’s father, Glenn approach me.

“Mike, are you Ok?” He asked. “Not so much I am gonna get sick.” Having never met Glenn, but knowing who he was, I was appreciative he checked on me. As I stayed near the bushes and got sick, Glenn proceeded to leave a game that his son was playing in and went to get me some water. By the time he got back, which was a few innings later since there was no snack bar in San Francisco, I was feeling a little better. Mr. Demuth didn’t have to do that, but he did. It has always stuck with me as a sign of genuine kindness when you really don’t have to be.

It was a simple gesture. In the grand scheme of life, it was a small thing. But, the compassion and caring that Glenn Demuth showed me that day a great example of why Aaron turned out the way he did. It was selfless and kind. The apple certainly didn’t fall too far from the tree.

Many of his former Chico State teammates will have their memories of Aaron. Aaron’s baseball exploits are legendary and some of his home runs are still sailing through the stratosphere somewhere. Whether Aaron swung as hard as you could and connected for a colossal blast, or whether he swung and missed. He did it with aplomb and passion.

My memories will be a of a guy who played on two of the most memorable teams in Chico State history (2006-2007) He hit some big home runs and had some big hits for this program. But, I will remember him as a guy who didn’t just give lip service to the “GRINDER” moniker. Aaron is the ultimate grinder in the game of life, and in that we can all celebrate and take great pride.

You will be missed Aaron. Let your Chico State baseball family grind for you now

LISTEN TO SOME OF AARON DEMUTH’S BIGGEST HITS IN HIS CHICO STATE CAREER, INCLUDING A WALK-OFF TWO RUN HOME RUN IN THE 1ST ROUND OF THE 2006 NCAA WEST REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS…..

 

Dodgers wasting Kershaw’s best years….

We are witnessing one of the great pitchers of our time. One of the great pitchers in the history of the game. Yet, here we sit with a team that can’t hit, has no starting pitching depth, a sieve for middle relief and a 250 million dollar payroll. Whoopeee !

I have stated numerous times that we, the fans deserve better. How about Clayton Kershaw ? He deserves better. I respect the Dodger fan who can watch the game, and accept the fate regardless of how deep the knife turns when Pedro Baez or Chris Hatcher enters the contest. Sorry, I am not wired that way.

Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and Josh Brynes have done a few things well. They have kept the kids and developed them and they didn’t over-pay Zack Greinke. Other than that I am finding it hard to see the redeeming value in their approach.

Let me play devil’s advocate here. What if Mark Walter was interviewing Friedman and mandated that the payroll be cut closer to 200 million dollars ? What if Walter told Friedman that he wouldn’t mind a few steps backward if it set up the Dodgers for decades of success by re-stocking and replenishing a decrepit minor league system under Frank McCourt ? What if Walter told Friedman, “I am paying you to rebuild the foundation of our franchise, while cutting payroll. If we win, great, if we don’t, that’s ok, as long as the foundation is built.”

Do I believe this is what transpired in his job interview ? Well, maybe. How else can you explain these moves or lack thereof ? The Dodgers have one of the most anemic offenses in baseball while banking on players that shouldn’t be banked on (Puig, Grandal,) They went on the cheap for the bullpen, turning converted catchers an infielders into relief pitchers and then act shocked and surprised when they don’t get results. They signed often-injured starting pitchers hoping to catch lightning in the ole bottle, instead they got more injuries. You “experiment” with infielders as relievers when you are rebuilding. You don’t do it when you are a piece or two from winning the pennant. I am not that smart but I called this. I wrote about it. I felt it and could see it. Why couldn’t Dodgers ownership ? I am starting to believe this was the plan. Break this team down to the sum of its parts and hope. How else can such fool-hardy decisions be rationalized ?

The saddest part of this hypothesis is the Dodgers are wasting the talents of one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of the game. Clayton Kershaw is special, but his greatness has a shelf life and that shelf life probably has three or four more years. I will concede Kershaw hasn’t helped himself in the post-season, especially in 2013 and 2014. But, if you come after Kershaw you must also be critical of a front office that devalues pitchers that get outs in the 7th and 8th innings.

Kershaw and the loyalists who Bleed Blue deserve better. I have racked my brain to rationalize the Friedman/Zaidi and Byrnes approach. The only think I can come up with is this IS the plan. Break it down to build it back up into a juggernaut. So far, not so good. The proverbial jury is still out. In the meantime I will look longingly at the Chicago Cubs and salivate.

Warriors are not collapsing; they are getting beat

The national media is salivating at the thought the Golden State Warriors may lose their Western Conference Final series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In true journalistic form they love building you up and love tearing you down. In many instances we are seeing the true dis-taste the pontificators and pundits have for the DubNation.

In one respect it’s understandable. Whether in life or in sports most of us are reticent to change. We fight change. We knock the status quo. The Warriors in their own delightful way have bucked the trends and have done things their own way. They are not conventional. When clicking they are hard to fathom in their greatness. So when someone comes along (Oklahoma City) and kicks them in the teeth and takes their lunch money, there is much rejoicing. Whether it’s Charles Barkley on TNT or Chris Russo on Mad Dog Radio, if the Dubs lose those two will both enjoy their post-mortem exam

One storyline being pushed is that the Warriors are collapsing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The definition of “collapse” is; “structure falling down or giving way.” The Warriors aren’t falling down or giving way. They are being overwhelmed by a brute force. They aren’t succumbing to any type of external pressures. They aren’t tired from the 73-win grind. They aren’t injured preventing them from performing. These are all excuses of teams that fail to live up to the expectation of some of the “experts” among us. To say the Warriors are collapsing is discount the greatness of Oklahoma City in this series. They are doing everything a team needs to do to stop and contain the Warriors. They are running with the Warriors. They have the perimeter athleticism to pressure Steph Curry and Klay Thompson from making smart and accurate entries. They have been “smartly” physical is disrupting routes to the bucket. They have rendered Draymond Green useless with size and pressure and defensive rotations. Throw in their role players playing great basketball and the capper, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are the two best players on the court.

This is not a collapse. This is a tsunami that is washing the Warriors ashore.

I don’t know what tonight holds. I don’t know what the rest of the series holds. I don’t know everything, but I do know this. There are times in life and there are times in sports when the perfect storm arises and as a person and franchise there isn’t much you can do about it. We may be witnessing that time right now for our beloved Dubs.

Warriors lose and I’m NOT WORRIED……

The Golden State Warriors loss in Game 1 of their Western Conference Final series versus Oklahoma City is not surprising considering how poorly the Dubs played.

I give all the credit in the world to the Thunder. They kept grinding it out and waited for their opening, sadly for Dubs fans the Warriors gave OKC numerous openings. Poor shot selection and quick shots while leading by double digits was the death-knell. Carelessness with the ball was clearly the Dubs un-doing and chances to add-on turned into buckets in transition for the Thunder.

Steven Adams was tremendous registering a double-double as the Thunder stayed with what they do well and that is go big. Russell Westbrook shook off a 1-for-10 to score 19 points in the 3rd quarter and finish with 27.

The Warriors clearly had trouble with Westbrook’s dribble attacks. His aggressiveness in the 3rd quarter was a tone-setter. It was something the Warriors could stymie during the regular season, they will have to get back to those defensive principles in Game 2 and beyond. Saying they need to defend Westbrook better is easy,  how do you do it ? Not easy. Dubs will need to throw multiple bodies at him and try to guard him with length. Iguodala is the natural choice but he needs to be on Durant. Thompson is probably where the Dubs need to go and hope he can slow him down.

We are already hearing the Warriors talk about how they played the Thunder’s game in Game one. Shaun Livingston, “I think we played their game tonight instead of them playing our game.” Andre Iguodala saw problems with the Warriors pace, “we gotta find our pace at a more consistent level.”

Notice, nary a word about missing so many shots or taking so many rushed shots.

Contrary to what the national media and the Dubs haters will want you to believe, the outcome was only slightly because of things the Thunder did.  Let’s be intellectually honest here, the Warriors were pretty bad. The ball didn’t move. Isolation dribble drives were preferred over pick-and-rolls and ball movement. If OKC is going to insist on playing big the Warriors need to make them pay with ball movement and pick-and-rolls causing mis-matches. They did that tonight on occasion but not nearly enough. When Kerr, Walton and company look at the game film it will become clear.

I am not very concerned. Am I in denial ? Maybe. I just don’t see it. As good as KD and Westbrook are I don’t see the liabilities that Kanter and Waiters are defensively being able to get the Thunder over the top. The haters are hoping that THIS is the Warriors team that shows up the rest of the series. I regret to inform them that this is the worst game the Warriors will play in this series.

The Warriors will win this series. The only question is will it last 5 or 6 games.

From outhouse to penthouse as Cats claim CCAA Tourney title

Be honest, you didn’t think they could do this. Be honest, No fibs here people.  After a tumultuous and sometimes rocky ride the 2016 Chico State Wildcats baseball team silenced the doubters and in turn wrote their own glorious chapter in Chico State baseball lore.

With four wins in four days, squeezed around a gut-wrenching loss the Cats summoned the guts and guile of some of Chico State’s greatest teams. The Wildcats have punched their ticket to the NCAA West Regional.

Chico State not only limped into the conference tournament, they needed a walker. Chico had dropped 5 of 8 against two sub .500 teams and had lost 13 of 22 over a five-week stretch. Even the greatest of optimists would have been pushing the envelope in thinking the Wildcats could turn the table.

In the end, this is a story about a team that refused to be deterred, refused to let recent poor performance dictate their current circumstance and a team that showed a toughness and resiliency that has been a hallmark of the Chico State program.

In winning the school’s fourth CCAA Conference Tournament title the Wildcats exorcised numerous demons from the previous three months. Their win over Pomona avenged a 9-2 shellacking where CCAA Pitcher of the Year Michael Koval threw a three-hitter over 8 innings out-pitching Clayton Gelfand. This time Gelfand twirled 7 gutty innings, not giving up an earned run and holding Pomona to 1-for-16 hitting with runners on base and 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Their win over Monterey Bay signaled the signature moment for sophomore starter Hunter Haworth. He not only won two must-win contests against Sonoma and Stanislaus over the last couple of weeks, but he shoved against the power hitting Otters. Haworth scattered five hits over 8 innings and carved up a potent Monterey line-up.

The win over East Bay on Friday night was a performance for the ages by Steven Baker. The right-hander had lost six straight decisions, primarily out of the bullpen. His gem came just a day after surrendering a game tying double to UC San Diego with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 9th inning. But Baker shoved all of that aside and shut-down the conference’s best-hitting team, limiting East Bay to 7 hits and 2 runs over seven and a third innings as Chico played themselves into the title game with a 4-2 win.

There are not enough superlatives we can shower on Wildcat reliever Grant Wright. The submarining right-hander took the ball in the fourth inning of the title game on Saturday, pitching in his fifth straight game and for the fourth straight day. Wright pitched 5 innings of one run ball before tiring in the 9th. But, his tenacity and bulldog demeanor signified a sea-change for this 2016 team.

Historically this is a program that doesn’t get “excited” by CCAA Tournament championships. There hasn’t always been an emphasis put on this tournament,  but this year was different. Chico State played so poorly down the stretch that their regional lives were hanging in the balance. There were scenarios that if Chico went 0-2 or even 1-2 in this tournament that they would not be going to the regional. Faced with the prospect of folding and completing an epic collapse, the Wildcats instead chose to fight, to dig deep, to grind, to “figure it out” as a club. No one could do it for them. This was all about those guys in that uniform. So, while we all celebrate them and what our favorite baseball team accomplished. I think this group should take great pride in the fact that they rescued a season that was sinking fast. They went on a run against some very good teams and played at a championship level. I for one see no reason why they can’t continue this amazing run.

A week ago  Wildcat faithful were lamenting a series loss to Stanislaus State. But now, here we sit, with a banner that will hang from the rafters of Acker. I put nothing past this group. They remind me of another group of ne’er do wells, the 2006 Wildcats. Supremely talented, frustrating at times, but gutty and hard-nosed. Each and every time that team was counted out, they responded, they refused to give in. This group has had a ton of chances to do the same thing, they haven’t quit.

There has been nothing easy about this season. The players will tell you that, the coaches will tell you that, the fans, heck even the broadcaster, but I would rather go to battle with a group that has been tested, then a team that has faced no adversity all season long.  No one can ever take away the last four days from this group. This feat belongs to them. And now they have a chance to add a chapter or two to this amazing story.

*PHOTO COURTESY OF CHICO STATE ATHLETICS VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AT CHICOWILDCATS.COM 

New found love for CCAA Tournament….

Sometimes out of a necessity you embrace something that has been seen as a hindrance or speed bump to your overall success. We see it all the time in every walk of life. How many times has a conservative complained about big government Medicare and prescription drug benefits, only to tout the programs when they desperately need them. Necessity breeds understanding.

This is where the Chico State Wildcats baseball program  is today. Embracing the CCAA Tournament as their sole life line to the NCAA West Region Championship tournament. Historically this early post-season confluence of conference foes was a pre-cursor and tune-up for the big prize, the regional. Nothing could be further from the truth this week.

The CCAA Championships is the Wildcats nadir. Their regional hopes ride on their performance over the next four days . I know it. They know it.

I will spare the Wildcat faithful the insidious numbers since April 3rd. I would rather focus on when this team was a dynamic offensive machine hitting nearly .340 as a club with an on base percentage hovering near .420. Sitting at 22-6 on the night of April 2nd in San Marcos, I never thought they would be in this position.

Several years ago after a change in Wildcat fortunes I said, “baseball is a fickle mistress.” She has never been so downright audacious.

There is no diminishing the conference tournament today in Wildcat land. It is Chico’s lifeline to more baseball next week. I saw this team perform with machine-like efficiency for two months, its time to recapture the magic.

For 20 years Chico State baseball has been about performing when the lights shine the brightest, they are shining. I fully expect them to rise to the occasion

Chico State parents turn on one of their own

The old adage is, if you go to the ballpark you will see something you have never seen before each and every time you go. That certainly happened to me over the weekend broadcasting the Chico State and San Francisco State series from San Francisco.

As the Chico State Wildcats were playing game two of their double-header on Saturday afternoon, a miniature up-rising of Chico State parents took exception to my descriptions and analysis of what was happening on the field. Let me be clear, it is well within their right to question my descriptions, especially if they are present and disagree. Hell, they can even disagree if they are not present. Momma and poppa can certainly think the radio guy is a horses arse and refuse to give his calls, descriptions and opinions any credence. I have no problem with that. They aren’t the first and they certainly won’t be the last. But, there were some comments that I did take exception to, and feel my role as a play-by-play broadcaster needs to be clarified.

First a little background, I grew up learning the trade listening and admiring the great Bill King. His descriptions and accounts were impeccably on point. His detractors cite his effusive opinions that didn’t pull any punches. He is the guy I admired. He taught me the game. King called a spade a spade and I loved that about him.

In my 19 years behind the microphone I have had several mis-steps during games. It kind of goes with the territory when you broadcast for hours on end. You come to expect the occasional foible, it’s part of the deal. It usually comes when a broadcaster backs themselves into a corner verbally, and they flail to get out. Saturday was not one of those days, which makes the parental outburst all that more confusing.

During the game in question Saturday, the Chico State pitcher was struggling with his command, struggling to find his location and hit his spots. You combine this with a ridiculously small and tight strike zone and you have the makings for some trouble. So, as the pitches continued to be called balls, and the frustration mounted the peanut gallery (Chico State fans) got a little bit perturbed and start voicing their displeasure toward the home plate umpire. Let me add, all well within their right. But, in San Francisco my broadcasting venue is behind the back-stop to the left of home plate. Not directly behind home plate, but to the left. My crowd microphone was picking up everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. There came a point, where those of us behind the dish got a little uncomfortable with the comments, as San Francisco State staff and myself kind of looked around to witness the vociferous reactions. As the broadcaster, knowing listeners at home were hearing this, I felt I needed to expound upon the reactions that were being transmitted through the crowd mic.

As the pitches out of the strike zone mounted, the voices grew louder. My contention on the broadcast was, “if you are a pitcher, and you don’t have any command of the strike zone you should not expect border line pitches to be called strikes from an umpire that has a tight zone and hasn’t seen you establish any of your pitches.” Broadcasting out in the open is never really fun. It’s better to be self-contained in a booth where one can have some semblance of privacy, in this instance I needed it.

Chico State parents took exception to this analysis of the strike zone and where these pitches actually were. Some of the comments that reigned down, “get with it, you are clueless.” (Good One), “you are a Chico State announcer, you shouldn’t be saying these things, you need to be supportive of Chico State” (talk about this in a moment) “I am behind home plate, these pitches are right over the plate, you have no idea what you are talking about.” (LOL)

Love it !!!!

Let me answer a few of these things since I couldn’t answer my “home” fans while on the radio. First, any parent or fan would be hard pressed to find someone who wants Chico State to win more than me. Chico State is my alma mater. I have broadcast Chico State athletics for 23 years dating back to my days as a student. I absolutely want Chico State to win in all athletic endeavors every single time without exception. My competitiveness when it comes to Chico State winning is obsessive. I am happy and gleeful when they win, I am bummed and trudge around the house when they lose. So, this inference that I relish their demise is comical.

My job as a radio broadcaster is to provide, what I believe to be an accurate account of what is taking place for the Chico State fans. It’s not to sugar-coat a sub-par performance from an athlete when he or she isn’t performing. This is not an indictment on that player as a person, it’s just about their performance. I would venture to guess not many of those in attendance on Saturday would agree with the legions around the conference who have asserted that I am the ultimate”homer” in the CCAA. I have never thought of myself as a “homer” where I mask the performance of Chico State athletes with platitudes.

Being called “clueless” been there…..done that. “No idea what I’m talking about” not the first time I”ve heard that. “Being a Chico State announcer, and having to tailor my description a certain way.” Well, I haven’t done that for 23 years and it’s probably not a good idea to start now.

The crux of the problem on Saturday was I simply didn’t think command had been established, so when a pitcher throws some borderline pitches, doesn’t get them, and then complains, he isn’t going to get any calls. The peanut gallery can disagree, heck even Chico State head coach Dave Taylor got ejected for his disgust with the strike zone. I agree, the zone was tiny and it was horrible. How else would a 7-inning game last three hours ? What I was trying to impart, as I usually do during a broadcast is “today, those aren’t strikes, and if you want them to be strikes, you better have command.” If I was an umpire, I wouldn’t have called those strikes either. I can certainly empathize with Chico State fans who thought the San Francisco State pitcher was getting those borderline calls. In fact, he was. He was also getting hit hard by Wildcat hitters. Therefore there weren’t a lot of deep and leveraged counts.

The passion of Chico State fans is unmatched. I am far from perfect. I make mistakes all the time. Heck, I may even be wrong about this. But one thing has always been clear to me, being a Chico State broadcaster shouldn’t blind me to the reality of the action, and Saturday it didn’t.