Posted: Thursday June 1, 2006 11:14AM; Updated: Thursday June 1, 2006 3:32PM
Cal Softball Item of the Week
This one hurts, ladies. After winning the first game of their best-of-three Super Regional series against seventh-seeded Oregon State in Corvallis last Friday afternoon, the 10th-seeded Bears saw their season slip away in a deluge of rain and tears. Kept off the diamond by a steady downpour on Saturday, Cal dropped a pair of games on Sunday, 3-0 and 1-0, failing to score a single run off Beavers ace Brianne McGowan, against whom they'd scored two runs in each of their four previous meetings this season.
While Cal's NCAA-leading string of seven consecutive Women's College World Series appearances is now history, the Beavers will be making their first trip to the greatest event in women's collegiate sports, joining Texas, Northwestern, Tennessee, Alabama and Pac-10 rivals UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State in Oklahoma City. We'll spare you another round of predictions, except to say that we both expect and are rooting for the best team (UCLA, led by the brilliantly well-rounded Andrea Duran) and the best player (Texas lefty Cat Osterman, hoping to cap her sublime collegiate career by winning her first title) to meet in the championship series.
Cal coach Diane Ninemire and her assistants, led by pitching specialist John Reeves, did an incredible job of getting their newcomer-heavy team so close to the WCWS, and a monster class of incoming freshmen will keep the program humming in 2007 and beyond. But it won't be the same without three of the most amazing players in school history -- Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Kristina Thorson, first-team All-America catcher Haley Woods and career runs leader Lindsay James. The good news is that these student-athletes are every bit as exceptional as people and will attack their future endeavors spikes high while continuing to represent the university they love.
It is in recognition of that irreplaceable spirit -- and that of '05 seniors Chelsea Spencer, Vicky Galindo, Kaleo Eldredge, Jessica Pamanian, Kelly Anderson and Kristen Bayless -- that CSIOTW will go on an indefinite hiatus, though we reserve the right to resurface at pivotal moments, such as when Ms. Thorson cures an infectious disease and/or when Ms. Woods becomes governor of California.
Erasing the Pain -- Slightly
Congratulations to the Golden Bears' women's crew team, which won its second consecutive NCAA championship last weekend (the men, coached by the great Steve Gladstone, go for the national title this weekend in New Jersey) ... to the women's golf team, led by senior studette Sophia Sheridan, which finished fifth at the NCAAs ... and to sophomore Suzi Babos, who on Monday won an individual NCAA tennis title -- at Stanford, of all places, to give longtime coach Jan Brogan, a tolerant woman who had to put up with me back when I wrote for the Daily Cal, her first NCAA singles champion.
Hack It Like Houdini
Adding to the misery of the weekend, on Monday I watched my daughter's under-10 soccer team play its final game of a memorable spring season. Alas, the Dominators didn't win the big Northern California tournament in which they competed, falling in a close quarterfinal game. But they did boast a player, our star forward Laney, who later that afternoon managed to free herself from several strings of yarn tied around her ankles?while lying backward, using her (not-so) big toes to work a pair of scissors. Can Mia do that?
Trippin' on E(mail)
In reference to your Ricky Williams story, you said: "Let's test everyone in every job who makes an average of more than $500,000 per year for every substance -- including Vicodin, Oxycontin, Prozac, etc. -- and search the houses of those who test positive. I think we would find that many of those houses would be made of glass." May I make a teeny, tiny suggestion? Next time you want to point out that there are people in the world who abuse legal drugs the same way Ricky (among others) abuses illegal drugs, you might want to leave legitimate, nonaddictive prescription drugs like Prozac off your list, OK? We get it -- you noticed the rampant hypocrisy in our national drug policy. But leave people who suffer from serious diseases like clinical depression out of your little rants. Or are you going to pull a Tom Cruise now and tell us how much more you know about psychiatry than the people who do it for a living? Usually, you're a funny guy. Making fun of depressed people? Not funny. -- Rob McDonagh, Medway, Mass.
OUCH! I've been called so many things in print -- including, earlier today (and I paraphrase), a specific feminine hygiene product -- but being compared to Tom Cruise might be the alltime low. It especially hurts that you are absolutely right, as the clinical psychologist to whom I'm married could have told me herself, had I bothered running it by her. My apologies to anyone I offended.
You lost me when you said that Toronto was "a cosmopolitan city with terrific entertainment and cultural offerings." Have you ever been to Toronto? Think Cleveland with worse food and uglier women. Do you know what we call an attractive Toronto woman? A tourist from Montreal. Lawrence Philips didn't work out too well here and neither will Ricky. The quicker defenses will eat him up. If the Dolphins are looking up here, tell them to look at a rejuvenated Robert Edwards. On second thought, don't. The Alouettes need him here. They don't have too many "money-in-the-bank" 1,000-yard rushers. -- Marc Shade, Montreal
OK, you got me -- I've never been to Toronto. I have a feeling that's about to change, though.