After skulking about the SAHPC and watching the Cal Women's Basketball team practice, it was time to head out to the Cal baseball alumni game. What is the Cal baseball alumni game, you ask? Ya, it was new to me, also.
And apparently, everybody. I've never heard of Cal baseball hosting an alumni exhibition game before. A quick review of schedules from previous years did not reveal another Cal baseball alumni game. So, this appears to be an event new to this year. I think there are a few reasons why they might have decided to do this event.
One is to thank the alumni for their help and support in keeping baseball from being cut last year. Baseball faced an abyss a few times and thanks to the alumni, it was saved. It is definitely important to build on that support and continue to develop that relationship for future donation purposes. Giving the alumni a chance to relive their glory days is a great way to develop that relationship.
Another is helping heal old wounds. The Cal baseball team labored in general obscurity up until last year. It rarely made the tournament, got minimal media attention, and was able to be a big dysfunctional family without most people knowing. There was a big article in the Chron last year about the resentment the former Coach Bob Milano had toward the current administration. I am not privy to a lot of the background politics here, but it was clear to even randos like me that there was a soap opera going on behind the scenes.
All the insanity of last year helped put those fissures into sharp focus. The media attention was turned up to 11 and all of a sudden forgotten slights came into the fore front. Having an alumni exhibition game (letting those alums relive their glory days) is a great way to help heal all wounds.
Either way, having an alumni game is a great idea! It is the first event that would have not existed if Cal baseball hadn't been saved. And on a gorgeous October day in Berkland, the Cal baseball team (in blue) took on the Cal baseball alumni team (in yellow).
More from the afternoon after the jump!
As you might expect, the baseball team itself did remarkably better than the alumni team. That is what happens when you put a group of 25-55 year olds who have never played together against a team that just went to the College World Series! But it was not about winning and losing. It was just about having fun.
Speaking of having fun, I finally got my first baseball from a game! Except then the baseball player formerly known as the football player known as Ryan Wertenberger came over. He asked for it back. NO! I tried to keep it, but he said that they usually only let little kids keep them. I pleaded with him, stating I was emotionally 11 (TRUE STORY!) However, I felt bad and relinquished the ball. By the way, the baseball player formerly known as the football player known as Ryan Wertenberger is slimmed down compared to the football player known as Ryan Wertenberger.
The alumni team only scored one run. Here it is:
But it was a pretty relaxed atmosphere. You can see people outside of uniform fraternizing with the Cal alumni team.
I wonder how they determine who gets to be on the alumni team? What if only 2nd basemen show up? What if every relief pitcher to ever pitch for Cal REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY wants to play? How are these decisions made?
They had a listing of all the alumni players. When they played, what position they played, and what they are doing now. Cal baseball: Where are they now?
Turns out, in Amazatown! All of the Cal baseball alumni players had amazing jobs. Many were attorneys. One player named Jason Hill played for several different MLB teams. There were not many players who played professionally there. And none of the more recent alums with recognizable names, like Connor Jackson, Tyson Ross, or Brandon Morrow were there. Oh well. Still fun!
It went downhill fast for the alumni team:
Here is Coach Dave Esquer, who was moving back and forth between both teams.
Love this guy's motion! He had his back to the batter at one point in it.
Sadly, he let a runner on and quickly was pitching out of the stretch in a much less awesome way.
A perfect day for alumni players to hang out with their families at the ballpark:
There were cooking food up all game long. There was some available, but the bulk of it was being held until the end of the game. There are few things more luring to this emotional 11 year old than free food. And soon, it was nearing the end of the game. But then the announcer came on the loudspeaker and said that after celebrating what would be the alumni team's great comeback, all the fans should wait until the ball players ate before taking any food. NOOOOOOOO! A terrible delay! Damn that reasonable request.
Soon, the game was over and the player did it up little league style.
But, after being a normal human being and thinking of others for once, it was finally time for the free food! NICE!
After we ate, we went over and tried to enter the Cal-USC water polo game. A review of tweets indicated that Sandy Barbour was there. However, we were rejected entry as it was sold out! D'oh! So, we hung out at the alumni house waiting for it to end. Based on snippets of overheard conversations and the relative level of happiness seen in Cal and USC fans, I thought Cal had won. However, it turned out Cal lost in OT. Everybody was happy, nonetheless! And the band was there to put on a show.
We even have video evidence:
Plus, the water polo people had ANOTHER free BBQ. Is there anything better than free food? Well, except maybe a Cal athletics press pass. But, until then, we can just go to all these amazing Homecoming events, enjoy a gorgeous Berkeley day, and have tons of free food. GO BEARS!