March 10, 2010
Los Angeles International Airport: Normally, I stop at the Dunkin' Donuts in Coventry on my way to Storrs and order the extra large black. I'm not really a connoisseur when it comes to my caffeine delivery system, and the big perfectly satisfactory cup suffices for the day. Much to the chagrin of the majority of our team, we haven't found a Dunkin Donuts in Los Angeles. So, this morning, I was faced with a big decision. Starbucks was the only option within walking distance of the Kyoto Grand Hotel in downtown LA. I ordered an extra large, black, and wasn't prepared for the quiz that followed:
Starbucks server: "We have a venti, sir; will that suffice?
Me: "Yeah, I guess."
Him: "And would you like a Pike's Peak, or a UConn?"
Me: "Excuse me?"
The server pointed to the menu board, where I read, "Today's Blends: Pike's Peak/Yukon."
Me: "Which one's bolder?"
I heard, "UConn." And, the decision was made easy.
Me: "I'll have a bold UConn, please."
In keeping with yesterday's blog theme, I had my good sign with which to head to Dedeaux Field.
We got off to a rough start with some tentative at-bats in the early innings, but overcame a 2-0 deficit, and had the game tied in the ninth after Bobby Van Woert and Scott Oberg kept the Trojan bats at bay. Pierre led off the final frame with a sharp single, and Nick got the bunt down. We had the benefit of a wild pitch, and George was walked intentionally. I flashed a hit and run sign to Mike Olt, and he drove a ball to center that couldn't be handled, and we had our lead.
Kevin Vance closed the door in the ninth. His father, Tom was in the seats. As a proud UCLA alum, he wore his Bruins cap to the game, and it was lucky. Kevin got the last out in front of Husky baseball lettermen from the 1950's, 1990's, and 2000's. Nate Goldberg saw all five games of ours in the area, and addressed our team on Saturday. The Colchester native, has lived in LA for decades and starred for J.O. Christian as a letterman infielder in '51 and '52. Tod Levesh was a tough reliever and teammate of mine in the early `90's and he flew down from Seattle by himself just to see the game before catching a flight home to his wife and 20 month-old daughter.
Pat Mahoney was in town visiting his mom, and after checking out the Price is Right on Wednesday (he wore the t-shirt with the price tag on it to the game), he made a pit stop to see his old mates. All three ex-Huskies saw the Solana Beach, California native with the gun-slinging swagger strike out the last Trojan with the tying run at second. They all joined in celebrating a win over USC 38 years after the Trojans got the best of the Huskies at the 1972 College World Series in Omaha.
As the Huskies showered and hustled for a red eye out of LAX, with a quick "inverse Lane Kiffin escape" for a date with Tennessee in Knoxville on Friday, we all felt quite bold indeed.