Well the long off-season is finally here. I think we have gone over just about every single detail over the spring game. We will have some basketball notes to stay on top of during next few weeks. Otherwise for next 100+ days we are going back to our old routine of "BN walk" roundups gathering all Bruin sports related news from around the interwebs.
Before I start his season's first walk though I do want to piggyback on Ryan's post game wrap on UCLA's 4-1 victory over UCI. There are two datapoints that are worth emphasizing here:
- At 30-7, Bruins have already eclipsed the win total from last season by a full three games with 19 games still left to play.
- Bruins also reached a new mark last night by reaching the 30 win mark in record time in our program's history.
Bruins now of course look forward to perhaps the biggest home series in its program history when they take on ASU Sun Devils (who are ranked somewhere between the 2 and 3 spot in the top-5). I can't remember last time there were matchups between two top-5 teams at the Jackie Robinson stadium. This is absolutely huge. I think it is going to be an immense challenge taking on the Sun Devils pitching staff.
Ryan told me that he heard few hundred ASU fans might be showing up this weekend. It would be a great boost if the Bruin fans give our team an overwhelming home field advantage this weekend at JRS. So if (and we are looking at you - the students and alums who live in or around LA) you haven't made plans to make the trip to JRS this weekend, today would be a good day to line everything up.
Oh we have a little roundup to do and we will start with baseball. Keith Lair from the Whittier Daily News has a nice profile on Rob Rasmussen, our Sunday starter who has been doing a pretty good job of playing the role of stopper last few weeks. Rob had a tough outing against Arizona this past weekend but leading up to this weekend he led the Bruins to some huge wins including victories over Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon. Rasmussen gives John Savage credit for his development this season:
The Bruins began the season with 22 consecutive victories. The streak ended with an 8-4 loss to Stanford.
Rasmussen then gave the Bruins a series-closing 7-5 victory. He gave up four hits in six innings.
"He has a role that is important to us," Savage said. "When you play a three-game series in conference, the series comes down to the Sunday pitcher. We were 0-1 against Stanford and he got us the win.
"We were 1-1 against Oregon State and he got us the win. We were 0-2 against Oregon and he kept us from being swept. You need to have a strong Sunday pitcher. It's a huge role and he has done the job this year."
Savage has given him the mental edge to be pitching at this level, the Arcadia resident said.
"His expertise has made me understand how important the numbers are," Rasmussen said. "I've learned what I need to do in situations."
Rasmussen was a superstar at Pasadena Poly high school where he went 12-0 with a 0.33 ERA in 2007 and helped the Panthers to a 24-2 record and CIF-Southern Section semifinal playoff berth. Rasmussen was also drafted by the Dodgers (in 27th round) yet he knew what was right the decision for him:
"There was no way I was ready for the pros," he said. "I'm so happy I went to UCLA."
The feeling is mutual Rob. The more we all get plugged into baseball (via Ryan) the more I like this sports. I think it make s a huge difference when you get an actual sense of loyalty and devotion from these student athletes to our school, instead of always looking out for pro potentials (which I don't blame the kids for because it's really the system).
I get the sense baseball will only become more popular in the coming years while basketball loses its appeal. At least for me, it is hard to get excited over "student-athletes" who only show up for a year or two out of necessity instead of actually wanting to be in school.
Moving on to football, Jon Wilner from at the College Hotline (San Jose Mercury News blog) has an interesting ranking for Pac-10 football coaches "based on wins vs. draft picks." I think it's an interesting exercise and the result is amusing but I wouldn't put too much stock into it. The commenters in his thread already pointed out all the inherent flaws in his methodology.
Lastly, the football team was not the only program going through spring workouts in Westwood:
Always excited about the women's soccer team but not so sure about Salcedo's program. Seems to me given all the talent we have had in recent years, our soccer team have underachieved and not lived up to the standards of championship contending programs. It will be interesting to see how they respond next season.