This past weekend was of huge importance to Long Beach State and the Dirtbags as they hosted their annual alumni weekend.
The weekend kicked off with the leadoff dinner, held at The Grand in Long Beach. The dinner has a tradition of baseball greats, including Sparky Anderson, and Dirtbag alumni speaking to those in attendance about the program and giving words of wisdom to that year's team.
This year, former Dirtbag Evan Longoria, now a gold glover and silver slugger recipient for the Tampa Bay Rays, spoke about his personal story and gave wisdom to the team about new head coach Troy Buckley. Longoria lamented about Buckley's constant criticisms when he was playing at LBSU, remembering that if he missed one sign out of twenty Buckley would talk to him about it. Longoria warned the team that the constant hounding is a sign that Buckley cares, and that once he stops, you know he has stopped caring. The 2011 team was then introduced, and even with over 20 freshman it was clear they have begun the bonding process already.
Friday, many Dirtbag alumni made their way out to the 9th annual golf tournament held at Recreation Park Golf Course. Players such as Jason Giambi were in attendance, in an effort to raise funds to help renovate and modernize Blair Field.
Saturday, the Dirtbags took the field for the alumni old-timers and intra-squad games. Here current and former players had the opportunity to show off their skills in an informal manner. The "Dirt" and "Bags" teams ended in a 3-3 tie and showcased some of the young talent on the team. Fans got a good look at what to expect early in the season from a few of the newer names, including Coach Buckley as he showed he will stay true to the Long Beach tradition of all-out, gritty play.
The weekend ended with the first stop on the Coaches Tour. Coach Buckley spoke at Tantalum restaurant to fans about the upcoming season and will continue to do so. The Coaches Tour represents a chance for fans to interact with Coach Buckley and the rest of the Dirtbags staff.
Information for the next stop on the Coaches Tour:
2011 Dirtbags Coaches Tour, Stop #2
Monday, February 7th, 2011, 5:30-7:00 PM