Monday, October 17, 2011

A Nice Scoop.

First of all, thanks to Aggie superfan John Patella for letting me know I missed this moment -- a show of slick fielding in front of the man whose name is synonymous with slick fielding.

In the past few days, I've been asked a few times if Daniel Descalso -- should he enter a game during this fall classic -- will become the first Aggie to play in the World Series. The easy answer is yes: before last September, only Steve Brown laid claim to being a former UC Davis player in the bigs. Brown, who pitched for the Angels in the early 1980s, never took the mound in the postseason.

As for other major professional sports championships*, we've had some representation over the years, mostly in football. Rich Martini (1980 Raiders), Kevin Daft (1999 Titans) and Elliot Vallejo (2008 Cardinals) all played for teams that made the Super Bowl, with Martini's Raiders claiming the Lombardi Trophy with a 27-10 win over the Eagles. Right now, a part of me roots for the Denver Broncos, for whom Daniel Fells has started every game at tight end this year.

Extend football to a few of its popular variants, and we find quarterbacks Mark Grieb and Khari Jones. Grieb's San Jose SaberCats team has made four ArenaBowls during his career. The former UC Davis genetics major earned Offensive Player of the Game in 2004, then captured the overall game MVP nod three years later.

Head north of the border to find Khari Jones, now the QBs coach for the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Yes, this is the same Tiger-Cats squad for which Bakari Grant has caught 27 passes for 347 yards thus far.) In 2001, Jones earned the league's Most Outstanding Player, leading Winnipeg to the Grey Cup. The Blue Bombers lost to Calgary in a massive upset, but the man once known for his gold-painted shoes helped rally Winnipeg to two second-half TDs after a rough first two quarters.

If you include what the rest of the world calls football, Quincy Amarikwa was traded to the Colorado Rapids in 2010, the year they won the MLS Cup. Amarikwa didn't play in the title game, although he did make one postseason appearance.

But enough of the football and futbol greats, this post is about baseball. As a Red Sox fan, I should not be rooting for the Cardinals. Older diehards of the Nation still wear the scars of Slaughter's Mad Dash or Gibson spoiling of the Impossible Dream, and no amount of replays of Foulke's flip to Mientkiewicz will exorcise those demons. I refuse to be that bull-headed, but I also acknowledge that Red Sox fans can be a stubborn lot, which explains why they can still tolerate repeated plays of "Sweet Caroline" after all these years.

In the end, I'm all about the grand ol' game. It's October, it's the World Series, and I'll cross my fingers to see Daniel take the field for the Birds this week.

-Mark Honbo, assistant athletics communications director, apologizes to any Aggies he might have missed in recalling UC Davis alumni who have competed in their league's biggest show.

*I do mean "professional" here. Several former UC Davis student-athletes have figured in collegiate championships at other schools, perhaps most notably Dante Dettamanti, who led Stanford to eight NCAA water polo titles. And if you extend this list to include the Olympic Games, you have all manners of Aggie athletes, ranging from our first Olympian (rugby player Babe Slater) to our most recent (bobsledder Emily Azevedo), plus three multiple gold medalists who attended UC Davis after achieving Olympic glory (track & field's Peter Snell, swimmers Cathy Carr and Debbie Meyer).

Furthermore, it's worth using this space to give a few quick honorable mentions to such NFL figures as John Herrera (Raiders exec), Jerry Attaway (49ers strength coach) and Myrel Moore (Broncos assistant coach) who all played significant roles in their respective teams' Super Bowl appearances over the decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment