Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Aggie Makes The Postseason

After shooting Wednesday's men's soccer game against Cal State Northridge, I decided to give myself the evening off, head to the Davis Graduate and watch some baseball.

Anyone remotely interested in the MLB season knows how the playoff picture shook out, so I don't need to go into too much detail about it. For you folks, September 28, 2011 will go down as one of the most dramatic single days in baseball history. Thus, you may skip the next segment.

For those who don't follow it, here's the short version: Tampa Bay and Boston were tied heading into the regular-season finale for the wild card spot. This is the same Boston team that some had considered the favorite for the World Series earlier in the summer, that led the AL East for 56 days during the season, and that had held a nine-game cushion to make the playoffs to start the month. (Of course, this is the same Boston team whose penchant for coming up just shy of glory hogged up an inordinate portion of Ken Burns' 10-volume documentary, which means we Red Sox fans braced ourselves for a September collapse sometime during Spring Training.) A Boston loss combined with a Tampa Bay win would push the Red Sox out of the postseason.

Meanwhile, in the senior circuit, the Cardinals looked to complete an equally improbable task as the Rays: overcoming what had been a 10.5-game deficit to snipe a postseason spot from Atlanta. St. Louis had won 23 of 30 games heading into the final day. A Cardinal win combined with a Braves loss would finish this amazing comeback, putting St. Louis in the postseason for a 24th year.

So Boston-Baltimore played on the south end of the Grad, along the wall that contains the front door and the patio access. New York-Tampa Bay appeared on three screens at the bar. St. Louis-Houston played on two screens near the restrooms, and Atlanta-Philly took up the two screens closest to the grill. The dance floor is the middle of all this, which allowed me to pace back and forth between the two American League games.

And in my pacing, I'm pretty sure I burned off the entire Grad burger and pitcher of Aggie Lager.

Ah, so there IS a UC Davis connection to this blog post.

In a place only partially occupied by dinner guests, bar regulars and a smattering of actual sports fans, a trio of young women watching the Cardinals-Astros made more noise than anyone else. (Given that a Red Wings-Blackhawks preseason NHL game held the attention of yet another group, that is no easy feat.) I peeked in on the two NL games on occasion, mostly to see if UC Davis alum Daniel Descalso was playing.

Hey, another connection!

When Boston-Baltimore went into a rain delay, I directed my attention to Tropicana Field. New York's seven-run lead had diminished to one, thanks in large part to a three-run home run by Evan Longoria, the Long Beach State alumnus who once played against UC Davis at our own Dobbins Stadium.

Now you're reaching, Honbo.

The Cardinals made relatively easy work of the Astros, behind their steady hitting and Chris Carpenter's right arm. The women made even more noise when Descalso entered the game as a defensive sub. He hauled in a harmless pop-up in the eighth then drove a single through the middle in the ninth. I caught both moments on replay, alerted from my post at the bar by the cheers and squeals from the center table.

By the time play resumed at Camden Yards, the three Cards fans had relocated to become ad hoc Phillies fans. At this point, Philadelphia had tied Atlanta with a run off Braves stopper Craig Kimbrel. Even more rowdiness and cheering.

During a break, I finally went over to the table and asked, "Do you all know Descalso or are you just big Cardinal fans?"

Two of them motioned to the apparent table captain, who replied, "I'm his sister."

I explained my interest: I work for the athletics department, I saw Daniel play for UC Davis, I wrote the UC Davis magazine article on Descalso and Cardinal quantitative analyst Sig Mejdal, etc.

The younger Descalso continued to exchange text messages with her brother, who sat in the Minute Maid Park visitors' clubhouse with the rest of the Birds. Two thousand miles apart, they hung on every pitch of the same broadcast together, the way two friends might remotely enjoy the same episode of Glee. On the next screen was the shot of the visiting locker room in Houston, readying for the potential Cardinal celebration.

When Philadelphia took down the win in the 13th, thus locking up a playoff spot for St. Louis, Stephanie and her friends erupted in celebration. On the screen above them, Daniel and his friends erupted in celebration. From my seat, they might as well have been in the same room (only we had better beer).

Three college-aged men sat an adjacent table, startled by this scene. Sensing their confusion, I explained: "Her brother is a rookie on the Cardinals. He just made the playoffs. She's pretty happy about it." Impressed by this connection, they each went up to offer their congratulations. I'm not sure they were baseball enthusiasts, or if I'd inadvertently given an opening to introduce themselves to three young women, but they gave their wishes either way.

But here's the thing: I grew up thinking major leaguers were larger than life, almost superhuman, as if they existed in an alternate universe that doesn't connect with the rest of us. The older generation probably doesn't share that feeling; we've heard the stories of New Yorkers who remember chit-chatting with Whitey Ford or Billy Martin on the subway car to Yankee Stadium. The salaries of professional athletes had not separated the players from the fans to the degree they have since. The younger fans might not feel the same way, given how social media like Twitter and tell-all media outlets provide glimpses into athletes' personal lives in a way only Jim Bouton's Ball Four could do. But for me, major leaguers seem to exist in their own little world, one that hashtags and high-definition fail to bring closer.

Even now, at an age at which I'm older than 95 percent of current MLB players, and having worked my 12th season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats – one step away from the big clubs – I still feel those guys extricate themselves from the "normal" world the moment they earn their major league calls. I distinctly remember sitting next to Nick Swisher in the Raley Field press box, talking to him about his father (also a major leaguer). Now he's married to Joanna Garcia from my beloved Freaks And Geeks TV series. Hardly seems like the same guy, even though he is.

Seeing Stephanie on the phone with her brother, then celebrating the moment as it both transpired in front of my eyes and as it took place on Fox Sports, blurred that distinction and quite literally brought the game and its players back home. This was not some fan, celebrating a win by throwing drunken high fives to strangers on the rail. This a genuine moment between a sister and a brother, one who followed in the other's footsteps by attending this very university. At least one major leaguer became quite human, with one very proud family.

And, for what it's worth, Daniel... your Aggie family is quite proud of you, too.

-Mark Honbo, assistant athletics communications director, got so caught up in the scene described above that he missed Robert Andino's game-winning single to beat his Red Sox. So Slaughter outrunning Pesky's throw, Gibson besting a fatigued Lonborg, Perez' shot off the Spaceman, Dent vs. Torrez, Mookie's elusive ground ball, Clemens' ejection and Boone vs. Wake -- these moments collectively gained a new housemate.

He is further glad that the NCAA will not allow him to gamble on sports: watching those games was nerve-wracking enough that having to follow them on a daily basis with money on the line could only cause a rare medical condition known as "brain boilage."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fan Of The Week

UC Davis women's volleyball has launched its own promotion on the team's Facebook page. Essentially, fans who follow the page should keep an eye out for a call for Fan of the Week. Then the coaching staff keeps track of who "Likes" or comments on the post. They have a randomly chosen secret number for which response is the winner -- you know, sort of like radio shows that award prizes to the 13th caller. The Fan of the Week gets a free admission to that week's upcoming match, a shout on the Facebook site and (I would imagine) some recognition at the match.

The first winner of this promotion turned out to be Tori Hooper, who played middle blocker and outside hitter for UC Davis from 2006-09. I wrote a Spotlight Aggie feature on Tori for the football game program two years ago, since her upbringing in Cameron Park helped instill a love for a flight. We reposted the article on the athletics website here.

By the way, as stated in the Spotlight feature, Tori has begun training at nearby Travis AFB on the KC-10 Extender, a craft best known for refueling other planes while in flight. I know in-air fueling has existed for a while, but it still blows me away. In my college days, some friends and I took two cars on a little road trip to Santa Cruz. Somewhere along I-80, I positioned my car such that one of my passengers could lean out a side window and pass a plate of cookies to the other vehicle. That was nerve-wracking enough: I can't imagine doing the same thing in mid-air, replacing baked goods with highly flammable jet fuel. Kids, don't try either at home.

For what it's worth, though, back then I drove a Cadillac Fleetwood -- roughly the same size as a KC-10.

Anyway, congrats to Tori, good luck to the volleyball tomorrow night and here's to hoping the Aggie coaching staff has to set its secret number high because of the onslaught of fans who hope to become the next winner.

- Mark Honbo, assistant athletics communications director, already has a courtside seat for Aggie volleyball. But that didn't stop him from vying for the Fan of the Week title.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Quarter

Tomorrow is the first day of instruction for the UC Davis undergraduates. Yep, a Thursday. Not many schools start a term on a Thursday, but we do. We're talking 25,000-plus people suddenly populating the campus. A third of them are new and relatively unfamiliar to the university's geography. The other two-thirds haven't seen each other in months, which means they'll stop in inopportune locations to greet each other.

In other words, I'll steer clear of the Coffee House for a few days.

But for me, the fall quarter has been going for the better part of a month. And my 2011-12 school year is off to a fine start, mostly because the two fall teams for which I serve as the primary media contact -- men's water polo and women's volleyball -- are on track to enjoy their best-ever seasons.

Men's water polo holds an 8-3 overall record and a 5-0 mark against its leaguemates in the Western Water Polo Association. Oddly, two games from the loss column may be more impressive than any of the eight Ws: the Aggies fell to then-No. 5 Pacific in an 8-7 squeaker on September 3, and battled No. 6 Pepperdine to a 14-10 loss last weekend at the NorCal Invitational.

Every year, the top four teams in the CWPA Men's Varsity Poll comprises some order of Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA, the four schools that traditionally play in the Pac-12. In the last four years, only two of the other 39 NCAA programs have managed to break up that superfecta. They were -- oh yes -- Pepperdine and Pacific.

Pacific did it during November of 2010, leapfrogging from sixth to fourth and pushing Stanford down to No. 5 for two weeks. For Pepperdine, it's a more distant memory -- the Waves finished the 2008 season at No. 2, with Cal nudged down to No. 6. Yet in the 2009 preseason poll, the regular crew ruled the perch: USC, Stanford, UCLA and Cal, in order.

Bottom line: cracking the top four is a rare achievement. Pepperdine and Pacific have done it, and appear in position to challenge again this year, holding No. 5 and No. 6. That UC Davis has played two of its best games against those teams -- even though the final outcome might not have been favorable -- speaks volumes about what this year's team can do.

Head coach Steve Doten set two goals for the 2011 team. One is to crack into the top 10, which his program last did in 2007. The other is to win the WWPA title, which earns a trip to the NCAA Championship.  He now has accomplished the first, with the Aggies moving up to No. 9 in Wednesday's poll. The second? Check back in November.

Fans can catch a glimpse of this team this weekend, with UC Davis hosting the eight-team Aggie Shootout tournament at Schaal Aquatics Center., starting with Friday's contest against 17th-ranked Cal Baptist. First sprint is 6 p.m.


* * * * *

Aggie fans, go check out a women's volleyball match this year. There simply is no other way to say it.

Some brief history: UC Davis went 11-72 during the final three years of the Division I transition period (the Aggies still played a mostly D-II schedule during the first), then went 4-24 with a 1-15 conference mark in 2007. By many accounts, volleyball arguably had the toughest path to success -- the Big West has long been a highly successful conference in the sport, boasting six national champions and 14 Final Four participants in its history. When the Aggies began facing Division I teams in 2004, six members of the conference had made the NCAA tournament the year before. (To illustrate, consider that four members of the ACC made the NCAA basketball tournament in 2011.)

Enter Jamie Holmes, now in her fourth year as head coach.

UC Davis went 12-16 in Holmes' rookie season of 2008, a seemingly miraculous jump. The following year, the Aggies went 20-10 – the first 20-win season since 1996 - and finished second in the conference. Last year's team challenged for the conference title until an injury bug struck in the final weeks.

This year, UC Davis enters conference play with a 14-1 mark, setting a record for the best start in program history, and has received votes toward the AVCA Top 25 poll first the first time in the Division I era. Among the 14 victories: Tulsa, which went 31-2 and won the Conference USA title in 2010; Missouri, which advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last year; and Northern Colorado, tabbed to win the Big Sky Conference championship this season.

The next great challenge will be the Big West, a league that fielded three 20-match winners last year. Leading contenders Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific compare quite favorably overall with the vanquished Tulsa and Mizzou on the Rich Kern RPI and Pablo Rankings (two empirical ranking systems followed by volleyball's more astute followers).

But alas, the matches are not played on paper, as the saying goes. The Aggies will use the next eight weeks to show whether or not they truly belong with the conference's elite and, by extension, in the NCAA tournament. Can they do it? Is this the year UC Davis women's volleyball achieves something that seemed almost impossible just five years ago?

The Big West slate starts with a road match at Pacific within hours after this post, written Wednesday, Sept. 21. If you catch this too late, or you don't want to drive down to Stockton, come out to the Pavilion on Saturday. UC Davis takes on UC Irvine, a program that ranked in the Top 25 last than two years ago (before getting knocked out by your very own Aggies).

So there it is... check out a women's volleyball match this year. There simply is no other way to say it.

* * * * *

On a serious note, it was with great regret that I could not attend the memorial service for John Hardie, an event held last Saturday at the Davis Community Church. I feel a double kinship to Hardie, who passed away on Sept. 1 and who earned a touching mention in Mike Robles' last blog entry for his contributions as a timekeeper at UC Davis football games.

For starters, he once was effectively an SID for the athletics department during his early days of service on campus. Before Jim Doan became the first full-time "sports publicist" for the Aggies, the position reported to ASUCD, not the athletics director. Hardie, among many other duties in his role as business manager, wrote press releases and compiled records for UC Davis athletics.

On a more personal note, John's son Doug is one of my best friends in the world. We both graduated from Davis High 21 years ago and have remained close ever since. In the week following John's passing, Doug enlisted my photographic skills to capture an image of the Weier Redwood Grove in the UC Davis Arboretum, one of his father's treasured locations on campus. The photo would adorn the cover of the program at John's service.

I took several shots, all using a technique called "long exposure," in which the camera shutter is held open for unusually long durations. If the shutter speed is too fast, the image will be too dark and you lose detail. If it's too slow, brighter details like the sky or the sunlit foliage get washed out. Thus, getting the final image comes down to finding just the correct number of seconds to hold the shutter doors open.

Ah yes, 'twas as if John himself insisted that my timekeeping was as precise as his.


- Mark Honbo, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

Once An Aggie, Always An Aggie

While we get media requests from all over the country, our ears do perk up when the caller says "Hi, I'm calling from Sports Illustrated and need some assistance." That was the case about a month ago when a photo editor at the magazine asked if we had some photos for a piece they were planning on TCU head football coach Gary Patterson.


The UC Davis connection? Patterson coached the Aggie linebackers in 1986, another in the long line of football coaches during the Jim Sochor era that have gone on to build amazing resum├Ęs coaching college programs. Patterson, like the others, still holds our program in high regard. We sent SI several black-and-white photos, mostly the kind of posed team shots that parents purchase as keepsakes. 

I didn't know what kind of story SI was working on, let alone how big it would be, until I opened my Sept. 12 issue and saw an eight-page spread chronicling Patterson's career written by S.L. Price. Price is a writer for the magazine and was his roommate in Davis. There is prominent mention of the UC Davis football program, its influence on Patterson and its uniqueness during its Division II era.

And our photo? It's right there on pages 62-63. Pretty cool. We even got our obiligatory "Courtesy of Athletic Communications" in about 1-point type right there on the spine below the photo. A high-powered telescope is all I need to see it.

An interesting sidenote is the issue's cover which features Boise State. The coach of the Broncos, as Aggie fans are aware, is Chris Petersen, the quarterback on the 1986 team that also featured Patterson.

As for the story, you can read it here.

****************************************

Several staff members and coaches met for lunch on Tuesday to bid a fond farewell to Byron Talley whose last day as director of the track and field and cross country programs is today. Byron and his family are moving to Dallas, Texas, and will be closer to both of their families. He's a quality coach who I've had the chance see evolve from a talented student-athlete to an assistant coach to - most recently - the programs' director. 

Byron is a pretty reserved guy but his passion for UC Davis - particularly his student-athletes - has always been evident and is what I'll miss the most. Even as he said his goodbyes yesterday it was pretty clear he's someone who will never be too far from the Aggie Athletics program. 

He was given a lot of responsibility as an assistant coach in organizing home meets and that's how he and I interacted the most. It's no easy task because mixing hundreds of student-athletes, a few dozen officials and tons of races is a recipe for disaster if it's not done right. He and I worked closely with entries and seeding in the week leading up to a meet. But I was able to hand off my share on Saturdays to the timers while Byron had to help make sure the meet was run properly and smoothly - and he succeeded.

Ask any track coach and they'll say any meet that finishes on time is a good meet, and our meets always finished on time due in large part to Byron.

Oh yeah, during meets he also had to try and coach his team, a mostly secondary role to being the meet director. But he succeeded in that area as well. He had the difficult task of filling the enormous footprint left by legendary coaches Jon and Dee Vochatzer who retired in 2010. But he did so admirably and led the Aggie teams to their best combined finish at the Big West Championships last May.

Drew Wartenburg, the head cross country coach, is the new director of track and field and cross country and will do a great job as well. And I know our meets will still finish on time.

**************************************

We're barely a month into this year's Causeway Cup race but the Aggies are already off to a great start thanks to wins by women's soccer (1-0 on Aug. 21) and women's volleyball (3-2 on Sept. 13). They've given us a great 15-0 lead but more points are on the line this weekend and some of the competition takes place on campus.

UC Davis is already making noise in the race and men's soccer wants fans to make some on its behalf when it hosts Sacramento State on Friday at 4 p.m. at Aggie Soccer Field. That's right, bring your noisemakers - just not airhorns or whistles - and help the Aggies try to keep the early momentum going. 

This is the last year this will be a nonconference game, by the way. Next year, Sac State joins the Big West but only in the sport of men's soccer. 

Here's a plea from men's soccer for you to come out on Friday.

Ten more points will be up for grabs on Saturday at the Stanford Invitational as the men's and women's cross country teams from both schools square off. The teams have already met twice this year but Stanford is when teams traditionally put their best lineups, well, on the line and the local rivals have decided to designate that meet as the Causeway Cup showdown. 

Lots of points hanging in the balance this weekend and lots of Aggie student-athletes ready to put them in the bag.


- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director
  Athletics Communications

Friday, September 16, 2011

Looking Back

It's not always the games at UC Davis that stand out, it's the people behind the scenes that often make the most impact and the Aggie family has lost a couple of great ones recently with the passing of John Hardie and Brian Thompson.

John passed away on Sept. 1 and is being remembered by many people for his contributions to the community and to UC Davis - especially starting almost 50 years ago when the campus really began to grow. But I'll remember him as the official timekeeper at Aggie football games. He and I combined for more than 50 years of service at Toomey Field, although his 46 years are a big chunk of that. I kept stats on the top floor and John ran the clock, directly to my left. We both had prime seats, not so much for the games, but for the sideshow of having two sets of coaches barking instructions - and other "fun" words - from each side of us.

I didn't know John in his campus roles. I mainly knew him as our timekeeper and the friendly face he brought to every game and his love of the Aggies. I'm always amazed how many former administrators have volunteered their time to run our clocks, serve on the chain crew or help in any variety of ways at our games. They are one of a kind and John is at the top of the list.

Brian, who passed away on Thursday, was someone I got to know a lot better, mainly because I saw him at just about every Aggie game and event that we had on campus. And a lot that were on the road too. It was always fun to be on some far away roadtrip and see B.T. in the hotel ready to chat and talk about whatever game was coming up. He and his wife Audrey were Aggie loyalists through and through. That's funny in itself because while his kids, Tip and Pam, are UC Davis alums, B.T. went to UC Berkeley. You'd never know it by his allegiance though. Heck, he even played in the UC Davis alumni band. 

How strong was his devotion to UC Davis Athletics? He'd constantly make the drive from Castroville so that he could see the Aggies. Then he'd go home and the next thing you know, he'd be back on campus for another game. I can barely make it from Natomas sometimes.

John and B.T. were both honored with Special Recognition Awards at UC Davis for the longtime volunteer service to Aggie Athletics. B.T. even received the College Division Volunteer of the Year in 2000 from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Both men were well-deserving recipients of their honors.

Again, it's not the games you remember, it's the people, and John and B.T. will be missed.

***************************************************************************

I started following college women's volleyball in the mid-1980's when I was at Cal Poly. We had pretty good teams when I was there and it was a given that we'd be ranked in the top 20.  But in those days, unless your school resided on the west coast - or Hawaii - you could forget about getting any kind of respect in the volleyball world. It was the west coast and then everyone else. But then Texas won it all in 1988 and the rest of the country started catching up.

Nebraska and Penn State became mainstays at the NCAA Final Four, other schools like Wisconsin and Minnesota made appearances, and while the west coast still dominated the titles, it was clear the power was being distributed throughout the country. Recently, it's been Penn State that's been the dominant program with four straight NCAA titles.

So when you think about how competitive college volleyball currently is, getting mentioned among the country's best is a great accomplishment. Kudos to the Aggie team which has already beaten two NCAA Tournament teams from last year - including Missouri which went to the Sweet 16 - and as of Friday afternoon was off to an amazing 11-1 start. 

And a Causeway Classic win over Sacramento State on Tuesday has already sweetened a great start to the season.

UC Davis is home this weekend with the Aggie Invitational so take some time and check out their great play.

***************************************************************************

I was getting set to write the recap this week of the women's golf team triumphant start to their season and I was trying to figure the most notable part of their win at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic at Colorado State. Was it winning by two shots over Colorado and Illinois? Maybe it was Demi Runas taking medalist honors by three strokes? Or perhaps it was that UC Davis took down 18 other teams with a lineup that featured two players who haven't stepped in their first college classroom.

That's what they call a "good problem to have." 

I didn't know what to expect when the Aggies took off for their trip. Three returners - Runas, Amy Simanton and Jessica Chulya - formed the core but I really didn't know what to expect from the freshmen Blair Lewis and Beverly Vatananugulkit. It didn't help that I kept misspelling Vatana, Vatananag, um, it didn't help that I kept misspelling Beverly's name. But they came through, as coach Anne Walker said, like veterans, both with top-30 placings

All five players contributed and UC Davis opened the season the best way possible. The Aggies will return to Colorado in a few days for the Golfweek Challenge and look to do it all over again.


- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director
  Athletics Communications

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Name Game

Among my memories from the Aggies' last football trip to Montana State in 2006 - besides a 45-0 win - was finding the No. 1 ranking on my unofficial "incorrect UC Davis reference" list. I'm not sure it will ever be dethroned.

That's right, please say hello to "U.C.-David". 

There is so much wrong with that that I still cringe when I see it. Periods and hyphens that shouldn't even exist. And don't even get me started on the use of "David"... "David"?

I'm not sure who exactly put the name into use but it was on a luggage tag after my bags arrived in Bozeman a day after me. I'm guessing either a baggage handler not familiar with our school or someone involved with some Causeway Classic trickery was the source. 

Either way, the moniker automatically vaulted to the top of my list and has held onto its position for five years now. I can't imagine a more incorrect way to refer to UC Davis so I'm sure it's going to be there for a while.

While the reference was surprising, the fact that it was incorrect wasn't. For years my staff and I have been vigilantes when it comes to how the media and other schools refer, and even spell, "UC Davis." It's like trying to kill an ant though. You get rid of one of them but more just take its place.

We see "Cal-Davis" a lot. That hurts to say, let alone read. "U.C. Davis", "UC-Davis", "Davis State" and "Cal State Davis" are also on my list - in more ways than one. 

We'll play schools and tell their media relations folks that "It's 'UC Davis'. You spell that 'U', 'C', space, then 'Davis'. There are no hyphens, there are no periods." In fact, I tell them, we're anti-hyphen and periods aren't far behind.

For that instance and for that game, it's solved. Then we start over again the next week. More ants to kill.

I hope someday our name carries the same recognition of, say, UCLA. Do you think anyone calls it "UC-Los Angeles" or "Cal-Los Angeles"? Some people have never even heard of our campus but gain some familiarity when I say we're in the same university system as UCLA.

My favorite memory on this topic occured at the 1997 NCAA Div. II Women's Basketball Elite Eight in Fargo, N.D. as I peered at the scoreboard long before tipoff and saw "Cal-Davis" in digital lights.

ME: "Umm, excuse me. But can I get that name fixed on the scoreboard so that it says 'UC Davis.' 'Cal-Davis' is incorrect and we're kind of pretentious about our name."

WELL-MEANING SCOREBOARD OPERATOR: "Oh, I'm sorry. Absolutely."

Upon returning to the floor a few minutes later, I see "U.C.-Davis".

ME: "Umm, I'm sorry to be a pest, but it's still not right. It's just 'UC Davis'. No hyphens, no periods."

WMSO: "Ah geez. Gotcha. I'm really sorry. I'll get right on that."

A quick visit to the media room and back out to the floor to see 'U C Davis' now glaring down at me.

ME: "Excuse me. Again, I really, really hate to bother you but it's still not exactly correct. You see, it's just 'U', 'C' with no space between them but then a space before 'Davis' "

WMSO: "Oh wow. I really apologize. Let me fix it again."

The third time was the charm because the problem was solved after that. At least for that instance and for that game. 

We're still on patrol and still see bad references plenty of times. When we play out of state, a quick walk through a pressbox talking to radio and tv announcers, a mention in our game notes, and a few emails to the host school has really helped reduce the instances. 

It's going to happen and I'm sure you see it. Most times we notice it too and if we do, rest assured we're on it. It'll just keep on coming. 

There's always ants to be dealt with.

- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director