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The least appreciated part of the game

October 11, 2007

Judge mulling “baseball rule”

The CSUF grounds crew works hard to keep the fields up to playing shape

The Associated Press

A foul ball during a minor league baseball game five years ago has landed in the lap of the state Supreme Court, which will decide whether Nevada ballpark owners should be held responsible for fans’ injuries. A lawyer for Mandalay Sports Entertainment, owner of the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas 51s, asked the state high court on Wednesday to invoke a so-called “baseball rule” like one in other states that limits the liability of ballpark owners. “Ambiance and the chance to catch a foul ball are part of the game,” Thomas Dillard told the three-judge panel. The judges made no immediate ruling. Outside court, lawyers said the decision will set a precedent for Nevada, where civic officials are trying to lure a pro sports franchise to Las Vegas and a minor league baseball team to the Reno area. Dillard noted that the Las Vegas ballpark, Cashman Stadium, had signs at turnstiles, a screen to protect fans behind home plate, plexiglass in front of club boxes, a liability notice on ticket stubs, and aired public address warnings to watch for balls. But Kathleen Turner, a bookkeeper at a Las Vegas auto shop, never saw what hit her as she sat at a table in a mezzanine beer garden above the third base line, said her appellate attorney, Beau Sterling. “She could not see the batter, could not see the pitcher, she never saw the foul ball coming towards her,” Sterling told the court. “She did not see it at all until it hit her between the eyes.” Turner’s nose was broken, she was knocked unconscious and required reconstructive surgery, said her trial lawyer, Christopher Young. He said the May 2002 mishap left the former season ticket holder, now 59, too anxious to sit through a live baseball game. Sterling acknowledged that fans in the stands have a responsibility to pay attention. But he said the judge who threw out Turner’s lawsuit in 2005 should have let a jury decide if the stadium owner was negligent for creating what Sterling called a “false sense of safety.”

by Mike Withers

For the Daily Titan

Cool, quiet and humble, the Cal State Fullerton grounds crew shows up at the Physical Plant on campus at 6 a.m. every morning. By about 2:15 p.m., they are nearly done for the day and have the campus looking pristine. “We just hang out in the background and do our jobs,” said Steve Dugas, manager of Landscape Services at CSUF for the last 10 years. The guys in the background get little credit for what they do for the fields on the campus. Setting the entire campus on an automated sprinkler system, managing a handful of fields and taking care of stadiums pre- and post-game are just some of the many things that Dugas’ crew is doing in the background. For some of the groundskeepers, it is a way of staying connected to the games they love. Mark Panozzo, the lead groundskeeper, was both a football and baseball star in his playing days. “I feel like I’m still part of the game. Even the coaches say that we are part of the team,” Panozzo said. One group that respects the work the groundskeepers do is the CSUF coaches. Panozzo said they could not have had more respect for the way they were treated by former baseball Head Coach George Horton, and they already feel comfortable with Head Coach Dave Serrano since he was a member of Horton’s staff. There is no better example of the respect received from coaches than Walter Ventura. Ventura was the main field worker at Goodwin Field when the Titans won the 2004 College World Series. He was given his own championship ring by the team. “I got it in a safe place, I’ll wear it on special occasions,” Ventura said jokingly. Ventura is now managing Titan Stadium as well as the track. He has since passed Goodwin Field on to

By Cameron pemstein/daily titan photo editor Walter Ventura paints the lines of the soccer field in Titan Stadium on the afternoon of CSUF’s men’s soccer match against UC Riverside.

one of the younger members of the crew, Ramon Alamillo, Jr. Alamillo, a second-generation groundskeeper, had spent his entire day laying sod at Goodwin Field. Although he never actually puts in an entirely new field, he does have to replace certain areas of the turf up to three times a year.

Areas such as left, center and right field, as well as in front of the pitchers mound and down the lines are high traffic areas and tend to wear out much faster then other areas of the field. With the addition of the Fullerton Flyers, a minor league baseball team, the field is even more difficult

to maintain. “We had five down days this summer, three of which were taken up by commercials and camps,” Dugas said. The humbleness of the groundskeepers was most evident when they made a point of giving credit to colleagues Mike Freeman and Gordon

Jason Kornfeld

Huse for the work that they do on Anderson Family Field and the intramural fields. So next year when the Titans take Goodwin Field, they will be reaping the rewards of four groundskeepers with major league dedication. “It’s just as good a field as Angels Stadium,” a proud Panozzo said.

The Korner

Lakers outlook: Things are not as bad as they seem My experience of waiting for Halo 3’s midnight release was trumped on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Lakers officially began their preseason from Hawaii. This time I only had to wait until 10 p.m., but I still had my buddies giving me a hard time for how excited I was. As a matter of fact, Snyder Says could hardly contain himself with how stoked I was when the game began on live TV. But this game against the Golden State Warriors provided me with an opportunity to do what I always do during the NBA preseason: scout my team and get a better understanding of where they might end up when the season is over. I’ll start by breaking down how each known player performed at each position, and how they should do during the regular season. Role players are important, but I’m not going to cover everyone, especially the camp invitees. Starting at the point guard position was Derek Fisher. It was so refreshing to see D-Fish back, and I will not miss the pouting of the recently departed Smush Parker. Fish had a solid nine points and three assists in 17 minutes. I expect him to play 25 to 30 minutes a game during the regular season, and his tenacity and leadership are invaluable. Backing up Fisher were secondyear guard Jordan Farmar and rookie Javaris Crittenton. The battle for minutes between these two guards is going to be healthy competition. Farmar is more of a defensive anchor and assist man, while Crittenton is more of an explosive scorer and has lightning-quick speed to penetrate. Expect Farmar to see the bulk of back up minutes as Coach Phil Jackson is known to limit the minutes of rookies. P.J. may be forced to give Crittenton some tick

though, as he could be a viable offensive threat. For the shooting guard slot, Kobe Bean Bryant did his thing with 17 points in 21 minutes. Kobe really only played in the first and third quarters, with different responsibilities in each one. In the first quarter, Kobe looked for his teammates and then switched to scoring mode for the third. He added five dimes on the night. Don’t expect No. 24 to sit too many minutes during the season. He’ll get his playing time, and if the Lakers unite well enough, he may just stick around another year. If they flop and lose in the first round convincingly, look for the Kobester to again demand a trade. Sasha Vujacic impressed off the bench, scoring 15 points in 23 minutes. If he makes the team, he will be competing with Maurice Evans, Farmar, Crittenton, Fish, Kobe and Coby Karl, for minutes this year. Vladimir Radmanovic is back ladies and gentlemen! After a dismal, injury-plagued season last year, VladRad dropped 20 points with six boards on 5-for-7 shooting from downtown. He should get valuable minutes off the bench, in which he should produce a nice scoring punch, silencing the critics. Ronny Turiaf also provided nice energy at the power forward position. Phil said he might start Turiaf this year, although I like his intensity off the bench. Up front, Chris Mihm finally made it back to the court after a year and a half! His rustiness showed, but he should find his legs soon enough and might end up starting for the Lakers. Nineteen-year-old Andrew Bynum outplayed Mihm off the bench though, scoring nine points and pulling down 12 boards in just

20 minutes. Bynum is the main xfactor this year and the Lakers will go as he goes. Brian Cook went 1-for-6, scoring only two points in 15 unimpressive minutes. He will have to fight Radmanovic, Mihm, Turiaf, Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown and Bynum for minutes this year. Odom, Brown and Luke Walton did not play due to injuries, but all three should have significant roles once the season begins. Look for this to be Odom’s breakout year, finally. Odom was well on his way to having an allstar caliber season last year, before injuring his knee and tearing his labrum again. Brown, Evans, Vujacic, Turiaf, and Mihm are all in their contract years as well, so look for these five to put in extra effort to fight for new contracts. The Lakers could package a group of players such as Brown, Farmar and Cook to try to add a veteran role player or someone that would upgrade their roster. My starting lineup is: D-Fish, Kobe, Walton, Odom and Bynum. With the chemistry and depth this team has, especially at the point guard and forward/center positions, there is no reason to think why they can’t win 50 games. However, many of these players have injury problems, so look for them to win between 45-48 games, probably finishing sixth or seventh in the Western Conference, and possibly moving out of the first round of the playoffs. In a seven game series with Phil Jackson coaching and Kobe Bryant controlling the game, you never know what can happen All of this could be irrelevant though, as the best team in the West, and in the league, is still the San Antonio Spurs.

2007 10 11  
2007 10 11