Friday, June 6, 2008

Foresters open season today


When Santa Barbara Foresters Head Coach Bill Pintard says his young, semi-pro baseball team consists of future Major Leaguers, he means it.
At yesterday’s Major League Baseball draft, 21 current and former Foresters were picked by big league teams — two more than ever before.
“It was a great day for the Foresters,” Pintard said after watching the draft. “When they say come watch tomorrow’s Major Leaguers today, [it’s true].”

When the Foresters open their season at 4:30 p.m. today at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium against the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, the sweet crack of a wooden bat will undoubtedly fill the air as it has for the past 14 years, and the Foresters will commence another action-packed run at a National Championship, which they won just two years ago.
Nearly every day between today and the end of July, fans will be treated to what many people have called “Foresters baseball,” — a style of play that some see as an echelon above regular baseball. The fans, some so dedicated they attend nearly every game, utter the words when, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Foresters will bat around the order, steal bases and lay down sacrifice bunts regardless of whether they’re winning or losing. It’s not in bad taste, but more of an effort to sharpen skills, anything to get the win: to play Foresters baseball.
And this year, Pintard said the team is going to be as strong as ever, despite losing some players in the draft.
“I think we’re gong to have a very special club,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Leading the way for the Foresters will be returning infielders David Hernandez and Michael Torres, who play for the University of Texas.
Pintard said he’s also excited to have Vinnie St. John, a freshman outfielder from the University of Southern California, as well as UC Santa Barbara hurler Mike Ford. Other UCSB players joining the Foresters are Eric Oliver, an infielder, and Clayton Edwards, a right-handed pitcher.
From Santa Barbara City College, pitchers Pete Ruiz, Blake McFarland and Gregg Pellici made the roster.
Also on the Foresters roster is former Dos Pueblos High School star Chris Joyce, who was drafted yesterday by the Dodgers in the fourth round. Pintard said he’s not sure whether Joyce will sign a professional contract or play for the Foresters and attend college later.
For today’s game, Pintard said his club will be shorthanded because many of the players are competing with their collegiate teams in the NCAA Tournament.
While that’s par for the course this early in the season, Pintard noted that the matchup is a league game, which raises the stakes.
Jim Buckley, who is known as the voice of the Foresters, and broadcasts games on AM 1340, said today’s opponent, the Urban Youth Academy, is based in Compton and is part of Major League Baseball’s effort to revitalize baseball in inner cities.
He said they had one player drafted in the first round and the caliber of play is top-notch.
“It’s going to be a rocking good time at Caesar Uyesaka this summer,” Buckley said.
The Foresters will also make a trek to Havana, Cuba, this summer where they’ll take on the Cuban National Team, which is arguably one of the best amateur teams in the world. They took second place in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, dropping the championship game to Japan.
As the Foresters take the field day after day for the next two months, (they will play 46 games in the next 54 days with the playoffs to follow), they’ll look to bring home another national championship trophy from the National Baseball Congress World Series held in Wichita, Kan.
Two years ago the Foresters went all the way, but fell short last year and ended up finishing fourth.
Aside from quality baseball, Pintard said a number of other improvements are on tap at the ballpark, including improved food, facilities and entertainment.
“You don’t have to go to L.A. to see good baseball and eat a Dodger Dog,” he said. “You can get it at Caesar Uyesaka and for a fifth of the cost.”
The Forester’s entire schedule and other information about the team is available at,

1 comment:

Vigilante said...

Where is Caesar Uyesaka field/stadium? I wish the Forresters could play a few innings down here at City College!