The Hoffarth HOF tour of Cooperstown IV: Don’t be so leery of the people you run into


If was just another summer’s day, the odds would not have been all that great of running into former Dodgers pitcher Tim Leary at the Syracuse Airport waiting for the same JetBlue ride to JFK in New York City en route to a trip back to L.A.

But because the National Baseball Hall of Fame staged its second annual Baseball Classic on Father’s Day, bringing Hall of Famers such as Harmon Killebrew, Bob Feller, Gary Carter and Phil Niekro together for an exhibition against other former big-leaguers, Leary was one of the participants recruited to both pitch an inning and even take some cuts.

Anyone who remembers the Dodgers’ charge to the 1988 World Series title knows Leary won 17 games that season (second on the staff to Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser) and even collected a walk-off, game-winning RBI as a pinch hitter.


Leary said he is preparing an application for the Cal State Northridge head coaching job, which came open a couple of weeks ago. Steve Rousey was relieved of his duties by athletic director Rick Mazzuto in early June after eight seasons.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but because it’s a Division I program, and in one of the toughest conferences in the country, plus one of the best locations baseball-wise, there’s a huge upside to being there,” said Leary. “I’d love to help make this a desination point for baseball — from a facility to camps and clinics.”

Leary’s coaching history includes his role as the pitching coach at his alma mater, UCLA, under Gary Adams from 1996 to 2000 (going to the College World Series in 1997), then returning for Adams’ last year in 2004. Leary has been privately coaching since then and working in the insurance business.

Drafted as a junior out of UCLA in 1979 by the New York Mets — No. 2 overall, in a class that included first-rounders Andy Van Slyke, Tim Wallach and Steve Howe — Leary pitched professionally until 1994, spending time with the Brewers, Dodgers (’87-’89), Reds, Yankees, Mariners and Rangers. His .221 career batting average (.269 in ’88 when he won the Silver Slugger) may be more impressive in his 14 seasons than winning 78 games — in ’88, he had nine complete games and six shutouts in a 17-11 record with a 2.91 ERA.

Both an All-American pitcher and an Academic All-American in the same year (1979), Leary went back to UCLA to graduate in 1987 with a degree in economics. He finds that background helps tremendously functioning in today’s amateur baseball circles.

“Fundraising is paramount in this environment, and the UCLA model we used was way ahead of the curve in funding amateur sports,” said the 51-year-old based in Santa Monica, who is in the process of forming a non-profit organization that will also help fund youth sports. “That’s just the way it is these days.”

Among the players Leary coached at UCLA were eventual big-league pitcher Jim Parque, the former Crescenta Valley High standout who played on Bruins teams with current major leaguers Chase Utley, Garrett Atkins and Troy Glaus. Toronto Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen, a 2004 fourth-round pick out of UCLA, is another of Leary’s former students.

The deadline to apply for the CSUN job is July 9, and Mazzuto appears to want to fill the job by the end of the month. (If you’re interested in applying, here’s the link to the app). Mazzuto said the school has “generated a significant number of resumes” to form what he believes is “a quality pool of applicants” that will be reviewed next week. The week after that, candidates will be invited on campus for interviews.

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The Hoffarth HOF tour of Cooperstown II: Pour it on


The wait help at the Doubleday Cafe on Main Street in Cooperstown wear T-shirts with this on the back: “It’s a drinking town with a baseball problem.” Not original, but we get the point.

Because beer goes together with baseball like baseball goes together with beer, two non-horsehide-related side trips while you’re in the hamlet to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame must be to patronize the two local breweries that make and bottle their own brands.

We batted .500 on the mission.


First stop, Ommegang, off CR33, about five miles south of the Hall. The Belgium-style brewery that produces much of the high-end selections you’ll find at the local pubs and super markets is also a great spot for summer concerts. Coming up: Lyle Lovett, out on the grassy area behind the brewery that’s perfectly set up as an amphitheatre.

The first thing we noted about the Ommegang tour we received — we must also note, we’re in with the marketing director, so it helped a little bit to get some extra cheese and the Whalen’s horse radish and garlic soaked pickles with the tasting — was the smell. Something like the Wrigley Field concourse on a warm, summer day.

Yes, warm beer. In a good way. Not as a recycled beer way.


It’s a product of the environment. The giant stainless steel vats hooked up by hoses and filters and yeast and hops and grains emit the scent of beer before it’s cold. It’s boiled, cooked and heated, even to a point where a giant white mesh bag of spices are dropped into the tank to seep into the mix, much like a tea bag.

The brands we took a special liking to at Ommegang (available online at range from the wheat light Wittle (5.1 percent alcohol), to Hennepin (7.7 percent, with a real ginger kick), to Ommegang Abby Ale (8.5 percent), which takes the shape of the brand that is created by Trappist monks, to Rare Vos amber ale (6.5 percent), to Three Philosophers (9.8 percent). Some of this goes excellent with chocolate, it’s that rich. Most of it can be used for baking, steaming into muscles and fish, incorporated into cheese spreads. The Duval (pronounced dooo-vul) brand is also popular.


Because it’s close proximity up the two-lane road from the local 22-strong Little League fields, and the city is able draw many by hosting tournaments for the kids aged 9-to-12, and there seem to be rainouts once and awhile in the hot and humid area, the Ommegang brewery becomes a great escape for coaches caught in delays. Just head for the “Brouwerszaal” sign and all is good on the patio.


The discussion will soon turn toward “premature hopping” and why there isn’t a killer brew created for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.


Second stop: The local store to find the Cooperstown Brewing Company’s collection.

The actual site of this brewery and bottling company is more of a Mickey Mantle drive — at least eight miles from the Hall, in Milford. But for collectors of beer who want a taste of Cooperstown to take home, this digs well into the batters box and allows the souvenir shoppers to be satisfied — all the way to the bottle cap.


(A design so popular that one of the local Main Street collectors stores offer a cap, smashed down and with a magnet on the back as a $2 impulse buy at the counter)

Unfortunately, we didn’t allow enough time to make it out to the site. But we found our first bottle in the Doubleday Cafe and took a liking to its somewhat pedestrian taste and flavor.

Over at the local stores, it’s packaged well — you can get an eight-bottle mix of all the different kinds. From the bottom of the six-pack box, we’re able to find out that Cooperstown Brewing Company was founded in 1994 in Cooperstown, “an area rich in tradition in beer making.”


Hop farming was big in this area from the 1820s to the end of the century. The Cooperstown Brewery’s great grandfather’s hop far was three miles north of the Milford brewery location.

“We use the finest two-row English barley, select West Coast hops and yeast from Ringwood, England,” they say.

The tours at the site are five times a day on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As you can see from the lables on their brew, it’s perfect for collectors, with names like “Nine Man Ale,” “Benchwarmers, “Old Slugger” and “Strike Out.”

On the company’s official website (linked here), you can even see pictures of the fuggle hop used in “Old Slugger.” The company store also has bottle wrenches, pub supplies and tap handles. As well as the T-shirts and beer you can have shipped home.

You need more? Check out each site for a better grasp of what you can find. Then consider engaging in a game of beer baseball (linked here).

Knock ’em down and knock it out.

Previous Cooperstown Tour posts:
== The second on Dodgers and Angels memorabilia (linked here)
== The first (linked here)

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Play it foward: June 28-July 4 on your sports calendar


Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:



College World Series final, Game 1: UCLA vs. South Carolina, 4:30 p.m., ESPN:

Uh, coach, my strike zone is up here … Oh, my, Omaha: A UCLA-USC best-of-three matchup for the title must make Erin Andrews feel like she’s back at Williamsport talking to 12-year-olds with mustaches. FYI to EA: UCLA coach John Savage has the Hollywood connections. Andrews’ contract with ESPN ends on July 1, so she’ll have LeBron James status in the TV world after this assignment. “I’m in a situation where I’m not talking to people about that,” Andrews said earlier in the CWS. Pitching has got the Bruins this far, but defensive gems, like this one by center fielder Beau Amaral in Friday’s game against TCU, make a huge difference now. Game 2 is Tuesday, and a tie-breaking Game 3 is Wednesday. With Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser, Robin Ventura, Erin Andrews and Kyle Peterson. And no more Nomar Garciaparra. Game 2 is Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., and a tie-breaking Game 3 is Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Channel 9:

Now that all that drama’s over — Dodgers-Red Sox, Dodgers-Angels, Dodgers-Yankees — we dial it down a notch with one of the greatest rivalries in all of baseball. The Dodgers took two out of three against San Francisco back in April, losing 9-0 to Tim Lincecom, who’s missing this series. The Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley, out since June 12 with a strained groin, should be ready to retake his spot in the rotation, facing Barry Zito.

MLB: Washington at Atlanta, 4 p.m., ESPN2:

Yup, it’s Strasburg. Or as they now say in D.C., Stras-mas.



MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

The crowd reaction in the top of the first upon seeing Big Daddy Vladdy Guerrero in a Rangers uniform? Ask us again in a couple of weeks when he’s representing Texas in the All-Star Game at Angel Stadium.

MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Channel 9:

Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, both rejected by Tampa Bay, have been recent pickups by the Giants in a quest to inject some offense into their lineup. And it’s worked. Check the standings.

FIFA World Cup: Paraguay vs. Japan, 7 a.m., ESPN; Spain vs. Portugal, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

We miss the 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls and the trips to the fridge for the Heineken-and-rum mixed drinks we invented by accident. Not really.

WNBA: Sparks vs. New York, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Just another opportunity for L.A. major Villaraigosa to take advantage of free Staples Center tickets. There’s a seat on the bench next to the injured Candace Parker with his name on it.


MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

It’s Joe Saunders bobblehead night, but his turn in the rotation isn’t until the next series against K.C.


MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 12:45 p.m., Prime:

The other night on “Jeopardy!,” the $1,200 clue, under the category “It’s in Argentina,” the answer: “Any very large person, like pitcher Ed Halicki.” The trick is to create a word from scrambling the letters around in the word “Argentina.” A contestant buzzes in: “What is a Giant?” Of course, but not just because was 6-foot-7 and went 53-65 for San Francisco from 1973-80 before finishing with the Angels. He also threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 1975. It was the last Giants’ franchise no-no until Jonathan Sanchez threw one last July. Long story longer, Sanchez throws against the Dodgers today. Meanwhile, Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla has an 11-4 mark in 22 games when pitching in the daytime since the start of the 2007 season.


MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

By this date, Nolan Ryan may find out if he’s able to buy the Rangers. Why not. When he pitched for the Angels, he owned them anyway.

WNBA: Sparks vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:

Thanks, but no thanks.



FIFA World Cup: Ghana vs. Uruguay, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

“The hardest thing in soccer is to score a goal,” ESPN analyst John Harkes mentioned during overtime in last Saturday’s U.S.-Ghana knockout contest. Less than a minute later, a fast guy with a red shirt split the defense and blasted the ball past American goalie Tim Howard to put the African nation into the next round. Can the U.S. and South Korea play their way back through the loser’s bracket?

MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Prime:

Get to the D-backs bullpen, and any team has a fighting chance. Edwin Jackson, who threw a no-hitter last week against Tampa Bay, won’t mark an apparence in this series.

MLB: Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m. FSW:

A three-game set with the Royals really isn’t getting us pumped up. We’ll try. This is really where you need a Rex Hudler to help sell it.

WNBA: Sparks vs. Seattle, Staples Center, 2 p.m., ESPN2:

A daylight game seems nice, but not indoors on Fourth of July weekend. This one begs for natural lighting.



Cycling: Tour de France, 8:30 a.m., Versus:

You’re still the man, Lance. No you are. No you are. Day 1 of 23, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, it’s the 97th edition of the great bike race. Armstrong, perhaps able to pick up his eighth victory, is really using this as a training run for the New York Marathon.


Wimbledon: Women’s final, 6 a.m., Channel 4:

Having seen defending champ Serena Williams skim past Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, we like what we’re looking at to see her back in the title match.

FIFA World Cup: Argentina vs. Germany, 7 a.m., ESPN; Paraguay/Japan vs. Spain/Portugal, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

The refs will decide these. Sorry, just a hunch.

NASCAR: Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, 4:30 p.m., TNT:

Danica Patrick’s chance to make an impact here? Zero.

MLS: Chivas USA vs. Philadelphia, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:

They give Chivas a Saturday night game for their own fireworks show. Appropriately against Philly.

MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Prime; Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 6 p.m., Channel 13:

Since when should a couple of baseball games be listed so low on the schedule on a Fourth of July weekend? Too much other stuff apparently.



Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, 9 a.m., ESPN:


What did we learn from the 2009 event over at Coney Island? You are what you eat. Three-time champ Joey Chestnut isn’t dogging it. He inhaled a record 68 in 10 minutes, 3 1/2 more than former six-time champ Kobayashi. Overlooked in this whole mess: Someone named Patrick Bertoletti fired down 55 — in years consumed 55, which prior to 2007, would have given him the victory. That’s how far Chestnut and Kobayashi have raised the barf, er, bar. If you miss it live, it’s regurgitated, er, repeated, at 10 a.m.

MLB: All Star selection, 9 a.m., TBS:

Andre Either supporters have it Tivo’d. Same for Strasburg.

MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 1:10 p.m., Channel 9:

Does Billingsley have enough to make two quality starts in one week? Both on the road?

MLB: Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 5:15 p.m., ESPN:

A prime-time slot for the Angels before they’re sent away again (four in Chicago, three in Oakland) as workers prep the park for the upcoming All-Star Game. And no U2 interruptions.

Wimbledon: Men’s final, 6 a.m., Channel 4:

Everything equal, we’d rather watch John Isner and Nicolas Mahut fight it out on Centre Court. With Andy Roddick supplying the orange slices on changeovers.

MLS: Galaxy vs. Seattle, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:

At least Donovan and Buddle should be on hand for the annual Galaxy fireworks show. We’ll take a Piccolo Pete, a couple boxes of sparklers and a Golden Shower. Here’s our coupon.

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Forever’s a long time … can we just get Pete Carroll back in SoCal for the summer?


The upcoming release of his new book, “Win Forever: Win, Work and Play Like a Champion” (linked here)” puts former USC head football coach Pete Carroll on a nation-wide signing-and-apparence gig that will include at least one stop in Orange County and the South Bay next month.

Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach has him locked in for 7 p.m. on Friday, July 16; he’s then set to appear at the Borders in Torrance on Monday, July 19 at 7 p.m. In both places, he’s scheduled to talk and sign copies of his books.

Prior to that, he’ll be in New York and New Jersey — it’s touted as the former New York Jets coach comes back — on July 13-14, and on July 15, he’s at Warwick’s book store in La Jolla. The tour for the current Seattle Seahawks coach goes to Bellevue, Wash., on July 22.

The book, which lists endorsements from former President Bill Clinton, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, Jets QB Mark Sanchez, new Seahawks boss Paul Allen and the late John Wooden, will be released July 13.


What else has Carroll still rooted somewhat in L.A.? He’s launched what’s called the “Win Forever Academy,” and according to its website (linked here), there’s three camps launching events on Monday at the Home Depot Center — one for players from 5th to 8th grade (sold out), another for 9th to 12th graders and even one for song girls (3rd to 12th grade, headed up by USC song girl coach Lori Nelson).

The camps will give each “a chance to develop the mental and physical skills necessary to be an elite competitor … (it will be) an unforgettable experience.”

Aside from that, Carroll’s “A Better L.A.” plans a July 4 celebration outside the Coliseum (linked here) starting at 5 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m.

Although if a few USC alums show up at one of his booksignings locally next month, expect more fireworks.

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The Hoffarth HOF tour of Cooperstown II: Weeding out the stuff that is Dodgers versus Angels and the interesting overlaps


A collection of items that reflect the storied history of the Dodgers versus what’s there to compare for the Angels is understandably lopsided on the scoreboard. The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim may have had the most name changes as they play in season No. 50 this year, but you can name far more Dodgers facts, figures and players going back to Brooklyn and the late 1800s than the late Jimmie Reese would have cared to remember.

As the Dodgers and Angels finish their final Freeway Series match tonight — the Angels’ dominance has been well established — consider that if you were to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame today to see how the two were represented, this is among what you could experience:

Continue reading “The Hoffarth HOF tour of Cooperstown II: Weeding out the stuff that is Dodgers versus Angels and the interesting overlaps” »

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