Students travel to Mardi Gras

first_imgMardi Gras is traditionally celebrated the Tuesday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. However, some Notre Dame students celebrated early by traveling to New Orleans last weekend to participate in the festivities.“Something that many people don’t realize is that Mardi Gras Day actually marks the end of weeks of celebration. The season officially starts on Jan. 6, ‘The Feast of the Epiphany,’” Elizabeth Owers, a senior from New Orleans, said. “The timing can vary depending on the length of the season, but generally the balls will be held during January, and most parades happen the two weeks before Mardi Gras.”Mariana Tumminello, a freshman from New Orleans, returned to New Orleans a few weekends ago for the ball of the Krewe of Janus. She said a krewe is an organization that puts on a ball and/or parade for the carnival season. Tumminello was Queen of the Ball, a position that she was put up for when she was five years old, she said.“This year, three of my friends from New Orleans came home for the ball with me. One of them, Courtney Denault, was a maid in my court. I also was able to bring four friends [from Notre Dame] back with me so they could come to the ball and experience a little bit of Mardi Gras,” Tumminello said.Tumminello said her favorite traditions included king cake, parades and watching the tourists.“Every year my entire family comes in town and we stay at a hotel downtown so we can go walk around the French Quarter and all be together, while my dad and my uncles ride in a parade called Hermes,” Tumminello said.Although Tumminello and Owers were not able to return home for the actual holiday of Mardi Gras, Tumminello said she plans to wear her purple, green and gold shirt and beads on Tuesday to connect with the celebration at home.“When you are not in New Orleans, it is very different. Tourists think Mardi Gras is a crazy drunk party … but it’s actually a very family-oriented event,” she said. “I’ve grown up going to parades with family, going to Mardi Gras parties with friends and just enjoying one of the most exciting times in my hometown.”Owers also said Mardi Gras is misrepresented as a holiday.“The images of drunken debauchery on Bourbon Street are not at all representative of most parades – they’re loud and crowded, but they’re a lot of fun and many areas are family friendly,” she said. “I loved being able to march and dance down the parade route, see my friends and family, and be part of such a unique tradition.“At its core, Mardi Gras is a community event that brings people together and allows them to spend a few days just celebrating life.” Tags: Mardi Gras, New Orleanslast_img read more


Mike Scioscia, Ken Landreaux and several college all-stars elevate local wood bat league

first_imgPreviousThe OC Riptide’s Blake Evans waits on a pitch during a California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters during Wednesday’s game at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, celebrates with catcher Connor Aoki after finishing an inning during their California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Carson Matthews, left, tags out Santa Barbara ForestersÕ Eric Kennedy trying to steal second base during a California Collegiate League game at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsThe OC Riptide’s Andre Antone prepares for his at bat during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Blake Evans, right, rounds the bases during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius delivers a pitch during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Connor Aube, right, celebrates with teammates after finishing up an inning during a California Collegiate League game Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, and Connor Aoki get ready for the game in a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Blake Evans takes a lead during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Marrick Crouse, left, shares laugher with the dugout before a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, right, waves at the kids in attendance during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Connor Aube checks his bat before a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Blake Evans waits on a pitch during a California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters during Wednesday’s game at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, celebrates with catcher Connor Aoki after finishing an inning during their California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)NextShow Caption1 of 12The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, celebrates with catcher Connor Aoki after finishing an inning during their California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)ExpandThe first time Mike Scioscia laid eyes on C.J. Cron was not in 2014, when Cron debuted with the Angels, or when Cron signed his first professional contract after the 2011 draft, or even at a pre-draft workout. It was in Thousand Oaks in the summer of 2009, when the San Luis Obispo Blues played the Conejo Oaks.“You could see he could swing the bat,” Scioscia recalled Wednesday.These days, Scioscia stays clear of the dugout. That is Dave Soliz’s territory. But if you happen past Sparky Anderson Field on the campus of California Lutheran University in the early afternoon, you might find Scioscia between the lines doing what he loves: teaching young men the game of baseball.Hit up the Urban Youth Academy field in Compton and you will find Ken Landreaux, another member of the Dodgers’ 1981 championship team. He’ll be in the dugout. Landreaux is the manager of the Academy Barons, a rival of Scioscia’s Oaks in the California Collegiate League. If the initials CCL aren’t familiar to you, they should be.California’s oldest amateur wood-bat league fired up its 27th season this month. Its nine teams are comprised of college players from around the country. Some, such as Texas Tech pitcher Micah Dallas, haven’t had a chance to join their CCL teams yet because they’re still playing in the College World Series. The talent level is high, the tickets are cheap, and the seasons bridge a two-month gap in the baseball calendar when many college players retreat home for the summer.Still, you might wonder why two former major leaguers are toiling in relative anonymity, lending their time and talents to teams whose crowds number in the dozens on a good day.“It’s the level,” said Pat Burns, the CCL’s commissioner. “What we’re trying to do is get college all-star players. So if you’re a Division I college baseball player, you’re a very good, elite baseball player. … The fact that those players are hungry to train for a professional career, and we are that level that introduces wood bats and flat-seam baseballs, they’re treated well, the competition is solid day in and day out, they’re able to focus on their development – that is attractive to people who know the game like Mike Scioscia and Ken Landreaux.“The players are hungry to get better, and that’s fun to be around if you’re on the field coaching.” This is the thread that unites summer wood-bat leagues around the country. Burns estimates there are close to 40. Maybe you’ve heard of the Cape Cod League, a proving ground for future major leaguers whose history dates to 1885. If that’s the gold standard, the California League falls somewhere short of silver; how near it stands to the podium depends on who you ask. Some players will spend one summer in the CCL and the next in the Cape, or the Northwoods League, or the Alaska Baseball League.Take the example of the Fletcher brothers, David and Dominic. David, an infielder for the Angels, played in the Alaska Baseball League after his senior year at Cypress High. He played in the Cape Cod League after his freshman year at Loyola Marymount, then was drafted by the Angels as a sophomore.Dominic played for the CCL’s OC Riptide, which plays its home games at Great Park in Irvine, after his freshman year at the University of Arkansas. He played for Team USA after his sophomore year, then was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 75th overall pick in last week’s amateur draft.“He could’ve gone to play in the Cape,” David Fletcher said of his brother. “But he wanted to stay home, work on lifting and getting stronger.”Many of the CCL’s rosters are filled with locally born and raised players. That helps with attendance – a network of family and friends can make for a good crowd – but not every player wants to spend his summer at home. That’s why out-of-state players, such as Dallas, often find their way to the CCL.“I think it’s good to go out of state and play in summer ball,” Fletcher said. “It was good. It was my first time really away from home, the Alaska League, for like 2½ months. You play every day with wood bats. It gets you ready for pro ball a little bit.”Throw in the allure of competitive playing experience, MLB-caliber coaching, professional scouts in attendance, and a televised All-Star Game, and the CCL has plenty to offer a player.For Scioscia, Burns, and others involved with league operations, the challenges are many. Major League Baseball provides the league with a grant in the tens of thousands of dollars. In exchange for MLB’s support, the teams are run as registered nonprofits, with the fruits of their fundraising efforts poured back into everyday expenses.Travel is the big one. Charter buses transport players to and from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, Pasadena, Compton and Irvine in the south. Four Northern California teams compete in their own division. A champion is crowned in August. The Conejo Oaks won the title last year.“We’re getting rings on Saturday,” Scioscia said. “It’ll be cool.”Scioscia, who lives in Thousand Oaks, said he’s been involved with his local CCL team for about 10 years. He was able to take a more active role late last year, after his final season managing the Angels. He was able to facilitate the hire of Soliz, the brother of former Angels bullpen coach Steve Soliz. Cody Ramer, who recently retired as a player after spending two years in the Angels’ system, is an assistant coach. Scioscia also recruited college pitcher Peyton Ebel, the nephew of Dino Ebel, the longtime Angel (and current Dodger) third base coach.In a crowded field of college summer leagues, the CCL must fight to stand out. It trails the gate receipts of the Northwoods League, with teams based in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, whose crowds number in the thousands. It lacks the history of Cape Cod. The Oregon-based West Coast League features TrackMan devices in several of its ballparks – a valuable evaluation tool for scouts and coaches alike. The CCL parks, gleaming at a glance, do not.Yet the CCL does not lack for star power. It counts Cron, Fletcher and Kris Bryant among its alumni. Tyger Pederson, the brother of Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, managed the Riptide before graduating to a coaching position in the Cardinals’ organization. The league oozes with the passion of those yearning to move up in the baseball world, led by some who have reached the game’s highest peak.“That’s the bottom line: giving these kids the experience, the ability to improve,” Scioscia said. “Every opportunity we’ve had, we have kids out on the field at 1 o’clock doing early work – much like you would see in the minor leagues, even in the majors.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more