Each day for the last week, Brady Anderson has passed UC Irvine's baseball stadium on his way to work out and sees what has become of it.
Anderson, a center fielder with the Baltimore Orioles, has been working out at Irvine with Steve Odgers, the Chicago White Sox's director of conditioning. It's a two-week fine-tuning session to prepare for spring training.
Their history together dates back to when they were athletes at Irvine and the school played baseball, not soccer, in the baseball stadium.
"It's weird to see a soccer field there," said Anderson, who played at Irvine from 1982-85. "Every college should have a baseball team."
Irvine's program was cut in 1992 to save money. Other Irvine programs also were axed, while some were reduced to a bare-bones operation.
Now Anderson has reached the point where he could lend a hand, but there is nothing left to help. He signed a five-year, $31-million contract with the Orioles this off-season.
"I feel closer to my college than my high school," said Anderson, who attended Carlsbad High School. "This is were I developed as a player. I was just reaching a point where I could help the program out when they cut it."
Not having baseball has made it difficult to approach Anderson for a donation. "Hey, we're the school that killed your sport. How bout a few bucks," is hardly the pitch that would work. He has not met with an athletic department official, although track Coach Vince O'Boyle is attempting to arrange a meeting with Anderson and Athletic Director Dan Guerrero.
Guerrero, who wasn't at Irvine at the time of the cuts, would dearly love to have a baseball team. He was a second baseman at UCLA. On his desk sits a baseball autographed by the 1973 Irvine team that won the Division II national championship.
"That baseball reminds every day how much I love the sport," Guerrero said. "I talked to a group in Irvine the other day and the first question was, 'When is baseball coming back?' It's purely an economic issue."
Those issues are not on Anderson's mind when he returns to Irvine each year to work out. He just sees soccer goals in the outfield.
"In 1992, when I made the All-Star team, I thought back and remembered that I trained here and became successful," Anderson said.
Flooding at the Bren Center forced the Irvine women's basketball game against Nevada to be moved to Irvine Valley College Sunday. The Anteaters came up with one of their best performances of the season in a 77-64 victory.
"We're looking into arranging the rest of our games to be moved there," Coach Mark Adams said, jokingly.
One could almost hear the wheels creaking Thursday, after Irvine center Matt Willard fouled out against Fullerton, as Coach Pat Douglass pondered his move.
Who should I use?
The 6-foot-8 Wendell Robinson? The 6-10 Andrew Carlson? Douglass turned to Juma Jackson, who is 6-4.
It was a statement about the Anteaters' inside game these days. Robinson's play has deteriorated. Carlson is still an enigma. Willard has played well, but has off-nights. It has become a guessing game to see which one will produce.
Saturday, it was Carlson, who had a career-high 10 points in 27 minutes off the bench against Nevada. Willard was scoreless, playing eight minutes, and Robinson was scoreless in three minutes.
Losing five of the last six games, is just a reminder to Douglass of his young and inexperienced team. Nothing shows that more than Ben Jones' slump.
Jones, a freshman forward, was once the team's leading scorer, but he was scoreless against Fullerton. It was the first time he didn't start this season. He started Saturday against Nevada, but scored only five points and was two of nine from the field.
"It's a long season, it's a lot more games than these guys played in high school," Douglass said. "They are going against guys who are older and stronger. A guy like Ben wouldn't normally have to learn how to make adjustments against a box-and-one defense as a freshman. We have really asked a lot of him this year."
Doris Hawley, a middle blocker on the women's volleyball team, suffered minor injuries after being involved in a car accident Friday. Hawley came away with only a headache and bruises from the car's air bag and was not taken to the hospital.
"She had just put her seat belt on," Connolly said. "She said she suddenly got a feeling that she better put it on. The police said she was really lucky because the car could have flipped over."
Hawley has resumed workouts with the team but is being monitored, Connolly said.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Key events this week for UC Irvine:
* Men's basketball hosts Utah State Thursday and plays at Cal State Fullerton Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m. The Anteaters have lost five of six games, but remain tied for second in the Big West Conference's Western Division.
* Men's tennis plays at Fresno State Thursday, at Stanford Friday and at California Saturday.
* Women's basketball plays at Cal State Fullerton Sunday at 2 p.m. The Anteaters can secure their hold on second place in the Western Division.
* Women's tennis plays at San Diego Friday and hosts Southern Utah at 10 a.m. Saturday. Former Woodbridge standout Natalie Exon is the team's No. 2 singles player.
* The men's and women's track and field teams open their season at the Jack Rose/Long Beach relays Saturday at Long Beach State. Events begin at 10 a.m.