Oriole coach navigates bumps
Baltimore's Tom Trebelhorn may be part of Major League Baseball history.
'I'm guessing this is the first time ever that a 71-91 team will have all the coaches come back for the following season, and the manager not come back,' says the former Cleveland High and Portland State standout, who maintains offseason homes in Portland and Phoenix.
Trebelhorn will return for his ninth season with the Orioles in 2004 under new Manager Lee Mazzilli, who will replace the fired Mike Hargrove.
Trebelhorn doesn't agree with Hargrove's dismissal, but he is eager to get a fresh start with Mazzilli.
'It's uncomfortable to see the leader of what was a very good coaching staff not return,' says Trebelhorn, the former manager of the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs and a 14-year veteran in big league coaching and management. 'We weren't any less responsible for what happened (with the Orioles) last season than Mike was.
'Ownership felt there was a need for a different personality running the show. I have been replaced (as manager) for much the same reason in the past.'
Trebelhorn, who will return as third-base coach, says there's no quick fix for Baltimore.
'One impact player will not do it,' says Trebelhorn, in Portland to visit four children who live in the area. 'It would be good to get a starting pitcher and a run-producing outfielder, and we're a little thin at catcher. If we could pick up three guys who could stay healthy and have decent years, we can at least play like a contender every day of the season.
'Our club's financial situation is better, because we drew 2 1/2 million (at Camden Yards) last year and have rid ourselves of a couple of players, Albert Belle and Scott Erickson, who tied up almost $20 million on contracts the last couple of years. They are off the books now, so we may be able to do something on the free-agent side.'
• Former Portland State basketball coach Joel Sobotka has landed as an assistant on Bobby Braswell's staff at Cal State Northridge. Sobotka, coach at PSU from 1998-2002, served as assistant general manager for the Harlem Globetrotters for three months last season Ñ doing paperwork, mostly Ñ before taking on the job with the Matadors.
'Bobby was looking for a right-hand man type of guy to help him,' Sobotka says. 'I wanted to find somebody who would allow me to be involved in the decision-making progress. I've really enjoyed being back on the floor, but having a year off to step away from things was probably the best thing that happened to me.'
Sobotka says he is proud of one of his former players at PSU, Ime Udoka, the ex-Jefferson High shooting guard who made it to the final cut before being let go by the Lakers.
'After two ACL surgeries and all the other things Ime has overcome, he has done a tremendous job,' Sobotka says. 'I have no doubt he's going to be on an NBA roster at some point this season. That a team like the Lakers took such a hard look at him says a lot. To see him in a Laker jersey alongside Shaq, Karl Malone and Gary Payton Ñ you have to pinch yourself a little bit.'
• Bob Gilder didn't have quite the year he had in 2002, when he was second on the Champions Tour money list with $2,367,637 in earnings. But the Corvallis golfer was solid again in 2003, finishing 12th while earning $1,278,247. He won the Emerald Coast Classic, was top three in four other tournaments and top 10 nine times. Gilder, 52, ranked third on the tour in putting average and total eagles and placed 19th on the Charles Schwab Cup point list.
Portland natives Ben Crane and Peter Jacobsen also have had a good year on the PGA Tour. Crane, 27, stands 48th on the money list with $1,419,070. Jacobsen, who turns 50 on March 4, is 62nd with $1,162,726. Crane won the BellSouth Classic and has had two other top-10 finishes. Jacobsen won the Greater Hartford Open and has had two other top-10 finishes.
Three titles and nearly $4 million in combined earnings Ñ not bad for a trio of local hacks.
• Two new Northwest sports books on the shelves this fall: 'Out of Left Field,' a history of the Mariner franchise by Seattle P-I sports columnist Art Thiel, and 'Fan Etiquette,' co-authored by Portland sports attorney Lynn Lashbrook.
The Mariner book is short on the early years Ñ that's not a bad thing Ñ and long on the glory years, starting with the 1995 run to the playoffs that featured Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey and Alex Rodriguez. It chronicles the departure of the three superstars and has some interesting perspective on Lou Piniella's confrontation with Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln, which precipitated the manager's move to Tampa Bay. Not a lot of new ground, but a good read.
'Fan Etiquette' addresses the issue of behavior in the stands and on the fields and courts during athletic events, lamenting a sort of loss of innocence that made spectator sports such a simple pleasure in eras gone by.
There are well-intended suggestions about how to make the athletic arena a more civil place; I'm afraid they will fall on deaf ears in this instant-gratification, me-first world we live in. Sports is a reflection of society and, regrettably, our standards aren't what they once were.
By the way, Blazer fans will love one quote attributed to Corvallis High football player Will McKimmey after a game against Sprague: 'It was a great game. We played hard, and they played hard.' Sound familiar?