Brundage gets look at son's progress
Chunks of stuff you might find interesting in the sporting world …
• While son Beau was growing up, Dave Brundage was able to watch only a few of his baseball games. The senior Brundage was always off managing Triple-A games of his own.
But serendipity allowed father to watch son play last Tuesday when the University of Portland lost 9-2 to Oregon State at Hillsboro's Ron Tonkin Field.
Dave Brundage is now managing the PCL Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The River Cats had a bye — their only one of the month of April — on Tuesday, when Beau's Pilots played the Beavers.
To make things even more convenient, the River Cats played an afternoon game at Tacoma, Washington, on Monday.
Dave's wife, Dameron, drove from their West Linn home to Tacoma to pick up her husband, and they were able to have a full day together before watching Beau play Tuesday evening.
"Everything lined up perfectly," says Dave, who flew to Sacramento on Wednesday morning in plenty of time for the River Cats' home date with Reno. "Words can't describe how much it meant to me. Because I was always managing, I got to see him play only a handful of games in high school, and this is the first time I've gotten to see him play in college."
The senior Brundage was hoping to make his appearance at Tonkin Field a surprise to his son, "but my wife spilled the beans," he says with a chuckle. "Beau sent me a pretty special message afterward, telling me how much it meant to have his dad watch in person."
Beau, a 6-4, 190-pound junior center fielder, went 3 for 4 against the Beavers, then 2 for 4 the following day in a 2-1 victory over Oregon. Brundage leads the West Coast Conference in hitting by a mile at .394 and also tops the list in on-base percentage at .467.
There's more to the story. Old-timers will remember Dave Brundage as a tremendous baseball player at Oregon State who also punted for the football team as a junior in 1985. The Salem native was a versatile baseball player for Jack Riley, pitching and playing first base as a sophomore and outfield as a junior. Brundage was an all-Northern Division pick at first base as a sophomore in 1985 and Most Valuable Player of the division in 1986, making the first team as both a pitcher and outfielder. He was Oregon State's MVP both years and shared the team's Most Valuable Pitcher award as a junior.
Brundage was the best player on the 1986 OSU team that went 39-15, won the Northern Division, and made it to an NCAA regional. He was the only Beaver to earn all-regional honors and was chosen in the fourth round by Philadelphia in the 1986 major-league draft. Brundage played eight professional seasons, including six at the Triple-A level — four as a position player, two as a pitcher.
Since retirement as a player, Brundage has spent 21 years as a Triple-A manager with the Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco organizations.
Beau, who turned 21 on Sunday, was born in Portland and spent much of his childhood here before moving to Georgia for his high school years when his father was managing in the Braves' farm system. Beau, a late bloomer physically, decided he wanted to play college ball in the Northwest and was recruited by his father's alma mater. But the Beavers didn't offer any scholarship money, and Portland did.
"Beau has been great for us this year," Pilots coach Geoff Loomis says. "We have scouts at most of our games looking at him."
That doesn't surprise OSU coach Pat Casey.
"He's very good," Casey says. "He's one of the best players we've seen this year. He's going to play professional baseball."
Beau's father thinks so, too.
"He's put on 15 pounds in the last year," says the senior Brundage, who now lives with his wife and their two other children in West Linn during the offseason. "He's built pretty good — a lot better than I was. He looks the part. He's a projectable kid. He's a very good athlete, very coordinated. He has a 42-inch vertical jump and can run a lot better than I could. I told him, 'I'm going to have to check your DNA.'
"He's getting stronger. maturing. He's a good young man. I'm a little biased because I'm his dad. His mom has done a pretty good job, considering I've been gone half his life. He enjoys baseball, and that's half the battle. He's passionate about what he is doing."
• There was a rare matchup of Jefferson High grads when the Golden State Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Ime Udoka (Class of 1997) was an assistant coach for San Antonio. Aaron Miles (Class of 2001) was an assistant coach for Golden State.
Udoka, who finished his college career at Portland State, went on to play parts of seven seasons in the NBA.
After an outstanding career at Kansas — where he helped the Jayhawks to the Final Four as a junior and the national championship game as a senior — Miles played professionally for 10 years, including 19 games with Golden State in 2005-06.
The two played together with Fort Worth in the NBA Development League in 2005-06 and, ironically, Miles helped pave the way for Udoka to play for the Trail Blazers. Miles, who was on Portland's training camp roster, suffered an injury days before the start of camp. Udoka was the final addition to the roster and wound up making the team and starting 75 games in what would be his best NBA season.
Udoka, 40, has been an assistant coach with the Spurs for six years. Miles, 35, just completed his first season as head coach of Santa Cruz, the Warriors' G-League affiliate, and was brought up to work with the NBA club through the playoffs.
Udoka, a head coach-in-waiting, is being interviewed this week for the vacant Orlando job.
• Former Oregon State center Drew Eubanks has signed with International Sports and Entertainment (ISE), a multisport agency with offices in four U.S. cities, including Los Angeles. President for basketball of the company, which represents the Blazers' Caleb Swanigan, is Joe Dumars, who served as president/basketball operations of the Detroit Pistons from 2000-14.
So it makes sense that ISE has had Eubanks working out in L.A. with none other than … Rasheed Wallace, who you might remember, left the Blazers in 2004 and stepped into an NBA championship with the Pistons that June.
'Sheed' will be of value with instruction on the face-up game for Eubanks, who was never comfortable shooting from the perimeter during his time at OSU. In terms of help with dealing with NBA referees, not so much.
• There are shot-blockers, and then there is Theo Akwuba, the University of Portland's latest signee out of Montgomery, Alabama. The 6-10, 210-pound senior averaged 11.7 points, 14.1 rebounds and 10.4 blocks a game for Brewbaker Technology Magnet High, shooting 57 percent from the field.
Akwuba played only two years of varsity basketball but led the state in blocks both seasons, with a career single-game high of 22. That, remember, is in a 32-minute game.
• It will be interesting to see if Denver guard Will Barton wins the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award. The former Blazer had a career season while starting 40 games (one more and he wouldn't have been eligible for the Sixth Man award), averaging 15.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
Barton spent his first season and a half in Portland, averaging 4.0 points during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons while palling up with Damian Lillard, who came into the league the same year. After averaging only 9.4 minutes in 41 games in 2013-14, the 6-6 Barton was sent to the Nuggets by general manager Neil Olshey in the trade that brought back veteran guard Arron Afflalo.
The self-proclaimed "People's Champ" was asked recently about his time with the Blazers.
"I wouldn't say I hold any ill will toward them," Barton said. "They drafted me. It was just like, 'Damn, I wish I could have made it work.' It's like your first girlfriend. I was so close to 'Dame.' He has always been one of my biggest supporters. It was a dream of mine to play alongside him. We came in together, played summer league together. How special would it have been with me, him and CJ (McCollum) in the backcourt?"