Usually the phrase ‘dirtbag’ would be considered a derogatory term -- unless you are a ball player from Long Beach State -- then it’s just your school nickname.
There are six former Long Beach State Dirtbags participating in this year’s postseason, the most from any school. The nickname Dirtbag dates back to 1989 when former head coach Dave Snow assembled a team of nearly all new players. At the time Long Beach State didn't have a true home field and split up their home games at three different facilites. The club's practice facility was an on-campus field but the infielders also trained off-campus -- on all-dirt Pony League field. Infield coach Dave Malpass would drill his infielders mercilessly on the children’s sandlot and the players would return to campus covered in dirt and dust.
Hence, the Dirtbags were born.
The nickname also referred to the team’s gritty display -- and one person who is expected to bring some grit to the playoffs is former Dirtbag Troy Tulowitzki. The Toronto shortstop missed three weeks due to a shoulder injury, but looked sharp in his return to the Blue Jays lineup on October 2.
Former Arkansas standout Dallas Keuchel (and his beard) take the mound for the Houston Astros in a survive and advance AL Wild Card game on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.
The starting pitchers in the NL Wild Card Game on TBS both have college experience. Former TCU standout and current toast of Chicago Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Cubs, while former UCLA fireballer Gerrit Cole toes the rubber for the Buccos.
There are 87 American League players with NCAA experience, while the Senior Circuit claims 73.
Take a deep dive into this year’s MLB playoffs rosters and their connection to college baseball.
Two of those former NCAA players will be front and center for the Toronto Blue Jays. David Price, the pride of Vanderbilt, will throw for the Blue Jays in Game 1. Marcus Stroman will be on the rubber for Toronto in Game 2, and he is pretty excited about it.