Baseball Preview: Aztecs Open Season at Home Again San Francisco

President’s weekend marks the beginning of a new season for San Diego State Baseball.

The Aztecs, who were picked to win the Mountain West by conference head coaches in the preseason poll this past Wednesday, begin their quest to defend their title with Opening Weekend against the University of San Francisco Dons beginning this Friday at 6:00 pm. The series continues Saturday, with first pitch also at 6:00 p.m. and getaway day is Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Junior Logan Boyer, who was announced as MW Preseason Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America, will be the Opening Night Starter for the Aztecs, followed by senior Harrison Pyatt Saturday, and redshirt senior Brad Wegman on Sunday.

Boyer identifies the team’s high expectations for 2019, especially after the team’s recent success, winning the MW Conference in five of the last six seasons.

“I think that the big part is that we’re not going into it knowing we’re going to win but expecting to win, because of what has previously happened throughout the years and the guys this year understand after the fall that we’re going into the season a lot stronger,” he said. “I think that’s where the expectation of winning conference championships is coming from.”

A big part of last season’s championship season, had to with sophomore infielder/right-handed pitcher Casey Schmitt, a local product from Eastlake High School.

This year, Schmitt has been named to two Preseason All-American teams. The 2018 MWC Tournament Most Valuable Player was named to the 2019 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) second team and the 2019 Collegiate Baseball All-American Third team.

In addition to Schmitt, the Scarlet and Black also have all-MW selections returning in senior outfield Chad Bible and junior outfield Julian Escobedo. Besides being all-MW selections last year, Schmitt and Escobedo along with Boyer were named to the MW Preseason All-Conference team.

Besides the players, head coach Mark Martinez has aspirations to go as far possible in the NCAA Tournament.

“The next step is to win a regional and give us an opportunity to play past a regional, into a Super Regional and get to Omaha,” he said. “That’s the expectation of our program, to play for a national championship and we’re working on it.”

The Mountain West Champion Aztecs begin their quest to be in NCAA tournament Friday night at 6:00 p.m.

Written by: Breven Honda

Soundtrack to Dating: Best and Worst Date Stories

Soundtrack to Dating

Sound serves as one of the most important aspects to memory. In particular, songs help mark memorable moments in our lives, especially when it comes to dating.

The idea of songs and love together isn’t a new one. For as far as we can remember, after we had all started putting our tendrils into the sticky situation otherwise known as love, we would oftentimes ask each other “what’s your song?” Even today, couples put significance on the song most representative of a particular moment within their relationship. A “Soundtrack to Dating” if you will. And sometimes, after the relationship has soured, or after a particularly nasty incident, that song is forever ruined in the person’s mind. With that being said, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we asked members of KCR what songs they would include in their soundtrack to dating. Or, more specifically, we asked them what songs represent their best and worst dates, and why. Below are their stories.

The Best of the Soundtrack to Dating:

The Sound – The 1975

This song takes me back to my high school days, driving around downtown Seattle with my friends. The 1975 connected me with friends that I will have for a lifetime, and every time I re-listen to their first album, I am transported to my grunge days in the rainy city. This song, however, is off their second album and I will always remember the first time I heard it. I won a concert through a local radio station to meet the entire band, ask them questions, and hear a preview of their second album. As I sat next to my best friend (whom I had met at the very first 1975 concert), with the band sitting directly in front of me, I remember feeling euphoric in ways I can’t describe.

-Brittany Roache

Cherry Wine – Born Ruffians

This song takes me back to hanging out in my boyfriend’s bedroom, staring into each other’s eyes. I’m so serious. We do that sometimes. No talking, just staring. Uber romantic. 10/10 would recommend. And this is the perfect background song when you want to feel young and in love, but not sappy and tender.

-Monica Vigil

In My Dreams – Kali Uchis

I went on a date with a close friend of mine and while we did not end up dating, it felt like such a perfect date with no problems. This song comes to mind whenever I look back at how nice it felt having that date & remembering the friendship I have with that person now.

-Sofia Gomez

Baby I’m Bleeding – JPEGMAFIA

Okay, this one is a bit unconventional, so bear with me. One of my favorite dates was with someone who I never saw again. We met up for tacos and it felt like we really hit it off. As I’m walking her to her car, we decide let’s go to Target “for fun.” And so, we raced each other to the closest Target (for the sake of integrity, I’ll just say that I won), and then explored. After we finished, I jokingly said, “you know there’s more than one Target we can go to.” We drove probably 15 miles going to three different Targets, just wandering around and laughing. When we finally tired of that, I suggested tea from a place I loved. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the spot, and took us to a spot I’d never been before. The tea was good at least, and we spent another couple hours talking. Afterwards, we decided to walk around. I revealed that I like to (badly) rap/sing, and for whatever reason, chose this song to demonstrate to her. I don’t think she was impressed, but I at least had the decency to censor myself throughout. She (a very pasty white girl), on the other hand, didn’t have that same filter, and instead dropped the N-word a couple of times in whatever song she decided to sing. When I kissed her goodbye, that was it. No sparks, no chemistry. It was awkward, and we never saw each other again. But in all honesty, ignoring that random act of racism and just lackluster ending, the rest of that date was really nice.

-Peter Swan

The Worst of the Soundtrack to Dating:

Cocaine – FIDLAR

The worst date I’ve ever been on was a second date that occurred two months after the first. Maybe that should’ve been a red flag. It started off okay at a karaoke bar in North Park, so we decided to head down the street to Coin Op. As we sat among the retro arcade games, things began to rapidly deteriorate. It all stemmed from me jokingly calling myself boring. That’s when he asked if I wanted to do cocaine. At Coin Op. On a Tuesday. I declined and it was all downhill from there. He said I seemed like the cliché of a girl who needs to get out of her shell. He said I should act more interested in people if I want to be interesting. He said it didn’t seem like I was having a good time. Shockingly, I wasn’t having a good time. Despite all of this mildly traumatizing psychoanalysis, I stuck around and even let him drive me home. Sometimes you just don’t want to pay for a Lyft.

-Andrea Renney

The Climb Miley Cyrus

I went hiking with a guy and it was a very intense hike. I was out of breath the whole time and it was almost impossible to keep a conversation, so I associate that song with that date.

-Nina Capuani

Paralyzer – Finger Eleven

If there is one piece of advice you take from this piece of modern literature, it’s to NEVER date a girl who works at a Harley Davidson dealership. About a year ago I was in a relationship with one of these aforementioned dames and on this particular occasion she decided to invite me to a party at her work. I was really excited at the time because I thought it would be a great chance to meet some of the people who were close to her, but as I was soon to find out, these were not the kind of people I was going to be fond of. Due to the nature of the dealership, the party was filled to the brim with biker gangs who all found my girlfriend pretty attractive. While this is usually a positive scenario, it seems to me that being in a gang sort of means the boundaries of being a decent human being get a bit blurry. The whole night I was walking around with my date, these kind gentlemen would stop by to slap her ass and flirt with her, right in front of me, the worst part being she was laughing and flirting back all the while. I even brought up to her how strange it all was and she said this behavior was commonplace at Harley parties. She had a great time. I did not. Worst date ever.

-Anonymous

Just a Friend – Biz Markie

We had only been on a few dates, but just by hearing the title of the song, you can probably guess where our relationship headed. The way the song is performed through vocals and instrumental as well as the lyrics brings me back exactly to when I hung out with this girl before and during college. Meanwhile, the chorus of the song is something I, and likely many others, can chant for days. Because of how relatable this song is, and how well performed it is, this remains one of my favorite songs to this day, even if it reminds me of a really lame time in my life.

-Christian Scognamillo

Kiss Me Thru the Phone – Soulja Boy

Once I was on a date at a bar with a guy I thought was too straight laced and boring, like a bran muffin in human form. And then this song came on and he said “oh this is that song by super boy.” SUPER BOY! Needless to say, I got out of there ASAP.

-Sarah Anderson

4 Your Eyez Only – J Cole

I know this is cheating but I once had sex to J Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only” album. I was given the options of that or Led Zepplin (I love led Zepplin and I was not trying sully that love) so I chose J Cole. That was the one and only time I ever listened to that album. The only good thing I could say about that album is that it lasted longer than the guy, but trust me, before I left the album hadn’t finished, and neither had I.

-Julie Cappiello

Written by: Peter Swan

Cautious Clay at House Of Blues

Cautious Clay pushes musical boundaries and captivates listeners at House of Blues San Diego‘s own Voodoo Room.

When I first discovered Cautious Clay, I was instantly drawn to the unique richness in his voice. Each song I listened to seemed to get better by the minute. Later, I learned that Cautious Clay was no ordinary alternative R&B artist. Josh Karpeh is the man behind it all. He’s a singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who coined the name “Cautious Clay” after Muhammad Ali, aka Cassius Clay. The all-in-one musician remains unsigned and continues to defy boundaries in the name of music. Karpeh attended George Washington University to study jazz saxophone and has continued to use his classically trained background as a tool to push boundaries. By keeping a “minimalist” mindset when writing his songs, Cautious gets to explore the line between keeping his music simple and clean, while making it powerful and touching.

While many listeners are drawn to his beautiful harmonies and catchy beats, the stories he tells through his lyrics is what I believe puts him above the rest. Following the release of his first EP, Blood TypeCautious was interviewed by Billboard Magazine, whom asked the musician what he hoped his listeners would gain from this EP. He responds, “I would like my listeners to be more intentional with their time and the people they hang out with. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who are worth your time. I know that’s really heady and deep, but that’s what the lyrics are about.” Since then, Cautious Clay has appeared on tracks with notable artists like AlunaGeorge and Hudson Mohawke, and recently linked up with electronica star, Medasin, to produce his newest single “HONEST ENOUGH.”

After months of playing his songs on repeat, I felt it was only fitting to attend his concert in San Diego. The concert was hosted in the Voodoo Room at the House of Blues, and while the venue was smaller than I had anticipated, it made the experience even more intimate.

Opening with a fan favorite, “Elsewhere,” I could feel my heartrate increase with only the first few chords. Cautious expressed to Billboard magazine that this song was written about his struggles with student debt and the inability to escape tough situations, which is something that many listeners are able to relate to. I was originally drawn to this song because of the unique mixture of electronica and indie production combined with his soulful harmonies, but it is the honesty behind his lyrics that kept me hitting the repeat button.

While I was personally disappointed by the energy in the crowd, Cautious Clay maintained a steady stage presence that kept me on my toes. After pulling out a saxophone and flute for songs such as “Stolen Moments” and “Call Me,” I became only more captivated by his talent.

Following the performance of some of his most popular hits like “Blood Type” and “French Riviera,” Karpeh asked the audience to give a round of applause to his bandmates before they momentarily left the stage. As he pulls out his acoustic guitar, the crowd starts to settle down before Cautious performed an unreleased track off his upcoming EP. The song was slow, but far from boring. This ballad was deep and emotional, and will soon touch the hearts of listeners alike.

I am eager for the release of his upcoming EP, Table of Context, as well as his return to San Diego in the future. My hopes for his next tour is that the crowd is more respectful and attentive to his stage presence because my expectations unfortunately fell short this time around. While his performance was still honest and true, I believe that an audience within his age range would be more courteous to the passion he poured out on stage. All-in-all, there are many big things in store for Cautious Clay this year. Although he’s already killing it, I’d say that he is just getting started.

Review By: Brittany Roache
Photos by: Brittany Roache

The Growlers’ Snow Ball III (Night Two) at the Wiltern

The Growlers bring their signature beach-goth style to Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre for two nights of Christmas-themed theatrics!

It’s the second week of January. Christmas is over, and you’ve got the credit card bill and weight gain to prove it. The excitement of New Year’s Eve has disappeared, replaced with morning-after regrets and the realization that you’re making the same bad decisions as you were in 2018. All you’ve got to look forward to now is the upcoming semester of school and, if you’re me, your impending return to Canada (despite my “final” blog post last month, I’m still here!). The going is getting tough. Allow me to transport you back to a more magical time. A time full of whimsy, mischief, and light debauchery. It’s December 22nd. Christmas is approaching, you’re finished with school and work, and your best friend Mariah has just arrived in San Diego despite almost having her entire vacation cancelled the day it was supposed to begin. You drive to Los Angeles for what will become one of the most special concerts of your life: it’s night two of The Growlers’ Snow Ball, the self-proclaimed “beach goth” band’s third annual holiday extravaganza.

Snow Ball 2018 sign

Leading up to the show…

The Growlers’ fanbase can come off as a little cultish sometimes, yet Mariah and I still planned to see the band for the second night of Snow Ball. When tickets went on sale, we were aghast at the roughly $60 price tag. “Who do they think they are, Beyonce?” Somehow, Saturday’s show still managed to sell out, and people were reselling tickets for upwards of $100. Despite this, we set off for Los Angeles on December 22nd with the hope that we’d end up at the show that night. After dealing with numerous people from Craigslist who we believe to have been scammers, we finally secured tickets from two people we found on The Growlers’ subreddit (pro tip for finding legit resale tickets!).

Have you ever actually stopped in your tracks? I used to think that was just a phrase used in novels for hyperbolic effect: “I stepped through the doorway and stopped in my tracks.” However, upon having my ticket successfully scanned to enter The Wiltern, I stepped through the doorway and stopped in my tracks. I had not anticipated the level of production The Growlers had curated for this show.

Red and white striped candy canes lined either side of the path into the main lobby. Upon closer inspection, these “candy canes” were actually joints. “Snow Ball” was spelled out in glittery letters suspended from the ceiling. To our right was a spot to take photos with Biker Santa, straight ahead was a spot to take photos with the Grinch. Christmas carolers covering the Growlers’ songs greeted you as you descended the stairs to explore the lower level of the venue. Decorations aside, the Wiltern is a beautiful and historic venue worthy of commendation on its own. Mariah and I immediately realized why ticket prices were so high for the Snow Ball shows and felt bad for being so ruthlessly critical of The Growlers in the weeks leading up to the show.

Candy canes?

The event itself…

The DJs that kept us occupied before the main event were spinning straight bangers for an hour and a half – I remember hearing The Jackson 5 and reciting facts about Motown and Berry Gordy Jr. that I’d learned in Music 351 . Just after 8:30, the excitement was palpable. As the curtains rose, the aforementioned carolers took the stage. Although they didn’t play my favorites “The Daisy Chain” and “World Unglued” off of 2016’s City Club, they played just about everything else. Literally, in one show! Talk about bang for your buck. I’m surprised I didn’t burst into spontaneous tears when “Someday” started, or during “Lonely This Christmas,” as the rest of the band cleared the stage and Brooks Nielsen serenaded each and every one of us while fake snow cascaded over him.

The costumes were a real treat.

Like I said, The Growlers were never my favorite band. I like their music a lot, but there was just something about them that prevented me from entering obsession territory. Since Snow Ball, . Mariah and I listened to their cover of “Lonely This Christmas” on repeat (literally, we put it on repeat) for seven days.  I’ve begun my descent into watching every video related to the band on YouTube. If y0ur Tinder anthem is by The Growlers, I’m swiping right. The obsession grows each day. There is only The Growlers.

The Growlers closed out Snow Ball III with “Going Gets Tough” from 2014’s Chinese Fountain. It’s a song of hope and happier days to come, and also a song that gave me momentary comfort during the hellish two hours on December 20th wherein I thought Mariah’s vacation to San Diego was cancelled and I was going to be Lonely This Christmas. It was a beautiful and pure send off after a dreamlike, awe-inspiring night. Post-Growlers, the opening notes of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (naturally) rang out. Mariah (not Carey) and I grabbed each other’s hands, I kicked off my shoes for some reason, and a holiday dance party and sing-a-long ensued.

The only snow I ever want to see is fake snow floating down onto Brooks Nielsen’s head.

All in all, The Growlers played for about two and a half hours with no breaks. The costumes, the stage design, and the decorations throughout the Wiltern were completely over the top (in the best way) and exceeded any expectations I had had for the show. Whatever your opinion of their music is, you have to respect the level of effort, planning, and heart that The Growlers put into these Snow Ball shows. And while I’m sure the band does get enjoyment out of playing them, I think a show like Snow Ball exists

Andrea Renney loves crying to The Growlers, writing for KCR, and crying about not writing for KCR anymore. She wishes everyone at San Diego State a beautiful spring semester.

Written by: Andrea Renney
Pictures by: Andrea Renney

 

 

--From all of us at KCR, we'll miss you Andrea!