SDSU Baseball Deserves to be Ranked

Tyler Adkison of SDSU baseball swings away (GoAztecs.com)
Weston Lowe, KCR Sports Host | May 3, 2017

This year’s San Diego State baseball team is one of the best they’ve had in years. With an overall record of 29-13 and a conference record of 13-5, the team is succeeding expectations. The offense is explosive, led by Tyler Atkins who is batting a cool .370 with 11 bombs and 38 runs driven in. The pitching has improved incredibly since last season led by Brett Seeburger and Dominic Purpura, who are both on the list for the National Pitcher of the Year award. The team has had big wins over big time programs such as UCLA and USD who both consistently put out major league talent. They also have wins over two currently ranked teams by the Associated Press, #11 Long Beach State and #16 Cal State Fullerton.

This team is clearly good enough to be ranked. They have an offensive that puts up big time numbers, and a pitching staff that has consistently been able to get the job done. Head Coach Mark Martinez has really put together a team that he has able to get the most out of. The question whoever remains; “why aren’t they getting the respect they deserve?” There are plenty of answers to this question, the most likely of which is probably that they play in the Mountain West, which is often considered a weak conference by AP voters. There also historically tends to be an East Coast bias against West Coast teams, which is also probably another rationale behind the lack of votes the team receives in the polls.

It’s unfair for this team to fly under the radar the way they have been. They consistently give their all on the field and have shown that they can keep up with the big time programs they’ve played. The players and coaches deserve to be recognized for their on-field accomplishments. Although they may play in a “weaker” conference, the team has dominated conference opponents giving them an in-conference scoring margin of +67. It might be wrong that this team is unranked, but the one good thing that may come out of it is that the team will likely use it for motivation to continue beating their rivals. One thing we know for sure is that is the team is extremely good and if they keep this up, they may find themselves making a deep run in the College World Series.

KCR Sports Host Offers His Thoughts On Where the Aztecs Went in the Draft

Well, the 2017 NFL draft is finally over. With first round surprises and picks that we all knew were going to happen, the fourth and fifth round is where the Aztecs made their presence known.

Three major aspects of the 2016-2017 San Diego State football team were taken in the two rounds. But how will they fair in their newly acquired home town?

I’m here to give you my thoughts on what the future is going to be like for the Aztecs that finally made it to the big league.

Nico Siragusa to the Baltimore Ravens

This was a pick that any SDSU football native could have seen coming. A big body Siragusa helped in paving the way for the all-time collegiate rusher in Donnel Pumphrey, so it was to no surprise that he was going to find a home in a city that loved linemen.

In the past, the Ravens have had star linemen such as Jonathan Ogden, Marshall Yanda and Michael Oher, just to name a few. I believe that Siragusa is going to make a major impact in the Ravens running game with Justin Forsett in the backfield. Overall I think that this is a good home for Siragusa and I would give this draft grade a solid A-.

Donnel Pumphrey to the Philadelphia Eagles

Man oh man do I have a lot to say about this acquisition. With the 132nd pick, the Eagles took a chance and traded up to get the 5’8”, 178 pound Pumphrey who in 2017, surpassed the great Ron Dayne in rushing yards. As a Cowboys fan, this draft pick hurt me dearly.

I was not expecting the Eagles to trade up to take Pumphrey, but as far as a system that works for his skillset, Phili does show some promise.

Of course, the Eagles houses one of the elite short-man running backs in Darren Sproles who is in fact two inches shorter than Pumphrey. I think with the mentorship that Sproles can bring, along with a promising backfield with Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood, the leading rusher the chance to make a decent impact with this club. I would give this a draft grade of a B+.

Damontae Kazee to the Atlanta Falcons

 This pick, in my opinion, was the smartest out of all of the three draft picks. With the 149th pick, the Falcons made a very smart move on taking the senior cornerback Damontae Kazee.

Prior to the draft, I had Kazee going as the first Aztec in the draft, but still going to the Falcons. Last season, the Falcons were that one star defensive back away from having an elite defense. Paired with Desmond Trufant, I feel like Kazee is going to be able to make the roster and make an immediate impact for the Falcon’s defense.

Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel is going to have a great time with this defense with star studded players like Vic Beasley Jr., Keanu Neal, Courtney Upshaw, and of course, Kazee. I give this an amazing draft grade of A+.

Behind the Mic: Talia Raoufpur

Talia standing on the bridge at the Turtle Pond with foliage in the background.

The telling of stories and uncovering of truths are key principles of news. Morning news shows can update listeners with local, national and global stories, while providing proper entertainment through featured guests and interviews. KCR’s Talia Raoufpur hosts a show that does just that every Wednesday from 8-9 a.m. “Hit The News, Not The Snooze,” was way too catchy a title for me to pass on an interview. So, I sat down with Talia for another edition of Behind the Mic.

Talia first explained that the purpose of her show is to share people’s stories, while being news oriented. These stories often come from people who couldn’t have shared their perspective without the on-air opportunity. Talia gave me examples of people who have been featured on her show, including a Holocaust survivor and various Associated Students election candidates. “It’s an opportunity for people to share their story,” said Talia.

The invited guests are brought on to discuss subjects pertaining to San Diego State students, according to Talia. Within those conversations, guests share their stories that connect to the featured discussion topic.

Every episode of “Hit The News, Not The Snooze,” starts with Talia addressing the news headlines from Tuesday. She discusses local, national and any other important stories. Talia told me that she began a segment this semester, called “On This Day,” in which she describes a significant event, not necessarily historically-significant, but one that “[puts] our current times in perspective.” Talia said this segment allows her listeners to see how far we’ve come as a society.

With such an already well-produced show, I asked Talia if she plans on adding anything new to her routine. She told me she’s got a switch in style in-mind for next semester – specifically a shift towards a variety show. A more “spontaneous and relaxed” show seems to be what Talia hopes to move towards in the future. However, she indicated that she would still keep the name “Hit The News, Not The Snooze.”

What makes Talia’s show special? Talia expressed that the ways her personality shines through make for a unique morning hour. For one, the music breaks include a range of artists, from Adele to Biggie Smalls. Additionally, Talia adds diversity to the airwaves with her Jewish voice, and gives the Jewish students at San Diego State a voice, when necessary.

When she isn’t preparing for her show, Talia is a staff columnist at The Daily Aztec, where she writes opinion columns. Her writing focuses on any subject that she values, such as antisemitism or being a Republican on a college campus. Talia currently works as a project assistant and receptionist at a law firm in downtown San Diego. She is also an active member of Hillel, a global Jewish organization that brings students together.

Despite being a Psychology major, Talia told me she may want to pursue a future career in journalism, with the hope of making media “true” again.

If you would rather “Hit the News, Not the Snooze,” tune in to KCR College Radio every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image by Sumner Shorey. Talia Raoufpur, a junior at SDSU, brings pressing matters from campus and society for discussion onto the airwaves.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich Up-close and Personal

The Soda Bar is an up-close and personal music venue in San Diego, known to host many talented artists. Benjamin Francis Leftwich recently stopped by while on tour for his second album, “After the Rain,” before heading back to London. I had the opportunity to talk to him before the show, which I, unfortunately, was not able to attend because of age restrictions. But, Leftwich assured me that he tried his hardest to get me in. What a sweetheart!

Because this was his last show in the states, we talked about him exploring San Diego. Sadly, he had to head straight to the airport after the show. The traveling and long car rides never stop! Although, he did make it clear how humbled and fortunate he felt about being able to tour with this album.

To kick off the interview, we talked about his most recent album, “After the Rain.” Leftwich commented that the songs on this album are very much “straight to the point and clear and objective,” when compared to the music on his first album, “Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm.” Leftwich said, “This is the most honest music I’ve ever written.”

I asked if the theme of this album revolved around new beginnings, or was inspired by the recent passing of his father. Leftwich then explained that everyone has their own interpretation of his music and it’s meaning, which he encourages and appreciates.

“Music has always been a part of my life,” Leftwich said.

Throughout it all, from playing guitar and piano with his family, to forming a band with friends as a teen, to his current journey on the road, he’s made it a priority to keep family close. Leftwich spoke highly of his sister, the person he tries to talk to the most while on the road. “Music, and family, most importantly, bring me the most joy in life. I [owe] everything to that,” he stressed.

I asked Benjamin how he felt when listening to live music or his favorite artists. He told me that he grew up with the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen. Now, he listens to Chance the Rapper, Drake, and Frank Ocean. He maintained that it’s important to him to let those various and diverse inspirations show in his work. He added, “Sometimes I need them to get out of my own head.”

Leftwich stated that he does not get nervous before playing. He focuses on connecting with the audience. He wants his songs to be felt.

As our conversation wound down, Leftwich gave some last minute advice to anyone pursuing music as a career. He suggested, “[Don’t] be afraid to take risks. You need to be open-minded in the industry because like many have said before me, it’s not always easy.” He also encouraged people to be true to themselves. Great advice.

I personally want to thank Benajamin Francis Leftwich for the interview. Hopefully, there will be another one soon.

Featured image provided by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, 2016.