SDSU Baseball Honors “Mr. Padre”

Eight months ago, I wrote a blog about the late Tony Gwynn and what he meant to San Diego. 

Whatever people called him – Mr. Padre, Aztec For Life, Hall of Famer, Coach, or Dad – Gwynn cared about what he did and who he interacted with.   

The San Diego State baseball program honored their late head coach with a baseball tournament in his name back in 2015 and this past weekend, they hosted their fifth annual Tony Gwynn Legacy.

Head coach Mark Martinez said the tournament gives programs across the United States the opportunity to come to “America’s Finest City” and learn about Coach Gwynn.

“We celebrate Tony’s legacy and this is a focal point for this weekend, for great programs throughout the country to play in San Diego,” Martinez said in a press conference Friday. “Our baseball program celebrates Tony’s legacy every single day. It’s a turbo charge to what we do every day with Tony.”

On Sunday, the Aztecs started strong with senior outfielder Mike Jarvis hitting his second home run to left field to start SDSU’s offense in the first inning. It was the San Diego native’s second leadoff home run this season.

After a couple of two-RBI singles in the third and fourth inning, the Aztecs would go on to lose, 11-5 against the Trojans on the final day of the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament.

The Trojans responded in the top of the fifth when USC junior outfielder Ben Ramirez, who played with juniors Casey Schmitt and Brian Leonhardt at Eastlake High School in San Diego, hit a bases-clearing triple to the left field corner to cap off a five-run inning. 

Overall, the Aztecs had four errors defensively and 10 of the 11 runs were unearned for Aztec pitching. 

Head coach Mark Martinez said the team did not make the right choices but realizes they can regroup.

“We made some bad decisions defensively,” Martinez said. “The biggest thing for me is we have to manage success and manage adversity and hard times.”

Despite defensive miscues, sophomore pitcher Aaron Eden started and went 4 and two-thirds innings. He cruised through the first four innings, allowing just a hit and a walk.

“(I was) getting ahead, using my fastball to my advantage,” Eden said. “That’s my best pitch so that helped me.”

Although SDSU lost this game, they won twice in this weekend’s Tony Gwynn Legacy.

It is the third consecutive year SDSU has won at least two games during the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament.

SDSU defeated Iowa 4-1 on Friday and beat Nebraska on Saturday 4-2.

Leonhardt, who also pitched an inning against USC, said it was a good weekend, but a better week with SDSU’s midweek victory over Cal State Fullerton.

“We won the weekend,” Leonhardt said. “If someone told us going into the weekend, ‘you’re going to win two of three,’ we are going to look back on we won two out of three and three out of four.”  

Leonhardt said exposing Gwynn’s legacy to teams across the country is positive and ensures that SDSU will continue to promote who Tony Gwynn was – a hard worker – even after he passed away.

“I believe if he was here, he’d be proud of us,” Leonhardt said. “Although we had a tough loss, we battled hard to get two gritty wins Friday and Saturday. It’s great to come out and play for him every day.”

The Aztecs hit the road Tuesday to UC Irvine before coming home to play the 2018 National Champions, Oregon State Beavers.

Written by: Breven Honda

Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Rock n’ roll was alive and thriving on Wednesday, October 9 when rock icons Stone Temple Pilots brought the house down with help from Rival Sons at SDSU’s open-air theatre.

I walked into the Cal Coast Theater to the sound of the opener, the Warbly Jets whose best song was “Alive.” True to its name it really woke the crowd up and brought a whirlwind of energy to the arena. Followed by the Warbly Jets was the Rival Sons.

During the lead up to their opening song, they had a dog skeleton with a beating heart going to the beat of the first song “Back in the Woods.” The crowd was thrown into a frenzy and was headbanging for the rest of the Rival Sons’ set. I couldn’t take my eyes off the guitarist Scott Holiday during their set either. He had the look of a younger Johnny Depp that instead of acting, took up music at a young age. The singer, Jay Buchanan, had an electric stage presence and felt like he was straight out of the 80s. As the set went on, they played their hits such as “Pressure and Time” and “Electric Man.” To finish off their set they closed it with a bang starting with “Do Your Worst” followed by “Keep on Swinging.” These closing songs captured the force of the crowd and channeled it all into Rival Sons’ rock and roll attitude. Their army of fans were headbanging and throwing out rock and roll salutes.

After the Rival Sons’ magnetic energy, 90s rock icons the Stone Temple Pilots followed suit with an equally powerful performance. They opened their set with “Silvergun Superman” and “Wicked Garden.” My Dad, a rock and roll connoisseur, came with me to the event remarked how even with a different singer than the original, the energy STP brought still felt the same as it did back in the 90s.

Towards the middle of the set they brought out Rival Sons drummer Michael Miley to play for them during “Plush” and they brought out Jay Buchanan to co-vocal STP’s hit song “Interstate Love Song.” This performance was a special tribute because San Diego was the last show of the tour and they wanted to end it with something to remember. STP ended their set with “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” After the lights went down the crowd was begging for more and we got it. STP came back out and performed “Piece of Pie” and “Sex Type Thing.” Overall, I was surprised by how good the Warbly Jets were considering I hadn’t heard of them before the concert and was thrilled with how much rock and roll energy that Rival Sons and STP were able to bring to San Diego.

Written by: Jacob Stephens

Big K.R.I.T at the House of Blues

Another week, another concert to cover. This makes me a very happy person. On Thursday, October 3, 2019, I had the privilege of covering the hip-hop legend Big K.R.I.T (Justin Lewis Scott) at the House of Blues.

Trust me when I tell you that this dude has been in the rap game for a long time and is a walking legend. Starting his career more than 14 years ago, he has a list of accomplishments that are staggering.

As a prominent protestor of many of the racial issues that America faces today, he has become a symbol of motivation for movements like #BlackLivesMatter.

He has performed and spoken multiple times at the BET Hip Hop Awards, and even received three nominations for “Rookie of the Year” and “Best Mixtape” in 2011, where his career really started to pop off. 

Big K.R.I.T has elements in his music that show roots to some of the more classic elements of hip-hop, such as deep soulful beats and tongue-twisting lyricism. Collaborating with big artists such as J.Cole and Lil Wayne attests to his impact and respect within the hip-hop scene.

With all of this said, I was super excited to see this man live and get some fire pictures of him! Unfortunately, I was running a little late to the show at House of Blues San Diego. I arrived at about 9 p.m (the time when the headliner usually hits the stage) and picked up my media pass. 

Literally, at the exact second I walked into the main room, Big K.R.I.T. walked on stage to start his performance. Photographers are only allowed to take pictures in the photo pit for the first three songs of the performance, so I hustled my way to the front immediately. The timing could not be more perfect, because if I was even ten minutes later, I would have missed my opportunity to cover the show.

As soon as Big K.R.I.T took the stage, you could tell he had been doing this for a long time. His energy was through the roof. I looked back at the crowd to see all of the audience in the front row singing every single word. He clearly had a bunch of loyal fans. 

He continued the next three songs that I saw with that same energy, moving and bouncing around the stage, rapping his lyrics with a passion that is rare to see. 

After three songs, security booted me out, and that is all that I saw. Being able to see a legend like Big K.R.I.T up close was really great, and I am happy with the photos that I got. 

Big K.R.I.T will continue his “From the South with Love” tour until his last show on November 16th, in his hometown of Atlanta, GA. Check out his music here.

Written by: Justin Neeley
Photos by: Justin Neeley

Tobi Lou at the House of Blues

Up-and-coming artist Tobi Lou delivered a memorable performance that seamlessly merged rap and melodic pop into one lighthearted and fun show on Saturday, September 28.

I arrived at the House of Blues, the hottest venue in all of San Diego, about two hours before Tobi Lou got on stage. A little too early if I must say, as I sat around for an hour before the employees let me in to the event. The show was held on the smaller stage called “The Voodoo Room” which I had never been to before.

The show began with the artist named Lil Trxptendo who brought a lot of good energy into the early hours of the performance. At the young age of 17, Lil Trxptendo has brought his music into the limelight, a feat that he was very proud to discuss in between songs. At one point, he even invited four audience members on stage where they all danced together and had a “woah” off. For those of you unfamiliar, a “woah” is a popular yet easy dance move that has come into the limelight during 2019.

The next artist to hit the stage was Femdot, a rapper out of Chicago. With the recent release of his project 94 Camry Music, the energy was off the charts. His live performance consisted of a mix of hype songs that had the crowd jumping and smooth, introspective tracks about his struggles. 

As I waited for Tobi Lou to come on stage, I stood outside the venue to get a little bit of a break. Sitting there going through my photos so far, I turned to see Tobi Lou, with his easily recognizable four puffs of blonde hair, himself just hanging out with his squad getting ready for his performance. He was approximately 5 feet away for a solid 20 minutes, and I wanted to say “what’s goooood bro can I get a pic” so bad but felt like that would be annoying right before his performance. Maybe I was just too deep in my own head.

Anyways, Tobi started his performance with one of my personal favorite songs “I Was Sad Last Night I’m Ok Now” and it was nothing short of great. The audience had been waiting a long time and knew all the lyrics to every song. He emits a bubbly, lighthearted, yet confident stage energy that was rare to see from an artist that is still considered “on the come up”.

I hadn’t heard of Tobi before going to the concert, but I actually consider myself a fan now. His style of music is right up my alley, and many of his songs have since been added to my go-to playlist. His “Happy + Extra Sad” nation-wide tour will be continuing until 10/20, where his final show will take place in his hometown of Chicago. If you like upbeat, modern rap music with a taste of bubbly pop, check out Tobi Lou here.

Written by: Justin Neeley
Photos by: Justin Neeley