Cal baseball granted 2-week extension to fundraise

April 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
UC Berkeley's baseball program is making its final run a reinstatement. The program got an extension on Friday, but if it can't raise another $1 million in the next two weeks, the 119-year-old program will be a thing of the past.

"It's a really terrible thing for all the players definitely, but I think it's really a terrible thing for the school," said Andrew Knapp, a designated hitter for the Cal Bears baseball team.

Knapp and the rest of his teammates are facing their toughest opponent yet -- money.

"We've raised almost $9 million and have probably about a million more to go," said Stuart Gordon, a San Francisco attorney and UC Berkeley alumni.

Gordon has been raising money to try and keep Cal baseball at bat. Friday was the deadline to reinstate the team for the 2012 season, but fundraisers are still a million short. The chancellor has now given Gordon and others two more weeks to raise the funds. If not?strike three, no more baseball.

"I can't imagine what would happen if we didn't. I think we'd all be somewhat suicidal, but hopefully we'll be able to do it," said Gordon.

Gordon played Cal baseball in 1958. The team has been in existence for the past 119 years. Ann Flemer whose son is team captain says the plan is to raise enough money to make the baseball team self-sufficient.

"I would hate to have this team be the last ones to leave Evans Diamond. We're just not going to see it happen," said Flemer.

Neither would the more than 400 fans who showed up at Friday's game against USC, like Sonia Carlson.

"I think it's really sad because it's such a tradition," said Carlson.

ABC7 wanted to ask chancellor Robert Birgeneau about the fate of the cal baseball team, but his spokesperson said that the chancellor wouldn't comment until he knew exactly how well these fundraising efforts went.

Knapp is already making plans in case he's forced to walk.

"It's definitely tough when you have such a great education here at Berkeley to go and get maybe less of a prestigious school, but also play baseball," said Knapp.

Coach David Esquer is far more optimistic.

"This isn't a death blow to us at all. It's just a reminder, 'Hey, you still have some work to do' and we're just going to do it," said Esquer.


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