With a school record of $800,000 of funds raised at the annual 2019 Dinner with the Titans fundraiser, the CSUF baseball team began its season activities as it welcomed former Titan, Jose Mota Saturday night at The City National Grove of Anaheim. The team wrapped up the 2018 season obtaining the baseball program’s 30th conference crown. The Titans have made it to their 27th consecutive postseason, the second longest streak active behind Florida State (41).
With 400 guests attending the event, Jose Mota took the stage to send a message to the current Titans team on the value of getting an education, so they have something to fall back on.
“To this team for 2019, you’re not wearing that uniform to be average – away with that. You’re wearing that uniform to excel,” Mota said. “When you get that degree and you have that piece of paper, it stays forever and no one can ever take it away from you. So kids please, school matters a whole lot, take it seriously.”
Mota helped CSUF win the College World Series in 1984 and spent two seasons in the MLB playing for the San Diego Padres and the Kansas City Royals. Since 1997, Mota has worked as an MLB broadcaster and is currently a Fox Sports commentator for the Los Angeles Angels. Initially, Mota didn’t accept the invitation to join his fellow Titans, but then had a change of heart.
“I was honored and privileged, but I know I stay in touch with so many people throughout the years in the program, I had done it before, but it meant a lot more because I knew we were also celebrating Augie’s life,” Mota said. “What I take out of that is you’re always part of this family, it doesn’t matter where you live, what you hit, how much money you made. You come to an event like this and you feel like you never left.”
Hundreds of CSUF alumni and potential donors were greeted by the 2019 CSUF baseball team as they entered the gates. The current Titan players were overwhelmed to see the alumni come back and support them for the upcoming season.
“It’s just cool to be able to see the alumni come back and it just kinda tells you how important this program is to people not only in a sense that it’s a tremendous baseball school,” pitcher Evan Larsen said. “It’s something more, it’s building life on friendships and it’s just cool to be able to see that.”
The event also held a silent and live auction with items like jerseys signed by Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman. CSUF President Framroze Virjee also auctioned a dinner for 12 at his home with Titans head coach Rick Vanderhook working as a bartender or server. President Virjee’s dinner was sold for $4,000 while each jersey was sold for $1,000.
The 1979 and 1984 national championship CSUF teams were honored on stage by the current Titans roster and began to share the obstacles they needed to overcome to win.
“This is my third dinner with the Titans and so far it’s great a lot of alumni come back,,” infielder Sahid Valenzuela said . “They’re out here just supporting us, helping us with whatever way they can, raising money for us. It’s awesome to see how many alumni are involved with the team and stuff.”
The Titans will begin their season on Friday, Feb. 15 against Texas Christian University in the MLB Collegiate Tournament in Talking Stick, Arizona.
“The only thing that our teams that I ever ask them to do is: compete every day, every pitch, every inning,” Vanderhook said while on the podium. “That’s what you guys were taught, that’s what you were taught by Augie.”