So this shows up in my Twitter timeline:
I'm still getting used to the "Long Beach State Dirtbags." Are all of their teams called that? Tennis? Swimming? Volleyball?
— Sheila Scarborough (@SheilaS) June 4, 2017
Short answer: no. In fact, all Long Beach State athletic teams are formally the 49ers, a name steeped in California history. Yet:
The answer to “why?” goes back to 1989, when a ragtag team under first-year coach Dave Snow found itself without a home park, had to take regular infield practice on an all-dirt Pony League field that left it filthy and bloodied — yet advanced against all odds to the College World Series.
It was a storyline that blended elements of The Bad News Bears and Peanuts’ Pig-Pen. In an us-against-the-world esprit de corps, players proudly embraced the label hung on them by assistant coach Dave Malpass based on their post-practice appearance: Dirtbags.
“Ragtag” is putting it mildly. In the four seasons before Snow took over, the 49ers finished 7th, 8th, 8th and 8th in the Big West, having won 66 of 163 games. That first bunch of Dirtbags went 50-15. The rest, as they say, is history.