Beckman second baseman Matt McLain, surrounded by some of his teammates, holds the golden owl after Thursday's victory over Corona del Mar.

Beckman's baseball team gets to keep the owl again


Baseball coaches and players are known for their superstitions and off-the-wall stories about mascots and other traditions.

Beckman’s baseball team has one of those, with a replica owl providing inspiration for the team’s 7-1 victory over Corona del Mar last week.

Coach Kevin Lavalle congratulated his players last Thursday afternoon after the victory.

Then Lavalle brought out the owl and gave it to his joyous players.

The background of the owl goes back to 2007, when Lavalle was in his first year as the Patriots coach.

“When I got the job in 2007 at Beckman, one of the first coaches to reach out to me was John Emme of Corona del Mar,” Lavalle said. “When we played them in spring of 2008, they had fake owls on their dugout roof, to keep crows off the field. We had the same things at Beckman, but our owls had spinning heads.

“Do you ever wonder what baseball coaches talk about before the game? This is the answer ... things like fake owls and the advantages of ones with spinning heads.”

Somewhere in his talk with Emme that year, Lavalle suggested the teams should play for an owl and decided the winner of the Beckman-CdM series would get the owl.

Because Beckman has won two of the first three games in the PCL series with Corona del Mar, the Patriots got the owl as a prize last week.

The owl now has a name, too.

“Somehow the owl turned into the Golden Owl, and somehow around 2012 it turned into Murph the Golden Owl,” Lavalle said.

“And now it will protect our field from all invaders, foreign and domestic, until the CdM series next year. At that point, Murph will be moved to an undisclosed location.”

Beckman second baseman Matt McLain said he and his teammates were excited to be holding the owl.

“I know it stays in our clubhouse,” McLain said. “I’m proud of this guy (Murph). He’s going to get a new coating pretty soon.”

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