Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stanford Cardinal 10 at Santa Clara Broncos 3 - April 19, 2011


Growing up in Canada, I never really understood American collegiate sports. I knew the big names like Michigan and USC, but didn't appreciate just how many colleges there are. Now that I'm doing these roadtrips, I'm finding that my ignorance is proving to be a blessing, as I am constantly discovering new schools and new stadiums to visit. Take Santa Clara University, which I knew was the college home of Canadian basketball star Steve Nash, despite not knowing where it is actually located. So I was happy to find out that it is just a couple of miles north of San Jose and that they would have a mid-week baseball game against Stanford while I was in town. So naturally I headed over to watch.

Stephen Schott Stadium


The Broncos baseball team plays at Stephen Schott Stadium, which was partially paid for and named after the one-time co-owner of the Oakland A's. It is located on El Camino Real at the eastern edge of campus. Parking is available on the street right outside the stadium. If the game is popular and you can't find parking, there are lots nearby but I didn't have to go looking.


Schott Stadium was built in 2005 and is a pretty basic ballpark. There's about 6 rows of box seats ($10) below a small concourse, and about 8 rows of general admission benches above ($7). The screen extends down the line so there is no seat with a clear view of home plate but this is common in college ball with those metal bats.


If you don't want to pay, you can watch the game from behind the left field fence, as the enterprising gentleman in the photo below. Note the sky blue car on the left, that's the SportsRoadTripsMobile for this trip.


The entrance plaza has a small concession stand and a souvenir booth, but nothing else. As I've said before, NCAA baseball is not trying to attract fans, so the stadiums are no-frills. This is not a problem for me, I appreciate the simplicity. Beyond the left field fence lies the East Foothills as you can see below.


The scoreboard is standard, with a small digital screen that displays pictures of the home team players but little else.


There's no point in reviewing college baseball stadiums, but I do it for consistency. Schott Stadium is a nice place to watch a ballgame without the bells and whistles you'll find at minor league parks. If you like baseball, you'll enjoy going here. If you don't, well, why are you reading this?

The Game


NCAA baseball generally consists of a 3-game weekend series and then a single mid-week non-conference game. Teams usually have 3 regular starters for Friday-Sunday but might not have a reliable fourth starter to take the hill during the week. I gathered this much from the lack of scouts at this game.

Stanford was ranked #17 last week in Baseball America's but a sweep at the hands of Oregon State dropped them out of the top 25. But they are still a good team in the powerful Pac 10, while Santa Clara is a mediocre squad that plays in the smaller West Coast Conference. As such, one would expect a blowout in favour of the visitors and that is exactly what happened.

Safe!

Stanford started quickly with two walks and a 3-run homer from Kenny Diekroeger before Santa Clara starter Joe Supple could even record an out. Broncos' catcher Patrick Terry responded with a 2-run shot in the bottom of the first, but Stanford added another run in the second. Both teams scored singletons in the fourth to make it 5-3 for the Cardinal.


Stephen Takahashi pops up for Santa Clara

Both bullpens were strong until the 8th inning, when Stanford used two singles and back-to-back triples from Tyler Gaffney and Diekroeger to score 4 runs. They added a final run in the ninth to win 10-3.

This was not a good game. Both teams changed pitchers early and often, and although the score was close for most of it, Santa Clara never threatened to tie things up. But this is what you can expect when one team is nationally ranked and the other is around .500.

Notes

Home plate umpire Jeff Henrichs was nailed in the arm by a pitch that the catcher missed. He was in serious pain but was treated by the Broncos' trainer and returned with a bandage as the crowd politely applauded. The moral for umpires is that if you want the fans to cheer for you, you need to get hurt first.


There is a $1 program here with a lucky number. One interesting twist is that in some cases, lucky numbers are only drawn if a certain event happens in the game. For example, in the "Double your Pleasure" inning, a number would be drawn if the visitors hit into a double play in the top half, or the Broncos hit a double in the bottom half. A good way to keep fans into the game.

Next Up

Twinbill today! Boston at Oakland in the afternoon, then a short drive to Stockton for a Cal League game between Visalia and the Ports. As always, updates to follow.

Best,

Sean

3 comments:

  1. Make sure you get on the road ASAP out to Stockton afterward. You'll run into some eastbound traffic almost as a certainty, but probably not as bad as it'd get a couple years ago.

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  2. Thanks James. 880 was a parking lot, but once I got going east, it was pretty smooth, with just a couple of slow points. Made it to Stockton in 90 minutes.

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  3. The stadium sure looks like it could be a place to watch major leagues! Hope to see more posts of action-packed games like this one!

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