Saturday, February 13, 2016

Western Oregon Wolves 2 at CSU East Bay Pioneers 3 (NCAA Baseball, Division II) - February 12, 2016


I originally planned to go to the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach today, but a credential application for Stadium Journey was summarily rejected. When I found out that tickets were $70 and the secondary market wasn't any cheaper, I decided the 90-minute drive each way from the South Bay wasn't worth spending just a couple of hours on the golf course. As a tip, if you want to see this tournament, stay close to Monterey and spend at least two days here as the tournament is played on three different courses. I'll be back sometime.

Anyway, once I decided to skip the golf, I had the whole day open. I began searching for sporting events in the greater San Francisco area. There were a couple of women's college basketball games in the evening, but that is only a last-ditch option, so I started scouring the Division II college baseball schedule and discovered a school known as Cal State University East Bay. I had never heard of them before, but they had a baseball game at 2:00. Baseball in mid-February!



The CSUEB campus is in Hayward, 17 miles south of Oakland and 25 miles from where I was staying. The baseball field is on the west side of campus and parking is $2 a/hour in any lot that is not reserved for faculty or staff. Lot N is right next to the field, but only half the spots are used as foul balls occasionally find their way here. Risk-averse patrons can use Lot P across the street.



There are three sets of benches behind home plate, and many fans bring their own folding chairs as well, as you can see above. Some fans choose to sit on the grass down by first base, which is smart as the sun is not in your eyes the whole time. There are no tickets sold, just show up and sit where you want. There is no concession stand either, but schedules and lineups are available. There were 130 fans on hand for this encounter, which is the earliest in the year I have ever seen a baseball game.



The visitors were the Western Oregon Wolves, who play out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (CSUEB is a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association). The quality of play is not bad, though there were a couple of egregious errors that led to one Pioneer run, but you can see that at any level.  Still, I don't think any of these players are on MLB scouts' radars. Brady Miller, the Western Oregon starter, looked strong in the early innings, while his battery mate, Trevor Podratz, had transferred after three years at Division I Hawaii. The Pioneers won 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the 8th on an RBI double from Dakota Conners. The game took 2:16, a great start to another year of baseball for me.




Notes

The Cal State system includes 23 universities, including San Jose State, San Diego State and Fresno State, all places I had seen on this trip. The UC system (10 campuses including UCLA, Cal, UC Davis, etc.) is also public, but focuses more on research than teaching and is considered by some to be more prestigious.

Next Up

Two AHL games today in San Jose and Stockton before I head down to Phoenix for ASU hoops tomorrow night and the Habs at Coyotes on Monday. There won't be time to update here, so check back next week to see how it all ended up.

Best,

Sean

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