PALO ALTO, Calif. San Francisco, just a 40-minute train ride from the hotel for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, was the destination of choice for the players Tuesday morning.
A group of 10 made the trip, primarily, as infielder Adam Piatt said, “to see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. We wanted to take the boat over (to Alcatraz), but we were afraid we wouldn’t have time and maybe they’d want to keep some of us.”
The former Federal prison has been closed for years, but that wasn’t the case for a limousine.
“The driver said he’d take us around for $10 bucks a head per hour and we all piled in there,” said pitcher Eric DuBose. “Then he told us it would be a three-hour minimum.
“We had to get out. But before we did, he took a picture of us all in the limo.”
When asked about the “unusual characters” they saw at Fisherman’s Wharf, all but one player thought the gentleman with pink hair was the winner.
The lone dissenter was outfielder Damian Scioneaux, a native of Baton Rouge.
“Man, I’m from Louisiana. I’m used to seeing weird people all the time.”
Sunken Diamond impresses: The field at Stanford University, Sunken Diamond, is big: 335 feet down the lines and 400 to center field. The foul territory is an oversized 90 feet, circling the field.
“Yeah, but the wind can blow in here and it’s not necessarily a pitcher’s park,” said UC Santa Barbara head coach Bob Brontsema. “The wind blows hard to left field, and I’ve seen high-scoring games.”
The seating capacity is listed at 4,000, but the all-bleacher seating appears to be half of that listing. Like the Tupelo Baseball Field, hills surround the diamond and the lush plant life makes for an intimate setting.
The lighting was added recently, allowing the Cardinal to host the regional. The bulk of the cost was picked up by two former Stanford players now in the major leagues: Steve Bueschle and Jack McDowell.
Not such a big deal: With the strength of professional sports, the tournament is not drawing much media attention locally.
“It’s just not a big deal here,” said MSU head coach Ron Polk, shrugging his shoulders. “You never see schools from the West Coast, with the exception of Fresno State, among the attendance leaders in college baseball.
“But to our kids, playing in a regional is a really big deal.”