To some, it is an eyesore; to others, it is just something that they pass on their way to soccer. But for one Big West baseball team, it’s called home. Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is home to the 35 men that make up the UCSB baseball team. Renovated in the 1990s, Caesar Uyesaka Stadium now is able to seat 1,000 fans. There is an upper level and a lower level, which both allow the fans to view the baseball action from close up, a fact that has been noticed by both coach and players.
“It’s a great place to watch a game,” Head coach Bob Brontsema said. “The fans are on top of the action.”
Some professional baseball players have played at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, such as Michael Young, starting shortstop for the Texas Rangers, and Barry Zito, left-handed pitcher for the Oakland Athletics. The dimensions make it a great place for hitters to play and an unfriendly park for pitchers. From home plate to the left and right field corners it is 335 feet, and it is 400 feet to the center field fence.
“I enjoy playing there,” junior catcher Matt McColgan said. “It’s a great hitters’ ballpark.”
The newest addition to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is a brand new locker room that has the capacity to support all 35 team members with room to spare. Opened last year, the locker room has provided a place for the Gauchos to change, shower and rest after games. Before the current locker room, the Gauchos had to change in a small room located under the upper level of the stadium, next to the assistant coaches’ offices.
“The new clubhouse created a better environment [for the players],” Brontsema said. “It was an incredible addition and convenience for the players. In my day, we just rode our bikes through I.V. with just a small bowling bag, in our uniform, to play. Now the guys have a place to shower, and keep their stuff, and go to the bathroom. They don’t have to go to class in their practice gear. The locker room is great. Indirectly, it helps us be better.”
With new stadiums popping up all over the Big West in the past few years, Caesar Uyesaka now is one of the oldest fields in the Big West. However, that fact does not discourage the Gaucho baseball team.
“Our guys might like our field because they are used to it,” Brontsema said. “Comfort level is very important in the field. If you take ground balls day after day, you get used to the field.”
Even the transfers on the Gaucho roster seem to enjoy playing at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. McColgan, a transfer student from Santa Clara University, cites many things that make playing at UCSB enjoyable for him.
“I like it, it’s a good environment,” McColgan said. “With the new dugout and clubhouse that we just got, [Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is] not a bad place to play. It’s way better than my old park. We used to play on a converted soccer field and they just put a baseball diamond on it. It wasn’t the best.”
While the Gauchos seem to enjoy playing at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, it is a different story for the fans. The lack of adequate facilities, among other things, keeps the average attendance at about 200 fans, a number well below its 1,000-seat capacity. There are only two portable restrooms located behind the concourse. If that does not suit the average fan, there is a small cement building located at the very end of the parking lot, and even in there, the toilets and floors are questionable. If the fan does choose to walk all the way there, the time it takes to finish forces the fan to miss at least two batters, and that is only if the pitcher is a slow worker. Despite this obvious oversight, with the great view and Santa Barbara weather, Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is a great place to watch a baseball game.