My first year out of college, I took a job with the
Eddy D. Field Stadium sits in the middle of the Pepperdine campus, which is just off of Highway 1 in Malibu. I'm sure there are cloudy days in Malibu, but I've never experienced one. And I'm sure there is a better smell than the Pacific Ocean on a warm spring day, but I can't think of any. On my first visit to Eddy D. Field Stadium, two thoughts overwhelmed me: First, I was an idiot for going to school in South Bend, Ind., rather than Malibu. And, second, there is no place in the world I'd rather watch a baseball game.
The stadium seats about 1,800 but is rarely full -- $8 gets you almost any seat you want. On my first visit, I didn't sit in the press box. I sat in one of the blue chairs along the first-base line. The backdrop for the game is the Pacific Ocean, with Catalina Island in the distance, obstructed only by the spindly trunks of palm trees. To the north and east are the Santa Monica Mountains, an understated Southern California attraction. I'd bet that some fans don't notice the view, their attention squarely on the game or on the dazzling coeds bouncing around the stands between innings. But from the nearly dozen games I've taken in there, my strongest memories are of the vista and the way the wind blew in from the ocean.
That's not to say that the baseball isn't memorable. Pepperdine has not had a losing season since 1974, the Waves second season playing at this site, and win at home 70 percent of the time. The school has become a pipeline for big league pitchers like
During one game I witnessed, an opposing player struck a ball deep to left field that, for a moment, was framed by two palm trees, the white of the ball set against nothing but the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. I don't recall whether the ball cleared the fence. I don't remember who won the game. But, damn, I remember the view.