Whether it's college baseball or another sport, "home field advantage" can be categorized in multiple ways, such as rowdy home fans, time zone differences, the Penn State Nittany Lions' football "white-outs" and numerous other team-specific methods.
It appears the Stanford Cardinal baseball team is taking home field advantage to another level with their stadium lighting situation.
The Cardinal are one of the eight teams in the Men's College World Series and will play Saturday against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Still, if you ask fans and viewers on Twitter, that matchup may have resulted from the poor lighting situation messing with outfielders from the Texas Longhorns in super regional play (and the Texas A&M Aggies the week prior).
Stanford's Drew Bowser was up to bat with a 1-1 count in the bottom of the ninth. Runners were on first and second, there were two outs, and the game was tied 6-6. The winner of this game moves on to the Men's College World Series.
Bowser hit a routine pop fly to right-center field — but the outfielders could not distinguish where the ball was, and it dropped many feet away from them.
TEXAS CAN?T FIND IT IN THE LIGHTS AND STANFORD IS GOING TO OMAHA pic.twitter.com/NzoWGZ1u1j
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) June 13, 2023
In most other circumstances, this hit would be a routine fly-out and the game would head to extra innings. Instead, Cardinal catcher Alberto Rios scored from second, resulting in a 7-6 Cardinal win.
Nearly every single fielder for Texas lost the ball in the lights, something that isn't all that uncommon at Sunken Diamond. The same thing happened in regional play, when Texas A&M players lost two balls in the sky that helped Stanford win.
The twilight at Stanford is a real thing, by the way. As @R_Brauninger pointed out, Texas A&M lost two balls in similar fashion last weekend that led to runs for Stanford. It's really difficult to see fly balls there at night if you're not used to it.
— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 13, 2023
Texas A&M lost a ball above the lights at Stanford last week in the Regional Final game that scored two runs late.
Texas just lost a ball above the lights at Stanford that sends the Cardinal to Omaha.
Don?t blame the kids. It?s impossible to see at that time of night. Brutal
— Ryan Brauninger (@R_Brauninger) June 13, 2023
Do the Cardinal have the best home field advantage in all sports, or will the NCAA look into this to see if it compromises games? Given how many games are played throughout a season, it's bound to happen multiple times, so that it could be an unfortunate element for opposing teams.
Considering the stadium was built in 1931, maybe it's time for an update. I'm guessing Stanford isn't in a rush to do such a thing, though.
The Cardinal kick off their Men's College World Series run against the Demon Deacons on June 17 at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.
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