Feb 2, 2004
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - For two years, Cameron Matthews hauled bats and
helmets, raked second base during sliding drills, warmed up pitchers and
shagged flies in batting practice - all the typical jobs of a team manager.
Whenever Matthews had a moment to spare, he'd hustle to the cage for some
swings or practice taking grounders.
Stanford coach Mark Marquess noticed. So did Matthews' teammates, who have
considered him a member of the roster all along.
And now, Matthews gives new meaning to the term utilityman, as a
full-fledged player for the Cardinal.
"It's a great story," Marquess said. "I said at the end of the year, 'Do
you want to try out?' He came out in the fall and was a player."
Last summer, Matthews played on three different teams to improve his game -
a men's team in San Francisco, another in San Jose and one at nearby De Anza
College made up of collegiate players. There were doubleheaders both days of
every weekend and scrimmages during the week, and practice, too, if his
schedule allowed. He also found time to lift weights at Stanford.
His family barely saw him over the break.
Matthews believed all along he could play for the Cardinal, who have reached
the College World Series a school-record five straight years.
During fall ball, he hit .207 (6-for-29) with a home run and four RBIs. He
can play several positions and is listed as an infielder/outfielder.
"I knew I could play at this level," said Matthews, who eats peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches as a game-day ritual. "I had the confidence building for
a while. I'm glad I got the chance to show I could play."
Pulling on the uniform as a player - the team manager wears the same gear -
is a much better feeling.
Matthews, from nearby Mountain View, didn't get on the field this past
weekend during his team's three-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton to start the
He knows that will often be the case. But sitting on the bench sure beats
"I've got a ways to go," Matthews said. "I don't think I'm done yet. I've
still got confidence - maybe false confidence - that I can help this team on
He certainly saw his share of frustrating times as he tried to prove he can
do more than just carry bats from one hitting station to another.
Matthews was a two-sport athlete at Los Altos High School, hitting .361 with
two homers and 36 RBIs in his two varsity baseball seasons. He led the team to
its first playoff appearance in 15 years. In basketball, he was an all-league
selection three times.
So, not making the Stanford team wasn't easy on his ego. Marquess offered
him the job of manager because Matthews wanted to be involved in some capacity.
"I was discouraged, but this has been my goal for a long time," he said.
"I grew up in this area as a fan of Stanford baseball, and I decided to stick
He even grew up on campus.
Matthews' mother, Tracy Schwartz, attended Stanford to get her master's
degree in computer science when he was a boy. Matthews' father, Stephen, also
has a Stanford degree. When Matthews was about 8, they all lived in student
housing, within shouting distance of Sunken Diamond, the school's baseball
"He just loved living there, and not just because of all the sports," his
mom said. "He and my husband used to try to go to one match of each varsity
sport. He always looked at Stanford as being kind of a second home. We knew he
kind of had a soft spot for it."
Both his parents remember when their son called home with the news that he'd
made the team.
"We're especially proud that he has the stick-to-itivenss when it could
have been discouraging," his mom said. "With various things, I'd say that's
always been a characteristic of his."
Matthews is working toward a double major in economics and archaeology, so
he stays plenty busy. Since he is a walk-on player, he doesn't have a baseball
scholarship. He relies on financial aid and loans like most college students.
"It's a mixed blessing," his dad said of baseball. "There are a lot of
opportunities at Stanford that he has to pass on. He is interested in going to
some archaeological digs and he's had to forego a number of opportunities. It's
actually a choice between good things.
"He used to get notes on his report cards that he was working too hard on
His teammates don't doubt it.
"He's a special guy," outfielder Sam Fuld said. "You just don't see that
very often. If you asked me two years ago if I thought he would be a member of
the team, I would have said you are crazy."