College Baseball Peaks in Frisco
College Baseball Peaks in Frisco
College baseball is hitting up Frisco later this month. The Frisco Classic brings Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, UCLA, and Illinois to Dr Pepper Ballpark. There are two games of college baseball every day of the tournament – Friday, Feb. 28, Saturday, Feb. 29, and Sunday, March 1.
Not only is this one of our favorite chances to go watch college ball, it’s also affordable and fun for the family. With $10 day passes, a family of four can attend the entire weekend for under $100!
In this episode, Nathan Woolridge gives us the scoop on the 2020 Frisco Classic. He also tells us about his background in sports and working as the Director for Peak Events, specializing in baseball tournaments.
Enjoy episode #48 of Hustle and Pro.
- [1:13] Quick hits
- [3:05] Teams coming: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Illinois
- [4:40] Tournament Format
- [7:55] Baylor Scott & White SPC at the Star
- [9:12] Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- [11:05] Nathan Wooldridge
- [13:40] Peak Sports
- [15:55] Texas Rangers
Resources within this episode:
- Frisco Classic: Instagram @friscoclassic | Twitter: @FriscoClassic | Website
- Peak Sports: Instagram peaksportsmgmt | Twitter: @PeakDotEvents | Website
- Nathan Wooldridge: Twitter @nwooldridge03
- Kelly Walker: Instagram @kelly_walkertexas | Twitter: @kelly_walker_TX
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
This episode of Hustle and Pro is sponsored by the Frisco College Baseball Classic presented by Baylor Scott and White Sports Performance Center at The Star on February 28th through March 1st, 2020. You can check out D1 baseball from Texas A&M, UCLA, Oklahoma State and Illinois as they battle it out at Dr Pepper Ballpark. So head to friscoclassic.com for tickets and game time information. Frisco Classic: best outside of Omaha.
This is Hustle and Pro with Kelly Walker. Join Kelly as she talks sports with players, coaches, organizers and entrepreneurs from Peewee league to pro. Now here’s your host, Kelly Walker.
Welcome to Hustle and Pro. The idea of baseball season being upon us makes me happy. My Rangers and my Rough Riders making trades and um, working on their fields may also means that college baseball is back and we get to experience some of that goodness here in Frisco too. And today we have Nathan Woolridge to talk to us a little bit about that. How’s it going, Nathan?
It’s going well. Going well.
Appreciate you having me.
Yeah, I’m excited to talk to you. So before we jump into some of this Frisco college baseball that we’re going to talk about, I want to know a little bit about you personally with some of these quick hits that we do off the top. So, okay. Who’s your favorite athlete?
Favorite athlete? Current or all time?
Who? Probably Dizzy Dean. Who was a pitcher for the Cardinals?
I don’t know. Dizzy Dean, a pitcher for the Cardinals in the 50s
from a small town called Darnell, Arkansas. And I grew up small town, Arkansas, so I kind of can relate.
Awesome. Dizzy Dean, dizzy Dean. That’s a great name.
What is your favorite sport?
Favorite sport is baseball by far.
Okay,quick answer. So do you have any sports superstitions from maybe when you were an athlete or favorite superstitions that you’ve seen? Athletes
by far, it is not stepping on the chalk and baseball and every time I see a pitcher walking into the mountain and he steps on the chalk, it just breaks my heart dead to you. Very disappointing. It’s pretty much inevitable he’s going to have a bad ending. Oh, it’s a curse. It is a curse. The sacred chalk lines. High school baseball. If we got caught doing warmups stepping on the chalk, we would, we would get benched. Wow. It’s a big deal. Take it.
Yeah. Take it seriously. I like watching them chalk the field.
I don’t know why it’s satisfying to watch. Just to watch the planes go down. It’s gotta be the real chocolate. I can’t be the paint.
Why? I don’t know. I don’t know what they’re doing.
But like the actual chocolate, you see it fall out, whereas the paint you’re spraying out.
I think it’s the chalk, so, so maybe we’re like, we get to the Rough Riders before the games and sometimes if we’re there really early watching from the club eating, um, I’m just like fixated watching them, especially the area on the batter’s box. When they do the frame, they put the frame down and then chalk it and then measure it and like, it’s great. They actually, they do, do, use the real stuff. Right. Good. Good. I didn’t want to call out the Rough Riders. Okay. Let’s dive into a little bit of this D one baseball talk that I mentioned and the tournament that’s coming up where we can all catch a weekend of great baseball here in Frisco. So tell me who will we see? Uh, February 28, 29th and March 1st here in Frisco
This year we are bringing an A&M back for the second time. So Texas state and it will be here. Oklahoma state will also be back for a second time and to cap it off we’ll be UCLA and Illinois. And uh, three of those four actually the rankings just came out yesterday with college baseball, uh, news and three of those four top 25 Oh four are within the top 50.
Anybody that I’m like, what are the prospects and the names that people are going to most likely come into the ballpark to see that weekend?
Oh, uh, specific player names. Uh, probably, uh, can’t name off a lot of them. I knew the Josh Young last year at Texas Tech. That was the big one that everybody came forward to. The, to the Frisco classic sheriff included this year. I’m not, I’m honestly not sure. I know ain’t just got a couple of kids, um, that are likely going to be some, some top round draft picks. And so UCLA has got a couple of pictures, uh, that are going to be high draft picks. So I would assume those two teams primarily, um, Oklahoma state also, I mean, Oklahoma state’s loaded, they’re going to be very good. So I don’t need specific names, but there’s, I have a feeling there’s can be a lot of people come check them out.
Well those Aggies are going to be coming out in full force, I’m sure.
All those, all those A&M folks that are around here. And since that’s our only Texas team this year, they’re probably gonna be a lot of maroon in the, in the stands. So, so we’re talking about the Frisco Classic and, but this is not just, um, a night or whatever baseball. So tell me the kind of, the format of how this tournament looks.
So the way that the tournament is set up is a, there’s two games each day and it starts on Friday. Uh, we actually have a practice day on Thursday before, so all four teams come in on Thursday, whether they’re flying or chartering a bus. And then they’ll practice on some point to our practice period during the day on the field. And then we go into Friday. We have a welcome breakfast for the team that morning. We host that over at Baylor Scott and White Sports Performance Center at the Star. Very cool setup over there. But then after that we get into the game. Just we have two games that’d be two games each day and there’s six games total throughout the weekend. So each team, each team plays a total of one game per day or three total throughout the, throughout the weekend.
Okay. So when you’re coming as a, as a spectator, and even if you’re not, I was gonna say fan, but I’m not a fan of any of those colleges cause my Red Raiders came last year and hopefully they’ll be back in another year. Right. Baseball fan in general. But I would just go to watch just because it’s five minutes away and why not? There’s really good baseball here. So, um, but like UCLA for example, UCLA, Oklahoma State starts it off at three and then INM Illinois at seven, that’s Friday night. But then Saturday the games are two and six and then Sunday the games are 11 and three. So there’s pretty much gotta be one of those times that you’re available if you want to go catch some baseball. But I also want to talk about how affordable it is, right? Because that’s two games you can get into the ballpark. I think your lowest tickets just for GA, it’s like 10 bucks, right?
So we make it where a family of four can come for the whole weekend for under a hundred dollars. And so you can do a $10 day pass, gets you a general admission seating, which is the, uh, outfield berm area. Um, there’s usually some, some open seats and the reserve seating. So don’t tell anybody that, uh, but you, you get at a single ticket, we’ll get you both games on the same day or you can get a weekend [inaudible], uh, which is $25 and get you all six games,
All six games, way toward the 25. And then if you want different seating options, those start at 15,
They do it. So it goes from 15, uh, for the day. Uh, I believe that one is a 35 for the weekend and then it goes all the way up to our very best seats, which are right behind home plate. Uh, that one I believe is 35 for the day. Um, and I’m not sure, I think the 90 for the weekend, for the, for the weekend. Okay. I’m not looking at them right in front of me, but uh, that’s our most expensive best premier seat in the house right behind home plate.
That’s great. That’s a good gift for somebody. Especially like corporate outings. Right. And I also saw, I don’t, I don’t know if this is new, but I saw that you can add on club access that knew we had it last year on a game by game basis. You could go in and actually get all inclusive food and beverage with it as well. But this year with food and beverage cost skyrocketing, we wanted to give people the opportunity where they can at least go inside. Um, food and beverage has to be purchased separately, but there isn’t an add on option for $15. You get club access for the day, which is the indoor JC Penney club, second level behind home plate, and you get access to the private bar. Um, and then the outdoor seating up there as well. But just in case there’s chilly weather or rainy weather, you can have access to be indoors or it’s climate controlled. The main thing, what we’ve seen is people want to be able to get inside if it’s called or inside, if it’s drizzly for any reason. But this year the weather is going to be beautiful. So I don’t know if anybody’s gonna want to be inside.
Great. Okay. And now also know that you mentioned Baylor Scott and white sports performance at the star. Right. So is that, is that um, a partner, a new partner with you guys or that you’ve partnered with them already? Last year
since they’ve been our presenting sponsor since we started in 2017 so they bought into what we were trying to build and our vision and they believed in us and uh, and then they’ve really grown with us throughout the last three years or I guess going into fourth year now. Yeah, they’ve been outstanding. It’s there, there are. So it’s the first school college baseball classic presented by Baylor Scott and white sports performance center at the star. So it is a mouthful, but uh, it’s definitely worth it. Uh, they, they are fantastic partners. Have done a great job
around here. We’re used to that. You know, we know, we know that long name and I bet you that helps recruit even better teams to come in. I bet everybody wants to get into the facilities here in Frisco.
And it does cause what the, what that gives us is Baylor Scott and White gives, uh, our, our teams the opportunity to work out and utilize that facility completely free of charge while they’re here for the weekend. Um, so these teams come in and get to use that state of the art workout space.
It’s a really great facility. It’s pretty amazing. Yeah, it is. I know the legends use it and out there and have that gym. So I’ve gotten to, I don’t, I’ve never done anything myself in there, but I’m gotten to check it out. It’s beautiful and say to the art stuff, you have to come check out the welcome breakfast. Okay. Cause we’ll be sold. Now I also want to ask you about the charitable component to this because I remember there was a check presentation. So how is that woven in?
Yeah, no. Uh, so with our event, we partner exclusively with the cystic fibrosis foundation. And the reason for that is our company owners, Ryan and Carol Holloway, they have a close relation to CF. Their nice Avery who is, it goes to Lovejoy, um, school district out in Lucas. Uh, she has CF. And so it’s been a big, big part of their lives for, for many years. And so it’s, it’s, it’s close to home. And so with that, we do some different things around the event. We take donations, um, at the event. We also take donations online when you’re purchasing tickets. Uh, but more so than the fundraising component of it. We do a lot of awareness building. And so with cystic fibrosis, this, this CF foundation is one of the only foundations that over 90% of revenue generated goes specifically to research. Um, and so they’ve made exponential strides over the last 20 years and they’re, they’re actually predicting that that a cure is on the horizon. Um, and they’ve just approved some new medication that went through this past year that are, that are extending lives more than more than anybody has really ever dreamed of, especially 10 years ago. And so we use the event to, to not only raise funds for them, but we also try to do our best to build awareness and just kind of educate the public.
That’s amazing that they are, you know, that close to, like you said, finding a cure. Absolutely not there yet. Right. But closest, I mean that’s, there’s just so much progress being made in so many areas like that. So to, to hear that it’s maybe insight is fantastic for those kids especially. Okay. So that’s the Frisco classic. It is the weekend of February 28th, which is also February 29th this year. And then it ends on March, uh, Sunday March 1st of 2020. So to get tickets and find out more details and info, go to Friscoclassic.com and pretty much everything you need to know will be located there. But now I want to learn a little more about you personally, Nathan. Um, you mentioned quickly that baseball was your favorite sport. So is that growing up? Is that, was that your only sport sports as a kid? What did that look like?
So growing up I actually was in about everything. Uh, I played baseball and football, basketball, golf, track. Um, as far as when you get into high school, you kinda focus a little more. I still didn’t focus a little more. I still did baseball, basketball, football.
Oh wow. So this, this goes back to that small town.
Thus I grew up in a small town in Arkansas called magnet Cove. About 500 total people had one gas station. We had 42 kids in my senior class.
So you all played everything.
We all played everything we had to yell any good at any of it. We were, we were pretty salty at football. Um, we were at the second, third round playoff type team to a Arkansas high school football. I mean it’s glorified. Yeah. JV. Um, beyond that, baseball was our, was our, was our go-to. We were pretty solid baseball, basketball. We won nine games my whole high school career. Did you play after high school by chance? Um, I had some opportunities from a lower level [inaudible] in AI type, um, baseball opportunities. Uh, just in AA it’s pretty expensive to, to go that route cause they’re not going to give you full scholarship. So anyway, uh, uh, wanted to, uh, but realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t one, I wasn’t quick enough. And then two, I didn’t have the arm strength to be very successful. And so I kind of gave it up. And from there I really shifted my focus on working in athletics. And so I worked for university of Arkansas football team for two and a half seasons. He went to school there. I did. So I started at Arkansas tech at [inaudible] school in Arkansas and then, um, was awful for a year and a half. I mean it was, it was miserable. And then I transferred to university of Arkansas after that when I got gotten employed with the team and Razorbacks and then I graduated from there and I guess the fall of 13.
And what did you do for them as far as work?
You say the first year on staff? I was a student trainer and so I was doing rehab and treatments with players, um, water duties, glorified Waterboy, um, uh, doing a lot of OTC medications to the players, different things like that, kind of basic athletic training stuff. Um, and then the second year I was at what was considered a student assistant with the offensive coaches. And so I was doing film breakdowns and charting plays during games and keeping stat lines and different things and, and pop times, uh, for, for punters and special teams. I was doing all kinds of stuff.
But baseball is where you probably wanted to be. So you work for peak events, right?
Yeah. So the, our parent company’s technically peak sports peaks, peak events is the company that I, I guess quote unquote oversee.
And is that primarily back to baseball?
It is. Um, to an extent. So I went to school to be a teacher. That’s what I thought I wanted to do teacher and be an administrator and went to grad school to be an administrator. Um, and it was working athletics while I was doing all that, uh, doing all kinds of sports. But then are the company that I worked for now I was working real tight with their owner and he pulled me down down here cause he had this idea to start a baseball tournament and he thought that I would be the right person to, to get it off the ground. And so he brought me down and um, we started it and we, that was two years before it got off the ground. So that was in 2015 we started in 2017. Oh, it took that much ramp up time. It did complaining and selling [inaudible] and so we had success in year one, um, that had success for two years after that. So now we’re looking to replicate it in other parts of the state. And then we’re looking at bringing other events outside of baseball here to the DFW for school areas.
I saw the baseball tournament is you replicated at first, did you replicate it first in round rock or was there, is there another place also first in round rock.
So this will be our first,second tournament. Okay. If that makes sense. So that’ll be our first expansion. That’s right.
Okay. Very good. So you mentioned arm speed, arm strength. Were you a pitcher?
I was in high school, yeah. Yeah. But I wasn’t very good. I’m just being honest.
But you love this sport, right? So growing up was that, um, who were your, you mentioned that your, I forgot his name already, your dizzy Dean guy. Um, but who else, what teams were you following when you were kids?
Uh, an obsessive st Louis Cardinals fan, which is probably tough for people down here in Dallas to, to accept, which is understandable. I’m not so much a Cardinals fan anymore. Uh, but I grew up very, very tight knit with the cards. Albert Poole holes, Judy drew Martin choir. I remember the home run battle in 98 went to mini games in st Louis. Used to always go to Houston to watch the Cardinals play the Astros when the, the killer bees were there with Bagwell Biggio and Bergman back in the early two thousands.
So yeah, I didn’t know the killer bees, the nickname. Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. So then you were a pitcher or was that your only position?
Mostly middle infield. That was second short. That’s a, that’s where I preferred.
I dare to ask, but have you, have you grown into a bit of a Rangers fan living in this market at all?
Yeah. So ever since I, uh, saw w S school, Baxter road, it’s been a whole bunch of money to take my brothers to a st Louis Cardinals game. It’s been five, six years ago now and got treated terribly by their venue staff. And so it just put a really sour taste in my mouth and ever since then and they’ve been really bad the last few years. So it’s been real easy not to like them easy to kinda jump off that way. And so with that I’ve kind of transitioned to, to focus a little more on the Rangers. I have to be a little more up to date with things down here and I have to be able to hold conversations with people who are interested in. So I definitely need to be educated. But yeah, I mean definitely I’m more a Rangers fan now than I ever was.
Yeah, there’s a lot of the Rangers, like I said at the beginning it’s, it’s happy time cause the Rangers are back in the news again, making some trades. I’m sad to lose players like Delano because she’s just personally, I think he’s cool and I like his Twitter feed, but I know that we needed to upgrade in that position probably. But um, it’s exciting to hear some of these trades being made and maybe our pitching is going to get upgraded.
I feel like they, they took forever to start. Yeah. I feel like all these other teams are making big moves and they’re just sitting back.
But let’s just see, I’m finally making some moves in public stuff. Let’s just, let’s just assume JDS back there and quietly working his magic and we just don’t see it or hear about it yet. That’s what we’re going to hope that we’re going to hope. And with all the ballpark news, I mean besides the, the small fire and recent news, everything else hopefully is going to be going well and that they open in time for opening day. That’s going to be a unique opening day if they can’t get that figured out. Right. But yeah, you gotta be a fan. I mean you do this tournament and in our backyard here, I’m in there and their AA backyard. So it helps that you’re, you’re finding way to the Rangers iPad
then? Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. And I’ve been to a few games so it’s, it’s really helped.
Me too. We don’t go to very many since we’re Frisco like bubble, um, locals here. We, we do lots of Rough Riders and very few Rangers. Of course we’re watching them on TV but we’ll make the drive out there a couple times a year. It’s some birthday traditions for our son. Of course. Gotta get out there at least once and then whenever we get to play offs, we at least get out there for a playoff game hopefully.
Okay. Makes sense. I did go, I’ve been to one playoff game. They played the race back 2012 or it’s been awhile. Um, but yeah, we tried to go at least one a year, but I’m definitely more, I’m at 20 Rough Riders games a year in comparison to maybe one Rangers game.
Yep. I know. I see you there at the ballpark every now and then often.
Usually working. Yeah, I do go for fun too.
And so for everybody listening, um, if you are at the ballpark and even if it’s not a Frisco Classic event that you’re at, you might see them. So look for their tent or booth and um, say hi to the Frisco classic folks, whoever’s working at that event. And they’ll give you the scoop on the tournament coming up and what you can look forward to at the Frisco classic next time. So it’s usually a bright green tent. Yep. You can’t miss it. Yup. It’s a fun event. I enjoy it and I look forward to it. Um, I know sometimes the weather hasn’t always cooperated with you guys, but even so, sometimes those rainy cold games can be the best memories get bundled up and get out there.
I mean, two years ago with A & M a and Baylor, it was kind of a chilly Saturday, but they still had almost 10,500 people in the park. And so that’s one of my favorite memories for this, for this event. It’s purely, uh, just how, how cool it can be and the number of people that can come out. And we’re expecting a big crowd this year. They knew.
Oh yeah, for sure. Good stuff. Well, thanks Nathan. It was good talking with you. And so everybody go hit up Friscoclassic.com for tickets and details for this year’s tournament.