With his extensive experience allowing him to show pitchers the subtle differences between the four-seam and two-seam fastballs, one could say Bruins’ Head Baseball Coach Brad Comstock is fitting seamlessly into his new role.
While new to the Bruins’ baseball program, the Bay Area native and San Carlos High graduate has been coaching Santa Clara’s girls’ soccer team since 2010.
“The other day against Silver Creek, Brad goes, ‘hey ref’ instead of umpire,” chuckled Assistant Coach Al Bonvicino. “And the kids got a big laugh out of that.”
Despite most of his coaching background being in soccer, Comstock is truly a baseball guy at heart. After graduating high school, Comstock played baseball at San Francisco State where he was a pitcher. He would go on to play professionally in the minor leagues, but a knee injury in Triple-A cut short his career before having a chance to pitch in the majors.
“We had heard before the season started that he had played at a really high level, so that was awesome to know,” said Bruins’ catcher Noah Dembowski. “He joked about coaching the girls’ soccer team and how he hadn’t played soccer before. Yet he’s done so much with them, so I can only imagine how much he can do with us since he has so much baseball knowledge actually having played the sport.”
With the end of girls’ soccer and start of boys’ baseball overlapping in late February, Comstock was pulling a bit of double duty the first couple weeks of baseball practice. The hours were long, but baseball has always been his calling.
“I’m enjoying it. I don’t think I could have asked for a better bunch than these kids. It is a lot different, though, coming from girls,” laughed Comstock. “This is something I did for a living, so I do get frustrated faster [with baseball]. That’s the part I have to work on. Other than that, I couldn’t have asked to have more fun. My daughter came to our home game last Saturday and she goes ‘Dad, I looked at you and it was you in your element’ and that felt really good.”
Thus far on the season the Bruins are 2-1 in non-league play. That’s already half of the total wins that they had all of last season. The atmosphere around the team is much more upbeat than a year ago.
“He brings a new attitude to this club. He’s fun to work with, tells the boys the way it is,” said Bonvicino on working with Comstock. “He really wants to build this program.”
“The kids seem happy to be out here, ready to go and be out there for one another,” said Assistant Coach Pedro Martinez. “Reminds me of two years ago when I had a lot of these kids on JV. I see a lot of happy faces. The guys really want to have a good season this year.”
Both Martinez and Bonvicino were varsity assistants last year and both expressed appreciation that Comstock chose to retain them. Keeping some familiar faces was a slam-dunk choice for Comstock. (He coached Bonvicino’s daughter on the soccer team from 2012-16.)
“The boys know them, I know them and I know that they have done a good job here,” remarked Comstock on keeping the staff intact. “That part was not hard at all in terms of deciding to keep them on. The hard part was the long hours coaching both teams, get here at 3:30 and not get home until 8:30.”
With soccer season ending, Comstock is now fully in his element.