The feel of the sun on winter’s skin, the feel of spring’s breeze bringing promises of re-birth, another year, another chance.
Well, hand me another beer! It is almost baseball season again in Oxford, MS and throughout the SEC. Few things should be more anticipated for college sports fans, maybe the birth of a child, maybe the first home football game in the fall; but not much else can compare to the joy that baseball brings to me.
I still run into the occasional sports fan that just doesn’t “get” baseball; never played it and never really attends games. This happens far too frequently for my liking, especially considering that a lot of people in Mississippi do "get" college baseball.
Per game attendance figures for the big three programs in the state of Mississippi, show that over 17,000 pay to watch their team play. (Olemiss - 8,156 per game - #2 in nation and MSU - 6,103 - #6).
To those that don’t understand or don’t quite have the temperament to follow baseball religiously, I would offer to take you to the hallowed ground of Swayze field, home of the Ole Miss Rebels.
At most ball parks you want to be right behind home plate, as close to the action as possible. But in Oxford, you want to get there early and fight for a spot in the outfield, where the terraced slopes and complimentary BBQ grills offer comforts even the well known tailgating mecca “The Grove” can’t supply.
Alumni are behind the left field wall and the students cover the right field hill. It’s BYOB, so stay hydrated. Find a comfortable spot, because you will be here a while, long before the game starts and long after it’s over.
In my mind, a game at Swayze is a celebration. A celebration of something special, something Mississippi is doing right, and a spectacle that cannot be topped anywhere in the Nation. Oh, that school down in the swamp may have higher attendance figures, but who would want to rub shoulders with that fan base for 4 hours?
Give me a full cooler, a full belly, competitive baseball, and that my friends, might be as good as it gets.
Ole Miss kicks off the season at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas for a three game set this weekend. The first home series begins on 2/24 against UNC-Wilmington.
Let me know when you are ready! Find me on twitter @aceyrob.