Acknowledging the elephant in the room is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when that elephant is someone or something you hold near and dear to your heart. In this case, it is not an elephant — it is the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State University baseball has been a touchy subject for the duration of the 2023 season, but it has not always been like this.
The Bulldogs have made 12 appearances in the College World Series. During their 2021 CWS appearance, they were able to end a 126-year national title drought and finally bring the victory back to home sweet home, Starkville.
When I transferred to Mississippi State as a sophomore, I knew very little about the Bulldogs’ reputation as it pertained to the athletic department. However, I did know that people were raving about the success of Mississippi State’s baseball team, and I was excited to be a part of the potential winning status.
The baseball team’s winning momentum quickly came to a halt as the 2022 season came to life — or should I say, death.
After being put on a pedestal for their impressive streak of wins in 2021, the Bulldogs came up short in their 2022 season. MSU ended the season with a 26-30 overall record and went 9-21 in SEC play. Bragging rights for being a fan of the Bulldogs were taken completely off the table.
Two seasons after the Bulldogs won it all, 2023 has been less than promising for Mississippi State baseball. With a 6-15 SEC record and 24-20 record overall, the Bulldogs' hopes and dreams of heading back to Omaha, Nebraska, are sadly becoming less and less likely for this season.
However, throughout the painful losses this year, the faithful Bulldogs fans never failed to pack out the wondrous Dudy Noble Field. Big SEC wins against Alabama and in-state rival Ole Miss kept the spark alive.
During Super Bulldog Weekend, the Bulldogs reached a major milestone. Despite the flawed season, Mississippi State fans filled the ballpark to break the NCAA baseball attendance record with 16,423 college baseball enthusiasts piled into The Dude.
MSU alumna Lexi Bennett, a life-long Bulldogs fan born in Columbus, Mississippi, celebrated her 26th birthday by witnessing the win over the Rebels at Dudy Noble Field.
“I just so happened to be part of the record-breaking attendance at the game. To hear the crowd was probably the most fun part,” Bennett said. “It’s loud as it is, but when we set another record, it was unbelievable.”
Winning the series against Ole Miss and setting an NCAA record was big for the Bulldogs, but these successes might not be the only reason why the fans never fail to cheer on their Bulldogs.
As a fan, and even sometimes a skeptic, I have attended a fair share of baseball games during my time at Mississippi State thus far. I can say with complete confidence that I have never seen Dudy Noble Field in a state of scarcity during a Mississippi State baseball game.
The fans still show up, win or lose, to cheer on their beloved Bulldogs. It is not the verdict of the game that keeps the crowds coming, it is something much more than that. It is the atmosphere, the fellowship, the fist-pumps with every scoring run and it is being a part of something bigger – the Bulldogs family.
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