In a land below the Mason Dixon line, football season is the time of year people of all ages look forward to. College football is the main attraction for fans covering the southeastern portion of the U.S.; however, there is a spot on the southern map where college baseball is coveted and the fan base does not fall short.
The usual football fans ringing cowbells and tailgating at Mississippi State University find themselves heading to "The Dude" for spring baseball games under the warm southern sun.
Last weekend's series against Louisiana State University made it very clear how the long-lasting tradition of heading to Dudy Noble for a weekend ballgame lives on. Happy fans were seen everywhere, even though LSU lead MSU for the majority of Friday and Saturday.
Owen Turcotte, from Philadelphia, Mississippi, wore his purple and gold LSU colors at Saturday’s game. He said he was enjoying seeing the LSU Tigers lead the MSU Bulldogs, and checking out the new Dude.
“I’m an LSU Fan, but I will say the atmosphere at State is pretty awesome,” Turcott said. “They’ve got one of the best college baseball stadiums in America—it’s really neat.”
Turcotte said he would follow the Tigers anywhere, but the stadium and feeling at Dudy Noble is one of the best college baseball atmospheres he has seen.
Baseball at Dudy Noble is important to people—it resonates with them in a way that brings people together and keeps college baseball attendance strong.
Hayley Henderson, from Jackson, said MSU baseball is something that appeals to younger and older crowds.
“I feel like with the new stadium, it gives people a chance to bring their kids and know that it’s a safe environment where they’re going to have fun and it’s a family event,” Henderson said.
She explained the tickets are affordable and the facility is welcoming to students and families. This can be seen near the front entrance where inflatables and games are set up for kids.
Collin Wilkins, from Mandeville, Louisiana, was at the series this past weekend and said he was impressed by the new stadium. He said he thought the barbecuing was his favorite part.
“It kind of brings like a major-league vibe to it,” Wilkins said. "The atmosphere and the exposure that the players get—it opens up for the fans as well. It’s been a pretty awesome time.”
At the game, LSU and MSU fans alike were barbecuing together and having a great time.
Keith Ferguson, from Carrollton, said he has been a lifelong fan.
“Mississippi State baseball is the best. Look at the facilities, what else can you ask for?” Ferguson said. “Where else can you have barbecue in the outfield and all of the fan support? You can’t ask for anything better.”
While walking through the crowd, many people said how important MSU baseball is to them and how it is a Bulldog family tradition to come support the Dawgs. The new stadium is a huge perk for fans, but the fans have been around before the $55 million dollar stadium reconstruction. People sat on the old seats, at the humble stadium in the hot southern summers and the freezing early spring rain.
Senior Claire Kullman, from Jackson, said with each baseball season brings fun memories for students, families and alumni. She said this new stadium adds onto the memories.
“I’m very excited, it’s been very fun so far. The new stadium has definitely lived up to it’s hype,” Kullman said. “I think we’ve been playing really great, which has also been super fun, so I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds.”