Legendary. The word holds the connotation of something special, something that has never been done before, or is done so well it withstands the test of time. To the Mississippi State University family, however, "legendary" cannot begin to describe the feeling of winning our first-ever NCAA College World Series National Championship.
Throughout its storied history, MSU baseball has been steadily marching towards excellence. The winning tradition Ron Polk established with his program has stood for years and years, along with the truly blissful atmosphere that can only be created by a warm spring day spent at Dudy Noble Field. Tonight, after 11 unsuccessful trips, Coach Polk, while fighting back tears, got to see his beloved Bulldogs bring home the title he sought his whole career.
Clark and Palmeiro, Mangum and MacNamee, and now Jordan and Allen, also hold this legendary status. Tonight, the latter two set themselves apart. Before the two even made the trip, they stated they were "more locked in than ever."
The two had never lost a super-regional and had made the trip to Omaha every year they had donned the maroon and white. This year, though, always felt special, and it all started and ended with the team.
All throughout the year, this team has found ways to win. From one of the first walk-offs of the season against Tulane, to the last inning heroics of utility player Tanner Leggett in the final bout with Texas, this year's Diamond Dawgs have always found ways to pull out the victory against all kinds of odds. That was the message to the team tonight— "Just win."
And Will Bednar and his company took that message to heart. Bednar managed to pitch a no-hitter through his seven innings to a baseball team that has had the no. 1 overall recruiting class for five out of the last six years, solidifying himself as a first-round draft pick and one of the best gunslingers to ever grace the mound for the Bulldogs. Landon Sims would follow him, tallying his 100th strikeout of the year in his winning efforts, the third Bulldog of the year to do so.
The real magic, though, took place in the seats of the stadium. TD Ameritrade park was awash in a sea of maroon and white for the last three days. Bulldog fans turned up in droves and showed the rest of the fans there and the whole country just what family means to us here in Starkville. The likes of Dak Prescott, Adam Frazier and so many more showed their support for their alma mater, because to them, it is so much more than where they went to school; it is a home.
With that being said, this article could not be written without those who have laid the groundwork before. Jack Cristil, the long-time voice of the Bulldogs, passed away in September of 2014, after watching MSU gain the title of runner-up in the 2013 College World Series. Jack is watching happily tonight, however, and if he were here with us, it goes without saying that we would all be celebrating to these sweet, sweet words.
"Wrap it in maroon and white, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are your national champions!"
Now that's legendary, folks.