Conerly: Starkville's beautiful, golden reminder

It’s been 136 years since the first Bulldogs, who were then called the Aggies, suited up in maroon and white and took to the diamond to participate in America’s pastime. 

Decades have long since flown by since the ball club began its burgeoning career, and throughout the many years, accolades began to stack as Mississippi State University slowly began to cement itself as one of the best baseball colleges in the nation.

Even though the club has produced 211 MLB draft picks, 11 SEC championships, 39 NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 trips to the College World Series, never has a Mississippi State University baseball team been crowned with that coveted national title.

That is, until the most memorable night in MSU sports history happened in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 30, 2021. The Bulldogs blew out Vanderbilt and wrapped the national championship in maroon and white for the first time in school history. The long 136 years of a championship drought was over, and for the first time ever, a trip to Omaha didn’t end in tears. MSU fans, players and staff could finally sleep in peace at night, no longer just dreaming that they were champions.  

While the achievement of getting a national title is an amazing moment in school history, the trophy isn’t staying forever. The Bulldogs will eventually have to give the trophy back to the NCAA so that the next champions may be crowned. However, the championship rings that the players and staff received will forever stay in the hearts of Starkville, Mississippi, and on the fingers of those that went to Omaha and brought the championship home. 

Written on the top and bottom of the ring face are the words “National Champions,” a golden reminder of what every member of every Bulldog baseball team has fought for. In the middle of the ring face, surrounded by diamonds, is a ruby depiction of the MSU baseball logo enshrined in a golden National Championship trophy, sitting on top of a baseball’s infield with a larger diamond representing first and third base.  

At the top of the left side of the ring, or shank, are the golden words “Dude Effect,” a golden memento to the many fans who cheered and cried with the  teams who donned the maroon and white on the diamond for MSU.

Through big wins and heartbreaking losses, the Dude has always shown up and created one of the most electrifying baseball atmospheres in all of college baseball, and is showcased on the ring of MSU’s first national title.

Under “Dude Effect,” and written in a larger font, are the words “Dawgs Win Again,” a phrase commonly uttered by state fans and players after a win this past season. The more that slogan was said, the sweeter it began to sound as those wins in Omaha began to bring the Dawgs closer and closer to saying it while holding that national title, and on that unforgettable day in June, the Dawgs would win again.  

Beneath the slogan is a golden image of the 2021 College World Series logo, which hovers over the numbers 50-18. The number 50 represents the number of wins the Bulldogs achieved during their championship season, and 18 represents the losses during the season.  

On the top of the right side, or shank, stands the last name of the ring recipient, and right beneath is the MSU 2021 National Championship logo. Covered in gold and standing against a bold, black backdrop, the logo and its words will never be forgotten in the hearts and minds of all MSU fans, players, staff and alumni. 

The rings are a bright and flashy reminder to the Bulldog faithful that our beloved and storied program has finally gotten past the cursed barrier that prevented any Bulldog from hoisting that oh-so elusive national championship trophy. While trophies come and go, the rings will stay forever as Starkville’s beautiful, golden reminder. 

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