Fans wait out rain at Comerica for annual clash game
DETROIT — Despite chilly temperatures and driving rain, Spartan fans still came to support MSU at the third-annual Clash at Comerica between MSU and Central Michigan on Wednesday evening.
Although the game was suspended in the fifth inning with MSU ahead, 1-0, and the remainder of the game is set to be played May 14 in Mt. Pleasant, those who stuck it out got their money’s worth.
Dick Smith drove two hours from Perrysburg, Ohio, to watch his grandson, freshman outfielder Hunter Smith, play at the home of his favorite major league team, the Detroit Tigers.
“He’s been a Tigers fan all of his life and he’s been in the park many times, but he’s never been down there,” Smith said of his grandson. “As a grandparent, this is a dream. It’s something I never had a chance to do, and I’m living it through Hunter.”
Smith got to the ballpark early and waited out the more than 30-minute rain delay from under the second deck.
He had high hopes the game would get underway and Hunter could take the field with his teammates.
“We’re in the Midwest, you never know,” Smith said. “An hour from now, the sun might be out.”
The MSU Alumni Association partnered with MSU’s University Advancement to host a networking event before the first pitch for those fans that waited out the delay under shelter.
University Advancement Assistant Director of Donor Relations Paul Trudell, who was in charge of the event, said about 160 people showed up, and attendance was impacted for reasons other than the weather.
“This year’s attendance is a little bit down only because the game is about a half hour earlier in the day and also a month earlier in the season,” Trudell said.
Trudell said it’s a well-attended event and people have had fun in the past.
Former players also showed up to the event, even 1984 World Series Champion Dave Bergman, who had two children graduate from MSU.
Bergman said it’s nice to see so many alumni and fans come out and support the Spartans.
“This is really cool,” Bergman said. “This is fantastic to have all these people here supporting Michigan State baseball and having a good time.”
Bergman played outfielder and first base for the Tigers and was the guy who plugged any hole the team needed. He’s glad his old club gave the Spartans and Chippewas the chance to face off.
“This is terrific that the Tigers open it up to college baseball like this and giving these young men an opportunity to play on a major league field, and to give them a little taste of the amenities that are involved with the major league level,” he said.
Whether it’s college or the pros, Bergman said the players on the field are highly skilled, and still need to throw, catch and pitch just like any other game.
“(Head coach) Jake (Boss Jr.) will be preaching the same thing that all the coaches I played for in the minor leagues and major leagues did,” Bergman said. “That’s what’s cool about the game, baseball is baseball, it just gets a little bit faster and the guys get bigger as the levels go up.”