Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Baseball team deserves more

This has not been the ideal March for MSU sports fans.

After three consecutive Final Fours, you thought the men’s basketball team could pull it together and make another run at a title, but they bowed out in the first round.

Then, the Spartan hockey team followed suit with a disappointing 2-0 loss to Colorado College in the NCAA Tournament ending the career of legendary coach Ron Mason.

Then the women’s basketball team created some excitement on campus, advancing deep into the 2002 Women’s National Invitation Tournament. And as soon as you jumped on the bandwagon, hoping to cheer them on at Breslin Center in the championship game, the wheels fell off in the semifinals.

The news that sophomore Marcus Taylor - MSU’s most productive player - may be leaving the green and white of MSU for the green of the NBA didn’t make you feel any better.

So there are no more teams to route for this spring - wrong.

With the baseball team (Yes, we have a baseball team) off to a 17-5 start - the best start since 1992 - April could be a lot more fun for Spartan fans if they choose to support the team.

This spring’s disappointments should not discourage Spartan fans from supporting the baseball team because there’s a huge difference between the MSU basketball teams and the baseball team: experience.

While the basketball teams were scarce with experience - showcasing just two seniors between the two squads - the Spartan sluggers are overflowing with experience, boasting nine seniors and five juniors.

Not only are they experienced, but they are good and, just as important, fun to watch.

By far the most exciting part of baseball is the home run, and these guys are long-ball specialists.

The Spartans have hit 42 homers in 22 games. The team is led in that department by senior center fielder Chris McCuiston, who has 10 along with a team-high 37 RBIs.

For the first 17 games of the season, the Spartans terrorized opposing pitchers with the deep ball.

In just five games at Kobs (long “O”) Field, the Spartans have increased the amount of foreign objects in the Red Cedar River, hitting 11 home runs.

Besides, baseball is the American pastime. There is no better way to enjoy the increasingly warm weather than to watch your baseball team smack home runs en route to victories.

MSU is well-known for having some of the best basketball fans in the conference, and it is about time opposing Big Ten baseball teams felt our wrath as well.

In Wednesday’s home opener against Siena Heights, the Spartans official attendance at that game was 375. That is unacceptable for a team that wins as much as the baseball team does.

In the middle of the contest, two students valiantly attempted to start a “Go Green, Go White” chant - it failed miserably as they were the only two spectators to participate. I commend them.

A spirited, enthusiastic crowd can only increase the competitive nature of this team. After Minnesota stole the first game of a tripleheader Saturday - the Spartans beat them like they stole something. The Spartans responded with a 5-3 win in which they hit two home runs - followed by a 14-4 debacle, which included five home runs.

A team that has won 17-of-22 games for MSU should have the support of more than 410 people - the highest turn out in the first five games.

Rooting on the baseball team fits college students budgets as well - the games are free. That also means you can sit anywhere you want.

And the money you saved on the price of admission can go toward a “World Famous Kobs Field Hotdog.”

Besides supporting the team, baseball games are just a great place to converse, read a book or enjoy a great day. Who knows, Sparty might pay another visit like he did in the home opener.

There should be a wave of green and white in the home stands as well as the visitors’.

Romando J. Dixson, a general assignment reporter, can be reached at dixsonro@msu.edu.

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