As the school year draws to a close and the weather begins to break, people can go outside again after a relatively cold winter. Today marks one of those first chances to get out and enjoy the changing of the seasons.
The ninth annual Crosstown Showdown, a baseball game between MSU and the Lansing Lugnuts, the Class A Toronto Blue Jays minor league affiliate, will be held tonight. The game is at 7:05 p.m. at Cooley Law School Stadium in downtown Lansing.
“It’s a blast. It’s a lot of fun,” senior infielder Ryan Richardson said. A lot of people come out and we get to play against a minor league team which is always fun and a challenge in itself, and they’re always competitive. It’s a good time for us to get to experience a pro atmosphere.”
The game usually draws a pretty big crowd. The 2012 game drew a then-stadium record of 12,997 fans.
“It’s a fun night, getting to play in front of (10,000) to 13,000 people,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “(It) is a thrill for our guys and they can take that and tell their kids and grandkids someday.”
It is also a chance for the Spartan baseball players to square off against professionals and have a chance to see what they do.
“We approach it as a learning experience. We go in every year saying let’s keep an eye out for maybe some things that these guys do differently from what we do,” Boss said. “We try to get there early and watch their batting practice and (watch them) work out a little bit and get an idea of how they do things.”
It is a good chance for the Spartans to take a break from the grind of the regular season and have fun. The Lugnuts lead the all-time series 6-2 over MSU, with the Spartans’ last win coming in 2011. Last year the Lugnuts edged out MSU, 3-2.
“It’s good for us because we catch a break outside of the season,” senior outfielder Anthony Cheky said. “You get to have fun and go out there (and) showcase your skills against good competition.”
A three-year extension of the popular game was agreed upon in 2012 and now that agreement is in its last year. Boss is hoping the game will continue to be played.
“I don’t deal with any of the contractual issues of the game. I hope we continue to play it,” Boss said. “I think it’s a highlight of our schedule.”
Cheky is hoping the team can ride its momentum built from a recent three-game sweep of Oregon into the Crosstown Showdown and break their losing streak.
“(I expect) a win. I hope a win will come with it, we’re playing well right now and it would be nice to get a win against the Lugnuts,” Cheky said.