Since the early 1970s Brian Pushie has been attending MSU baseball games. The 63-year-old Detroit resident said he has seen a lot of change during the time period he has enjoyed Spartan baseball, including the construction of a new stadium.
“I mean, it was wooden stands,” Pushie said. “Actually, it was a lot closer, too. But this is a great facility now; it’s just terrific. As close and intimate as the old stadium was, it really wasn’t a stadium. Like I said, it was just old bleachers.”
According to msuspartans.com, McLane Baseball Stadium was completed for the start of the 2009 MSU baseball season. Funding came from a $4 million donation from Drayton and Elizabeth McLane.
Pushie said even though he spends money driving to East Lansing, Spartan baseball games are more valuable than alternatives.
MSU students are admitted free to all games at McLane stadium with a valid MSU ID. Games Monday through Thursday are free for the public. Weekend games are $3 for senior citizens and those under the age of 18 and $5 for everyone else, according to msuspartans.com.
“It’s changed because I’ve changed,” Pushie said. “When I first started coming, I was young and, you know, it was like the players were my age, and now I am older. This year, the fans have been very supportive. You see a lot of the same people; I don’t know who they are, but sometimes you sit by the same people. I think the fans have been very supportive, and we have had good crowds.”
Pushie said there may be more fans coming out this season because the Spartans are “contenders.”
According to msuspartans.com, average home attendance for the 2016 season so far is at 861 people compared to 802 in 2015. Although the average home attendance in 2014 was 1,294 people.
Megan Hall, assistant director of sales and marketing for MSU’s athletic department, said the main factors that determine attendance at MSU baseball games are the success of the team, the weather and the types of promotions the sales and marketing team may have for a particular game.
Hall said in the past they have done an alumni reunion game, military appreciation game, little league day game and a fan appreciation game among others.
So far the highest attended home game of the 2016 season was the MSU contest against the University of Michigan on April 30. The game had 2,575 spectators as the Spartans defeated the Wolverines 7-6.
“I’m a baseball fan, and I am a Spartan fan,” Okemos resident Al Dominick, who has been coming to MSU baseball games since 1962, said. “Great combination. It’s a beautiful day. You get the green grass. You get everything baseball has to offer, and I don’t have to drive to Detroit to get it.”