"We are really getting excited about our First Pitch Banquet this Saturday. We are really excited about having Mitch Moreland speak. Mitch is going to talk about his time as a player at Mississippi State and his speedy process through the Minor Leagues and his call-up to the Major Leagues and this past year. And, of course, he will talk about the World Series where he put up big-time numbers for the Texas Rangers. He really did well in the Major Leagues."
You are having it at a different time compared to the other banquets, aren't you?
"We are. In the past, it has always been the day before the first game. And we decided to do it on a Saturday this year for a couple of reasons. One, it allows folks from out of town a better chance to come to it. And it's at 4 o'clock, which means they will be able to get home at a decent hour after the program, which normally lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours. It is also going to be a more casual event with a barbecue type meal."
There's also going to be some things going on that day that will help Ryan Duffy, the former State baseball player who suffered a broken neck during a swimming accident last August.
"There is. We will have a silent auction with some great items available. If you are a sports collector there is some really nice apparel that I think you would love to bid on. There's also going to be a live auction for some of our upper tier items such as autograph jerseys and autograph bats. I don't want to spoil it for anyone by saying what all will be available but let's just say it will be a sports collector's dream. The proceeds from those two auctions will be going to Ryan Duffy to help he and his family cover his medical expenses."
And the banquet will allow State fans to meet the 2011 Mississippi State baseball team.
"Yes, you are right. MSU fans will be able to meet this year's Bulldog team. Coach Cohen will speak about team and the upcoming season. Compared to year's past, this year's banquet will be more of a fan-friendly event. We are going to try to get the kids in to see all that is going on."
What will the prices be for the banquet?
"We have lowered the ticket prices tremendously. Last year the tickets were $32. This year they are $15, more than 50% less than last year. If you are a child 18 years or younger the price is $10 per ticket. The tickets can be purchased at the MSU Athletics Ticket Office in the Bryan Athletics Administration Building or you can call 662-325-2600 and order your tickets over the phone or order online at the MSU athletic department website. You can also purchase tickets at the event itself."
Tickets can be purchased online by clicking the link to the right - First Pitch Tickets Order Form
Anybody can come to this event, can't they?
"Yes, anybody can come to it. Some fans may think this is an invitation type event but it's not. It's open to anybody who wants to attend. In fact, it's very much open to the public. And we are trying to get the word out to everybody because it should be an exciting event for everybody who attends.
"There is so much going on during the event. You get to hear from John Cohen, you will get to meet the team, you will hear Mitch Moreland speak. And on top of that you will be able to enjoy a barbecue meal that consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, baked beans and other great things. And on top of that, you will be able to help with a good cause, helping Ryan Duffy. There will even be a recorded message from Ryan Duffy that folks who attend the event will be able to watch."
How many are you expecting to attend the event?
"Tickets are still available. And we can seat 1,000 folks in the Palmeiro Center, so we are hoping for 1,000 folks at the event."
When folks come to the event where should they go?
"At 4 o'clock the line will begin at the door of the Griffis Boardroom which is connected to the (south end of the) Palmeiro Center. That will take you directly to the food line. Once you are through eating, you can go into the Palmeiro Center where the event will actually be held beginning at roughly 5:15 pm."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.