MSU Baseball Scheduling

Mississippi State Coordinator of Baseball Operations Tyler Bratton talks about the upcoming baseball schedules, primarily the 2011 schedule.

The last time we talked the 2010 schedule was pretty much done. What's happening as far as the 2011 schedule and even 2012 and 2013?
"We're working on the 2011. And we've had some interest from some teams for 2012 and we've even had some interest from a team from a bigger conference for 2013. It seems like the more you work with the schedule, the further out you are looking."

Who are some new teams that Mississippi State will play in 2011?
"This is all tentative, no contracts have been signed but it looks like we are going to San Francisco, California to play in the Major League baseball stadium of the San Francisco Giants. Rice, Long Beach State are a couple of other teams that are going to be there as well. And the University of California is putting the tournament on, so they will be playing as well. So, there will be some good teams, some possible regional type matchups at the tournament. I'm not sure of the exact details right now. I'm sure they will guarantee us four games, and possibly five games.

"We also have a Big Ten team coming here in 2011, the Iowa Hawkeyes. We are renewing a series with them that was played quite often years and years ago. That series will be played the third weekend of the year, March 4th through the 6th."

Will that be a case where you probably won't do a return trip to Iowa?
"No, we will not return that trip. But it could be a series where we may try to bring in another team from a group of teams that have expressed interest in playing us such as Georgia State and Akron. That would allow us to have a tournament type series."

How long will the San Francisco tournament be and what days will the games be played?
"It's on the front end of our spring break, so it won't really conflict with classes. I think we will probably go out there on Thursday, then fly back on Monday morning. We will probably play at least one game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and very likely a double-header on one of those days."

Mississippi State is going to be a pretty tough team to beat in the by the time 2012 and 2013 rolls around. Why do teams from bigger conferences want to play you guys?
"It's good for RPIs on both sides. Teams from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10 usually have really good RPIs just like teams from the SEC has good RPIs. Plus, it's a good game as far as bringing fans to the games. If we go to one of those type schools their fans are going to come watch them play because they are seeing Mississippi State play. And it's the same with one of those teams coming here. Our fans would probably like to see a team from California or maybe from Washington or from Michigan. teams from one of the power conferences. They want to see how those Pac-10 and Big Ten conference teams stack up against the SEC."

With teams like that will it be a home and home type series?
"It depends. We really wouldn't go up to Big Ten country because it is obviously cold the first part of the year and these games are always done the few weeks before we get into our conference schedule. There is a chance we would go to the Pac-10 down the road. The Big 12 is always an option but it would have to be one of the southern Big 12 teams due to the weather."

A lot of new names are appearing on the home and away portions of the 2010 and 2011 MSU schedules such as Rhode Island, Southeast Missouri State, Michigan State, Maine, Cal, Rice and Long Beach State and former foes such as Iowa and Washington. Is it mostly those schools contacting you wanting to play Mississippi State or is it more 50/50 between them contacting you and you contacting them?
"It's really back and forth. I called the Iowa head coach and talked to him about playing here. He said it was definitely something he wanted to do. But the one with the University of California at San Francisco, they called us. They sent me an email asking if we wanted to join them, Rice, Long Beach State, the University of San Francisco and the UC-Santa Barbara and a few others in that tournament. That was a win-win situation because 1), San Francisco is easy to get to as far as a flight is concerned and 2), you are playing in a Major League stadium which is great for our players."

How many home games is Mississippi State looking to play each season?
"We would like to have as many as possible. The reason for that is because we have such a beautiful complex. Plus, it gives us a tremendous home field advantage to be playing in front of several thousand fans.

"The magic number would be in the mid-30s, and the high-30s would be awesome. Getting 37, 38 home games would be really great."

Do you have a tentative number of home games for the 2011 season?
"Right now I would say it's probably going to be at least 33 and it could go as high as 35. That will depend on how some mid-week things work out. We are trying to get to the 35 number, though. That would be better than years past when we only had 31 to 32 homes games."

Is the games played at Pearl, Mississippi each year pretty much permanent?
"We would like to make that permanent with Ole Miss and Southern Miss. It's great for our fanbase because we have a lot of fans who are from the Jackson area. Some fans might not be able to see us play for various reasons (on the weekend) so it would give them a chance to watch us play mid-week."

Mississippi State is recruiting the state of Mississippi very heavily from the northern part of the state all the way down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You play games at Dudy Noble Field and at Pearl, which basically covers the northern and central part of the state. Have you guys thought about playing a game or two on the Gulf Coast somewhere?
"We really haven't dicussed that. The facility would have to be one that would hold a lot of people. And I'm really not sure if there is a stadium big enough (on the Gulf Coast). That is something that we might pursue at a later date but we would have to find a stadium that is suited for college standards."

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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 swindoll@genespage.com.


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