A Lot To Like

There's a lot to like about postseason baseball play in Oxford. You have your own list.

These may not necessarily be all of mine, but I like...

…playing baseball in June.

…the way Ole Miss students and even some adults line up the night before play and wait all night for the gates to open the next day.

…the way Super Regionals bring big name teams from bigtime conferences to Ole Miss.

…the day before play starts when the teams practice and the press conferences are held.

…how classy most college baseball coaches and players are.

…what an easy sport it is to cover because of the above statement.

…when Mike Bianco says no place does postseason college baseball better than Ole Miss and the people here who put on the event.

…seeing legends around the ballpark, like Boo Ferriss, the former Red Sox great and Delta State head coach who was here last weekend, and Cecil Burford, one of only five who have pitched no-hitters at Ole Miss and who is at a lot of home games.

…knowing that John Grisham has great interest in this series and wondering if he will be here, along with his son, Ty, an Ole Miss law school student and former Virginia baseball player.

…knowing that just beyond Bailey's Woods is Mr. Faulkner's Rowan Oak, and that two institutions he was a part of are meeting on the diamond close to that grand house.

…the fact that so many in this community and this state and beyond have rallied around Ole Miss baseball the past decade and love it.

…that the Ole Miss administration, led by then AD John Shafer and retiring Chancellor Robert Khayat, had the wisdom to choose Mike Bianco as head coach.

...that Pete Boone and city of Oxford officials knew adding onto the stadium and making it the best for college baseball anywhere was the right thing to do.

…when visiting players, coaches, and fans talk about what they've heard concerning the baseball experience at Ole Miss.

…when visiting players, coaches, and fans write back or e-mail or tell others of their great experience at Ole Miss for baseball.

…when teams like Monmouth and Maine are put out of a Regional and then head to the outfield for some good Ole Miss hospitality.

…that this year's team is relaxed and down to earth and playing for each other as a true "team" more than any I've been a part of in 19 seasons covering baseball at Ole Miss.

…watching the fans gesture and move along with the team during songs and other moments throughout the game.

...seeing Semmes Luckett of Clarksdale, supportive of all Ole Miss sports, doing the hand movements with the team above the first base dugout.

…seeing Curtis Wilkie, journalist, teacher, and baseball fan, keeping a scorebook at every game.

…seeing Kevin Mort's grandparents, here for the entire season from California, sitting in their seats down third base so they can get a good look at the Rebels' stellar shortstop.

…seeing Zach Miller move from second to third and play it like he's been there all his life.

…watching Phillip Irwin become a Rebel starter and excel when just a handful of years ago nobody was certain that would be the case because of Tommy John surgery.

…seeing Rory McKean's parents of Montgomery, Ala., at every game, home and away.

…knowing Logan Power and Brett Bukvich are experiencing their fourth Super Regional in five seasons with the program – that's consistency.

…that Brett Basham's folks turned in their big orange to wear red and blue for a time, and maybe for good, or at least splitting colors from now on.

…knowing Scott Bittle will be here, unfortunately in the stands again with his parents, and how badly I feel for them and wish everything good for them in the future.

…that nice guy Jake Morgan has done so well this year, and that even after Sunday night's hiccup, he'll do well again.

…Evan Button's all-out attitude, "play hard and get dirty" he called it a few years ago after a game at LSU; and Jordan Henry's ability to get on and then get home.

…that I'll see J.T. from the ticket office at his gate, like always.

…that fan RussReb will be as nervous and anxious this weekend as if the Rebels were playing State in football for the right to advance to Atlanta (which just might happen in a few months).

…that former players' parents return to watch games, like Sammy Henderson (father of all-time UM hits leader Brad), and Cooper Osteen's Dad and C.J. Ketchum's Dad, all of whom I've seen this season.

…that Barry Arrington and crew will have the best playing field in the country.

…that Bill Bunting of UM athletics media relations will make sure we're taken care of.

…that Ben Garrett, our newest staffer, is video savvy so we can have those for you on our website.

…getting a call to let me know pitcher Michael Park's uncle Mike Park pitched a complete game 9-0 shutout of the Virginia Cavaliers in 1972 NCAA play to help lift Ole Miss to the College World Series.

…knowing my Dad will be in his seat behind home plate, where he's sat since the stadium opened in 1989.

…visiting with Drew Pomeranz's Dad, Mike, Monday night after his son pitched the best game ever at Oxford-University Stadium.

…that we can watch the Bianco family grow from three to five kids since they arrived in 2000 and then watch them all grow up.

…having Nathan Baker let me know he still can't believe my nephew (he's actually talking about my first cousin's son and not my nephew, but I give Nathan a pass) is going to play baseball at Louisville and not at Ole Miss.

…seeing so many former Ole Miss baseball players back in the stadium, like Doyle Bryan, Guy Gatlin, Josh Christian, Dan DeYoung, Glen Morris, Chris Snopek, Dan McShea, Keith Kessinger, Rob Boyd, just to name a few I've seen this year.

…the old Section I gang that has moved over to Section K or L, I think, and how they are so active in their support of the Rebels and how much we all miss Chip (Throw it in the Dirt) Clinton.

…knowing that Ernie Labarge would be proud of the Rebels again this year and working harder than ever to make the Bullpen Club better than ever.

…the way the team moves into the outfield after each game and Hotty Toddys resound from every corner, and the way the players and coaches always stop what they're doing and acknowledge them with a tip of the cap every time.

...that Ole Miss has the best student support in college baseball.

…the pride so many now take in Ole Miss baseball, every season, by supporting and attending and continuing to make this the best place in America for college baseball.

…that in two days, or three, we could be making plans for Omaha for the first time in 37 years.

I hear Nebraska is terrific this time of year. It's high time we found out again.

OM Spirit Top Stories