Thursday, February 7, 2008

With LOI Day done, it's officially baseball time!

Before I get to baseball, let me touch briefly on yesterday's recruiting class. If it's not clear yet, Fresno State is beginning to get guys who are ready from day one. Last year gave us a sneak peak of that, and this year the door has been blown off. But the best part, these guys aren't recruited unless they have the Bulldog football mentality, which is what makes it exciting.

February 22, 2008: mark it down. That's the home and season opener for the Diamond Dogs. If you've never been, sorry you've missed out for so long. If you are on the fence, this should get your butt in the seats (the brand new, contoured Bulldog Red ones). And if you are already standing in line, this will only be reinforcement.

Here's why you need to be a part of this:

First is tradition. I've been going to Beiden Field for 22 years. Not much has changed, which is good, because everything that is there is good. The best grounds crew in the biz, a passionate base of vocal, smart (with rare exceptions) fans, the red-clad and legendary yell leader Inman Perkins and of course, the great vacation spot that is Beiden Field. When you go to the games, you are a part of a family. There are familiar faces, Bulldog Baseball bingo and Sugar Bear, the drunkest (yet surprisingly able), loudest, most booming voice man ... well, ever?

Then there is the tradition on the field itself. Taking the field in unison, taking off the batting helmets and slamming them together, fans taking off their hats and waving them in the home run signal, the best umpire taunting around and the reason we all go in the first place, a consistently nationally competitive team that bonds with the fans.

Second is the unique nature of baseball. As great as football, basketball and all the other sports are, nowhere can you feel like you are a million miles away from stress or any of the other daily annoyances like you can at Beiden Field. It genuinely feels like a vacation. It genuinely feels like you are 12. I still dream about running onto that field in a Bulldog uniform. There are so many sights and sounds to take it as well, yet they are subtle enough to please. Let me list a few: ball hitting glove, ball hitting bat, crack of peanuts, music played between innings, music with clever lyrics making fun of the other team, hazing the other team and umpires, the rally claps and more. Then there are the sights and smells, which you have to be there to understand.

And then of course, when you combined this all, and some of which I haven't even touched on, you get some memorable stories. Whether it be a grandfather teaching his grandson the game and connecting like they couldn't anywhere else (and for that matter where people of all ages connect for a few hours, related or not), or maybe it's just the fact that the Bulldogs put together a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to win. If you couldn't tell, I get pretty excited about anything and everything surrounding baseball, especially the Diamond Dogs, hence my struggles to say something in a non-fragment.

Nobody will ever force you to go out to Beiden, but if you don't go, there's no other way around it—it's your loss.

If you have your own stories or want to add some other reasons why Beiden is the place to be, please comment.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! Beiden Field truly is a vacation spot, a way to relax or get loud and rowdy (whatever suits you). And best of all is the Diamond 'Dogs amazing tradition and team atmosphere.

    I'll never forget the time my dad won an essay-writing contest hosted by a radio station that allowed the winning father's son to throw out the first pitch at a game (heck, I still have the video). Going on the field and warming up with the team's stars and then tossing that ball to Todd Johnson, an All-American catcher later drafted by the Tigers...priceless!

    The PERFECT family outing...Fresno State baseball!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.