The smell of fresh pit bbq, the cheers of enthusiastic fans on trucks and wooden rigs in the Left Field Lounge, the sight of a freshly groomed baseball diamond. Then I heard it, a chorus of painted maroon and white cowbells with the only sound that they can make: CLANGA. It is baseball season.
James Dignan, a MSU Junior told me that he has been watching the Dawgs since he was 5 years old growing up in Tupelo. "There's a certain tingle you get when you get to Dudy Noble. All of the history and tradition that has been on this field," said Dignan. "You gotta take it all in. Nab a foul ball, chat with the players, and just have a great experience. This is not just a tradition. MSU Baseball is a family."
From walking through the gates, you can see all of the accomplishments the Diamond Dawgs have put on throughout the years.
Kevin Jacobs has been going to games over 35 years. "The best experience I can remember is watching Rafael Palmeiro and Will Clark in the 80s. Those guys changed the face of college baseball," said Jacobs.
He also loves the atmosphere at Dudy Noble, especially at the Left Field Lounge. "Hanging out with my buddies every season in the lounge and just escaping outside of reality for once. That is what the Dude can do."
Visitors to the Dude cannot miss the Left Field Lounge. The hundreds of Mississippians eating pulled pork, having fun and screaming to the opposing outfielders are very similar to the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium. They bring a special advantage to the Diamond Dawgs that very few teams in the NCAA have: a real home-field advantage.
It's a home field advantage that provides a home for MSU fans and students, alike. Generations of families watching the game in the bleachers while the father teaches his son the fundamentals of baseball. A high school baseball team driving a couple of hours on the weekend for a double header to learn how to improve. A group of fraternity brothers cheering on the team with a raucous parade of cowbells.
Now that's what I call baseball. Fun for families, college students and in between. It's a place that everyone can call home for a few months during the year and enjoy a classic good time at the game. I can't wait to go back.