During my final year living in Oxford, I made it to all but three of the home baseball games that season. The midweek games were my favorite: my brother and I would load up the cooler with whatever we felt like grilling for dinner that night, snag a bottle of cheap whiskey and hike on over to Swayze.
But then my parents told me I had to "get a job" and "support myself" and "stop getting hammered on Tuesday nights," so I moved out of Oxford. That means I, like most of you folks*, have to pick and choose my baseball trips carefully these days. To help you do so, we put together a quick guide for the best games and series of 2016. Get your calendars marked, folks, it's baseball season.
* If you still live in Oxford, you don't need this guide and I hate you.
Feb. 19-21 vs. FIU
Opening weekend starts this Friday. Florida International isn't necessarily a walkover either: they have some dangerous pitching potential and are picked by D1 Baseball to finish fourth in Conference USA.
Feb. 26-28 vs. Louisville
The Rebs have faced Louisville a couple times in two-game midweek matches over the past few years, but this season it's a full-blown weekend series in Oxford. The Cards were an 11th-inning game away from Omaha last year and come into 2016 ranked No. 2 in the country.
March 24-26 vs. South Carolina
The first SEC series at home comes on a Thursday-Saturday series against the preseason No. 17 Gamecocks. If you've skipped the weekends above waiting for things to warm up, here's your opportunity to pop that shirt off and catch your first sunburn of the spring.
March 30 at Memphis
The next three on the list are all on the road within one week of each other. Start your trip off right by catching the game at AutoZone Park and spending the rest of your Wednesday night boozin on Beale Street.
April 1-3 at Mississippi State
Remember when the Rebs mounted a five-run, two-out rally to sweep State in Oxford last season? Yea, that was pretty fucking cool. The series shifts back to Starkville, where the Grinders enter the season at No. 15.
April 5 vs. Southern Miss in Pearl
Here's an easy Tuesday night trip for you Jackson folks. The only downside? Ole Miss has roughly the equivalent success rate against USM in Pearl as Houston Nutt has against the correct pronunciation of three-syllable names.
April 15-17 at Alabama
It'll be worth the drive to check out the newly renovated stadium in Tuscaloosa. It ain't Swayze, but this place looks pretty sick.
April 22-24 vs. Auburn
Here's one you'll want to make for sure. For the first time in years, Oxford did us the favor of scheduling Double Decker on a home baseball weekend. Oh and fuck Auburn.
April 26 vs. Mississippi State in Pearl
Assuming Steve Robertson hasn't yet brought that damn cheating Northern Miss athletic department to its knees, of course.
April 28-30 vs. LSU
Another televised Thursday-Saturday tilt. I don't need to tell you why you should come to this series.
May 12-14 vs. Kentucky
Here's your last chance to catch the Rebs at Swayze
before we host that regional in 2016. You'll probably be in Oxford anyway for your nephew's/neighbor's kid's/cousin's/little sister's graduation, so you might as well relive the glory days by getting hammered in the outfield. Again, this one starts on Thursday.