It's that time of year again and we at the Cup are here to run you through the alphabetical things that will make this Ole Miss baseball season special.
A is for America's pastime - While baseball may play second fiddle to football in the South, there's something special about casually watching the slowest of the big three sports. I don't know about you, but while I'm watching or attending an intensely close Ole Miss football/basketball game, my blood pressure allows no time for idle chit chat. With baseball, you can take your time to perfectly pour that next brewski between pitches. Some may argue that the lack of "action" in baseball is what's causing its decline in popularity, but I'd counter that the sport is just different in person, especially while in attendance at the greatest college baseball atmosphere in the country.
A is also for alcohol: you can drink it (or toss it) to your heart's content!
B is for Brady Bramlett - The team's previous Sunday starter, National Anthem vocalist and all-around perfect citizen is taking to the mound this season as the Friday night starter. I'm personally a little anxious to see Brady switch to this role. The way I see it, I imagine pitchers as the basket-case of the sport, coming in and out of ruts like a mule plowing a soppy soaked Mississippi Delta field. I expect Bramlett to give us a great shot for a W leading into every weekend series.
C is for Colby Bortles - The big stick of this season returns to 3B and looks to increase his role as the replacement to Sikes. Colby undoubtedly has the power, but I'm hoping to see him improve his overall average to above the .300 mark. I think he plays a key part in the success of the Rebel squad as long as he can rack up 40-plus RBI and boost his homer total to double digits.
D is for Dingers - Dapper dudes dickslappin dingers indulge me into doing drunken deeds like dancing, dabbing and dousing others with double-fist deluges.
E is for Errol Robinson - Errol was recently named the top shortstop in the country by D1 Baseball and stands as the squad's only pre-season All-American. Look for him stay consistent in the infield and hopefully increase his average after another year in the team's stellar strength and development system.
F is for Fire Bianco - Something that will surely be said somewhere on the intertubes after the Rebs suffer their first loss of the season. I think the only way Bianco gets fired is if we completely miss out on a regional, followed or preceded by a low seed in a regional. Some people may not like his coaching style, but with another great recruiting class in the works and plans for new renovations that will only continue to draw in talent, the ole Head Mound-Waddler isn't going anywhere.
G is for Grillin' and Chillin' - Something I'll be doing in the left field terrace every home game. Look for grillin' ideas and tips throughout the season.
H is for Hot dogs - Whether or not this delicious delicacy is a sandwich is still up for debate (and an easy way to get people's jimmies russled around this here RCR DOT COM). However, nothing beats a grilled weiner with mustard and relish at the ballpark. If you are fortunate enough to be around during a midweek game, be sure to bring all your singles so you can make it rain for $1 hot dog night.
I is for 'I love tater tots' - Have you had the BBQ totchos at Lamar Lounge? A highly-touted baseball croot turned me onto them and he goes by the name of Tater Tot Blackman. While he may not know (nor particularly think highly) of this nickname, the color of tater tots matches the hue of his scruff on his chinny chin chin to the T. While Tate's inaugural season might have been underwhelming, he came into his own towards the season's end. With talk about a great fall and strong bat during scrimmages, I expect Tate to live up to the hype he had coming into the program.
J is for J.B. Woodman - J.B. is back locking up the center field position and more than likely batting in the heart of the lineup. With a great eye at the plate and the best on-base percentage among returning starters, he'll play a crucial role as one of the team's veterans.
K is for Kissing Booth - In attempts to bring more female co-eds to the ballpark and make Right Field more family friendly, the Ole Miss Athletic Department plans to add the "Sikes Stache Kissing Booth" in the Right Field terrace. The stand features a fuzzy caterpillar duct taped to a paper cut out of Sikes's face in order to make the experience as realistic as possible. The booth costs one shot of whiskey and two strips of bacon so come prepared. I expect the line to wrap around the stadium by the second inning.
L is for Love is Gone - If this song doesn't hold a special place in your heart even after attending only one Ole Miss baseball game, you're doing this whole Swayze Crazy thing all wrong. Stand up, pump your first, then pump it up and down, and dance like a crazy when the beat drops. Do your part, it ain't hard.
M is for Miller Lite - When I'm not splurging on a growler of craft beer, Miller Lite is my cheap go-to. At $4.99 for a six pack of tallboys, nothing washes down hot dogs and crawfish better than Miller.
N is for Nebraska, Omaha - The end destination goal. As someone that went back in 2014, whenever this club makes it again, be sure to make the trip.
O is for "One more beer" - If you hear this chant coming from Right Field, you can bet that a) some underaged freshman is earning his stripes for his first baseball season or b) some seasoned veteran is establishing his dominance over his Keystone minions.
P is for Pitching staff - There are lots of questions here and I think most of them will be answered after the first month. I'd expect there to be a lot of experimentation going on in the bullpen as Bianco tries to sort through his plethora of freshmen pitchers.
Q is for Quiet pre-season ranking - The Rebs are either barely in some of the national prognosticator preseason polls or completely absent all together. This is especially confusing to me considering we are returning almost all of our starting lineup. At the same time, pre- and mid-season rankings and regional projections are practically impossible to gauge. We'll get a better idea of how good this team is when they welcome preseason No. 2 Louisville during the second weekend of the season.
R is for Renovations - It's hard to believe that Swayze is scheduled to undergo another round of major renovations when it seems like only yesterday people were cutting off the back legs of lawn chairs and posting up on the hilly berms down the third-base line. We have one of the highest season attendance numbers and a stadium that doesn't seem to need much more, but you only have to travel to Baton Rouge, Alabama or Arkansas to realize these renovations are merely keepin' up with the Joneses.
S is for Showers - Bring your bath kit and conditioner in order to scrub off all the cheap booze raining down upon you in Right Field. This is probably the most important tradition at Swayze and sets us apart from those other places that think throwing beer in the air is silly and mundane.
T is for "Throw it in the dirt!" - Yell it loud and yell it proud every time an opposing pitcher gets in a bind. Then, when the batter slaps that weak ass high fastball for a grounder up the middle, be sure to remind the opposing team's right fielder about how all the fault rests on his cheap slut sister who you finely wined and dined not but a fortnight ago.
U is for Umps - Whether the Rebs are up by eleventy seven or it's the bottom of the ninth and there's no chance of coming back, everything the umps ever call against the Rebs is complete horseshit and an unforgivable sin in the eyes of every chubby man that has ever waited until the last second to make a called strike signal.
V is for Veteran line up - Golsan, Woodman, Bortles, Robinson, Blackman... all of these names should ring a bell. Bianco has already confirmed that every starter this weekend will be a returner from last year's squad.
W is for Warm up ball - Bring a writing utensil and your sharpest wit because Woodman and Cloyd will need some entertainment between innings. Extra points if you're able to set up a multiple choice poll for the outfielders to answer by holding up fingers. Whether or not Cloyd prefers to sleep on 500 thread count sheets or in 500 thread count boxers is important information to which all of the students in RF must know the answer.
X is for X-Ray - Because you didn't need an X-Ray to see that Brian Walker's elbow wasn't injured what-so-ever when he pulled that Oscar-nominated performance back in the day. This video will never stop bringing me joy. Can't wait to host Arkansas this year.
Y is for Yellow Cup - Will this be THE year? I've heard Yellow Cup has undergone some serious training in hopes of even finishing in second place this season. LOLNOPE
Z is for Zzzzzz's - AKA the sound I'll be omitting as I'm passed out from sun fatigue and being stuffed with grilled meat and Miller Lite.
Come with a cooler loaded with beer and a voice ready for heckling as the Rebs kick off opening day. See y'all at Swayze!