It’s time to face the inevitable. I will be sitting in right field this weekend.
“Ruby, this is incredibly disappointing and unbelievable!” readers everywhere exclaim. “How in the name of all that’s good and holy from the Chevron late night menu is this possible?!”
Ok, holy smokes, let’s take this journey together.
Due to COVID cancellations, I missed the majority of my freshman year baseball games. For the ones I did attend, I enjoyed the free student tickets from the empty seats in the stadium seating (There were no SEC games in 2020, remember?). This year, I was able to cover the games for the Daily Mississippian, yet again avoiding the outfield showers from the comfort(?) of the Swayze Field press box.
Right field has always been something I admired from afar. Anytime people from back home ask me about the South, I always bring up “the showers in right field.” The tradition is killer, and I always find myself holding my breath in anticipation every time I think a ball is going over the fence. And each time it does, it’s just as exciting as the first time I saw it. I cannot even imagine what a post-season home run is going to look and feel like. I’m equally thrilled and terrified!
With an Oxford regional this weekend, I snagged the first tickets I could find. The school sent an email about being able to purchase a seven-game book of tickets, but it would ensure my placement in right field. I jumped on it.
Then the uncertainty of voyaging into the unknown hit. Who would I turn to as my de facto Sherpa to climb the Himalayan baseball experience of the Ole Miss right field?
Luckily, I was able to reach out to the Red Cup Faithful for all of the best tips on the ever reliable source for truth and facts... Twitter.
Too hot for a rain jacket... swimwear.— Easily E (@classicjeb) June 3, 2021
This was an interesting tip I hadn’t thought of. Filling the student section up with shirtless frat boys with beer-soaked swimsuits sounds awful, but there is a small part of me that is eager to see the extreme anger this would cause to a few “purist” fan bases. cough cough Arkansas and State
Don’t wear clothes you don’t want to be soaked in beer.— David Robinson (@davidl515) June 2, 2021
Kevin Graham, is this you?
Prior to my time at Ole Miss, college baseball wasn’t something I was overly invested in to be honest. I knew about the College World Series, but my hometown college of UNLV hasn’t once made an appearance. I could have never imagined what college baseball would mean to me now. The atmosphere at Swayze field is unlike anything I've ever seen, especially this year. Every time I start to count Ole Miss out, they rally and make a push to try to win.
The Rebels lost its ace Gunnar Hoglund, and somehow the pitching staff that struggled all year... rallies. Captain, Tim Elko, tears his mf ACL and to the chagrin of all the haters... hits three more home runs. The piano man, John Rhys Plumlee, is hitting a .265 and doing the Dougie every time he gets on base. This team is chippy, capable, annoying, and make the very best TikTok’s (this is somehow important!). Ole Miss baseball is unbelievably fun, and regionals haven’t even started.
One of the very best sporting events I have ever been to was game three vs. Arkansas earlier this season. The Rebels lost, but the squad somehow came back from an 11-run deficit to make it a tie game. Not only was it incredibly exciting, but it also furthered my hatred for the Razorbacks. Yay!
I imagine regionals will be a very similar situation (although hopefully, we don’t go down 11 in the first two innings. I can’t take that again.) That game, and series, were a must-win for both Arkansas and Ole Miss. While I wish the outcome would have been different, I do think it showed the never-quit attitude the Rebels have shown all season. (Every single regional game is a must-win, and each team comes into this with that same attitude.)
We saw in Hoover a surplus of great pitching that typically wasn’t there this season. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Things are starting to click for this team. I hope the bats are hot, and I hope Nikhazy embarrasses everyone. In a perfect world, Ole Miss would easily win out this regional. Where’s the fun in that, though?
I look forward to getting drenched... my staycation forecast is calling for mostly sunny with a high probability of beer showers!
Let’s make it a memorable regional, for those who have been here many times before and for those Rebels like yours truly who will be taking it all in for the first time.