Time For Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks at Plainsman Park
With chilly mornings and frost still on the ground, it’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again. It’s time for the game that has been called “America’s pasttime.” Some might want to debate that label today, but there’s no denying the sport is the nation’s oldest, having been played since 1839.
On the college level, baseball usually comes quickly on the heels of football’s National Signing Day. For many Americans, baseball, like spring, awakens thoughts of new life.
It brings hope and stirs the imagination. After all it is a part of the American fabric. Coming at or near the start of spring, it reminds us of new beginnings, new birth, and a chance to start over.
At the end of last season the Auburn baseball team was left with the feeling of what might have been. The Tigers came within one run and three outs of Auburn’s first trip to the College World Series in over 20 years. It was Auburn’s first trip to a super regional since 1999, and the No .9 Tigers forced a decisive game 3 against No. 1 Florida, coming within one run and three outs of making it to the big show.
In the 11th inning freshman outfielder Steven Williams climbed the right field wall to grab a line drive, but the ball swerved off his glove and over the wall. Within seconds the entire Auburn team rushed to surround and console Williams in right field while Florida dogpiled in the infield, celebrating a 3–2 win.
Still, it was a record-setting season. The Tigers finished at 43–23, won the Raleigh Regional by outscoring its opponents 40–12 and advancedto the second super regional in program history. Yet, it was a disheartening way to end what was the best season on the Plains since Auburn hosted a regional in 2010.
But Friday will start a new day as the Tigers open with a five-day home stand on Hitchcock Field. Fourth-year coach Butch Thompson is optimistic despite losing some key payers, including first round overall draft pick Casey Mize.
He will have a different team with 18 new players on the roster. We expect juniors Will Holland, Davis Daniel, and the four returning freshmen, All-Americans Steven Williams, Tanner Burns, Cody GreenhillEdouard Julien, to lead the way. In addition eight Tigers have been named among the top 10 in their class by Perfect Game.
So after a long off season, it’s time for some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. It’s time for Auburn baseball. Nothing beats sitting in Plainsman Park in the spring with a hot dog and coke, watching the Tigers play.
Even thought the Tigers came up short in their quest to make it to Omaha in 2018, this is a new day, a new season. And that’s what baseball does. It reminds us of new beginnings, new birth, and a second chance. I can’t wait …