I’ve gone to NCAA Baseball Regionals in Tallahassee for years. I started attending them as a student and continue today. It’s just as exciting and fun as ever. This year we were lucky enough to not only watch the Seminoles dominate the weekend, but to have three other really great fan bases. Kudos to the Mississippi State, UAB and Samford fans. They couldn’t have been better. They are educated baseball fans, friendly, intense and they travel extremely well. It was a nice change of pace. Nothing against the usual suspects that usually make it to Tallahassee like Jacksonville or Bethune-Cookman, but this year things felt a little more friendly and a little more fun.
The Samford baseball team was an especially bright spot to watch. First off, they had sharp looking uniforms. While I’m not quite the same level of uniform freak as some of my friends, I am very happy when we get a sharp looking uniform on the field. UAB and Mississippi State get an honorable mention too, for not having anything outlandish or ugly. Samford’s play was the non-Noles highlight for me. They are a talented group that just ran out of steam against the Noles. The Bulldogs eliminated the SEC Champion Mississippi State, which is a nice consolation prize for the end of the season.
I am happy to see the little improvements that FSU makes for the fans. The Big Ass Fans were very helpful in keeping the upper grandstand comfortable. It was hot, especially on Sunday, but it was far better than in previous years. Also, while I did not buy a cold towel, I was pleased to see the vendors giving fans the option of buying a cold pack to cool down. Now if we could just get the M&M’s Ice Cream Sandwiches back…
And what can I say about FSU? Everyone freaked out about our bracket last week, but when I looked at the stats and not the conference championships, I realized that FSU had a great chance to make it through in three straight games. They did it behind good defense, great pitching and one huge grand slam by James Ramsey. Speaking of Ramsey, it seems like every season I think to myself I’d better pay attention to (insert Posey, McGee, etc) because we won’t have another great like this for a while. Ramsey is the latest player to make me feel that, but at the same time we’ve strung so many great players together that I’m ready to find out who our next great is and not worry about Ramsey heading off to MLB.
Oh and one more thing. By far, Robert Benincasa’s intro music as a closer is my favorite. It gets everyone at Dick Howser Stadium out of their seats and clapping. I don’t remember that happening in the past. Bring The Noise!
I fell in love with baseball when I was a little kid. I grew up watching the Mets mainly and my first live game was at Shea Stadium in 1985. Seeing George Foster and John Christensen hit back to back home runs is burned into my memory still. When I arrived at FSU as a student, I saw a really awesome college baseball stadium in addition to the great palace that is Doak Campbell Stadium. Dick Howser Stadium was intimate and had some fantastic views of campus from the 1B side and a beautiful set of pine trees behind the “screen monster” in RF.
Post renovation we lost the pine trees but gained a better view of the FSU Flying High Circus, gained a great scoreboard, better seating and generally better food choices making Dick Howser Stadium a favorite place during a Tallahassee spring. Not only to the Noles win most of the time, but it’s a relaxed but exciting atmosphere between an older crowd and lots of students. It’s a really great mix of people. Oh and I did I mention, we have Big Ass Fans now? We’ll find out over the next two weekends how much they really help the temperature in the sauna that is the stadium.
- Keith Cottrell harassing roommate (and now MLB Braves player) Matt Diaz in RF for inning after inning.
- A particular Florida Gator RF that couldn’t take the constant heckling from fans and eventually was removed from the game.
- Telling the hecklers that the Gator moved to LF for the next game and watching them run to the 3B side.
- A friend of mine dropping his watch.
- Seeing the “giant” new scoreboard and thinking it would be a long time before anybody hit a home run over it.
- Watching it be cleared about two games into the season.
- M&M’s ice cream sandwiches (come on Aramark make a deal and get them back, they’re the perfect food for Regionals).
I posted something similar to this on ScalpEm.com in 2010 as a Fan Primer, but I thought I’d generalize it a bit and update it for 2012.
The 10 Commandments Of A Tallahassee NCAA Baseball Regional For Noles
- Thou shalt bring plenty of sunscreen, towels and dress appropriately, especially in the bleachers, 1B side and (for all early games) rows K and below.
- Thou shalt attend the early game between non-FSU opponents to gauge the other team’s fans and talent.
- Thou shalt be cordial to non-FSU fans when FSU is not playing them. I truly believe the friendliness and smarts of FSU fans helps Tallahassee win bids in borderline years.
- Thou shalt enjoy the newly installed Big Ass Fans in the grandstand, not complain about heat or humidity.
- Thou shalt spend a little money on drinks or food or a souvenir to support FSU.
- Thou shalt plan for weather delays. The lightning detector at Howser goes off with any lightning from here to Omaha, there will be delays.
- Thou shalt practice their Mike Martin “These Young Men” impression if a game gets out of hand on the scoreboard.
- Thou shalt not constantly exit or enter the row while the Noles are playing.
- Thou shalt visit SectionB.com and be ready to help them out with cheers throughout the game.
- Thou shalt have fun win or lose, but especially win!
Tips For Out Of Towners Coming To Tallahassee
If you’re coming in for the Regional, parking around Dick Howser Stadium is plentiful. I prefer the parking garage out by the softball and soccer complex (see map), simply because it buys some shade for the car. If that’s too far of a walk, there’s plenty at Doak, the circus or behind the LF field fence.
There’s plenty of food for between games near the stadium. Pensacola Street, Ocala Road and Tennessee Street are easy targets for you. For some of my favorites though, check out Bagelheads on Apalachee Parkway for breakfast or lunch and grab some grub at La Fiesta, also on Apalachee Parkway.
And seriously, if you’re not used to the heat over prepare for it. Dick Howser Stadium cooks all day long and is just as hot at night. Pray for a breeze and pray the lightning delays don’t last long! And if you’d like the best source for Noles news and updates about the regional, check out Tomahawk Nation.