By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
OMAHA, Neb. – Rodney Moore wanted his father to be with him at TD Ameritrade Park to watch their beloved Mississippi State baseball team in the College World Series. Only Rodney could make it, but Lamar Moore will watch from home.
Rodney Moore, who is from Enterprise and lives in Atlanta, told his dad before the season that if MSU made it to Omaha, they were going, too. They’d never been before.
“So he called me after we won the super regional, he said, “I just can’t go. I’m 87 years old, I can’t go,’” Moore said Thursday shortly after stepping off a plane at Eppley Airfield. “I said, well, I’m not going to go. Then after we won Monday night I said, I’m making it happen.”
MSU (50-18) has won its first two games here. If the Bulldogs can beat Oregon State (52-12) in either today’s 2 p.m. game or in a possible rematch on Saturday, then they will advance to the best-of-three championship series for the first time in program history.
This is MSU’s ninth CWS trip and first in six years. It means a lot to the fans to see the team back in Omaha.
“I’ve been following them forever. To see them coming back, that’s why I’m here. It woke me up,” said Leroy Boyd, who lives in Atlanta but is originally from McComb.
MSU brought a good contingent to each of the first two games, a pair of 5-4 wins over Oregon State and Indiana. Even more fans are expected if the Bulldogs reach the championship series.
This kind of excitement hasn’t surrounded an MSU team in a long time, in any sport. Boyd said the last time he was this worked up about State sports was when the men’s basketball team reached the Final Four in 1996. He can only imagine what it would be like for MSU to win its first NCAA title.
“You couldn’t explain it,” Boyd said. “We deserve something.”
Not everyone can be in Omaha, of course, but that doesn’t make the excitement any less palpable. Work has kept Tupelo’s Matthew Kimbrough from attending any of the NCAA tournament games this year, but he’s followed the Bulldogs closely and has been watching the postseason games on television.
“It just gets you excited about your university and gets you excited about all sports, not just baseball, but all sports,” Kimbrough said. “This is why you play the game.
“Most people didn’t think Mississippi State had a chance to make it near as far as we have, but that’s why you play the game.”