Friday, April 10, 2009

Final Four Friday - Spring Sports Spectaculars

We're beginning a new tradition here at TOSSS by rolling out a recurring feature we're calling Final Four Friday. Each Friday we'll take a look at the top four of various and sundry MSU venues, traditions, experiences and memories.

The entire feature is wholly subjective and purely for fun. This week, in honor of the warm temperatures that have enveloped most of the United States, we'll take a peek at the Final Four MSU spring sports events. In alphabetical order...

Crosstown Showdown

This is the third year of the baseball matchup between MSU and the Lansing Lugnuts, the class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The game is held Oldsmobile Park, which seats more than 12,000 - and every seat is filled. Oh, and did I mention it's on a Thirsty Thursday, when tap beers (including Molson and Labatt) are just $2? Admission, or "cover", as some over-21s call it, is as low as $7 for the cheap seats. Even though MSU is 0-2, keeping it close twice in this event has probably done more for casual fan support of Spartan baseball than anything else.

Munn Field "mudball"

Sure, the spring thaw brings out the folks with the frisbees, cornhole and other tailgate games. But nothing beats the south campus tradition of heading to Munn field and playing a game of full-contact tackle football. Sure, receivers have to dodge ice on the field, defensive blitzers who miss the QB have to keep running to avoid slipping and it's hard to tell who's on which team because those who played in white shirts and those who played in darks are both coated in mud by the second possession. But you've got the rest of the summer to play in perfect weather.


Technically it's known as the "final exam" of MSU's beginning sailing classes, but how cool is this test? Head out to the lake and, well, go sailing. If you keep a positive attitude and don't crash the boat, you pull a 4.0. Plus, it's a day on the lake. For some classes, there's an overnight portion, where you get on the boat on a Saturday afternoon and leave Sunday mid-morning. Slightly better than a blue book, no?

Spring Football Game

You didn't honestly think this list would be complete without spring football, did you? It will have been almost a full six months from the last home tailgate, the last kickoff, the last touchdown. That ends the last Saturday in April with the Spring football game. It's a great time for the about 20,000 fans who file in for the free look at MSU's returning stars. There's nothing like football on the banks of the Red Cedar, and this is the perfect taste to whet one's appetite until September.

And the winner is... The Crosstown Showdown.

If the should-be annual MSU athletics tent sale actually did precede each spring football, this might be a different story. But spring is made for baseball. And it's not just any old game, we're talking about a sold out crowd at the best single-A baseball stadium in America. The grass is green, the beer is cold and, best of all, even the most remote Spartans - like me - can see it in high definition thanks to the Big Ten Network.

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