Is Mississippi a Baseball State?

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During Justin’s podcast last week he was interviewing Brad Logan who made an interesting remark – that Mississippi was a baseball state. It’s something I’ve never really thought about, but considering both MSU and Ole Miss have had a lot of success in the sport could it be true?

There are football states like Alabama, Florida, Texas and Georgia, then there are basketball states like North Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky and Kansas.

So my first thought is no – there is not a single school in America that plays Division I football or basketball who could make this claim….let alone an entire state. But there is evidence that would suggest Mississippi could and perhaps should be a baseball state.

Ole Miss is in the College World Series this year. MSU was there last year and nearly won it all. Southern Miss was in Omaha in 2009. For three schools to make college baseball’s pinnacle within just six seasons in a state with the 31st highest population in the United States is pretty remarkable.

Considering neither OM or MSU have won 10 football games in a season within the last 10 years and Southern Miss’ big time 12-2 season ended in the Hawaii Bowl there hasn’t been much on the gridiron.

In basketball, none of these three schools have made the Sweet 16 in the last decade either.

But in baseball, the state of Mississippi is a national player. Near the top of the best college baseball conference (SEC) and making trips to Omaha.

In April of this year the largest on-campus crowd in college baseball history witnessed Mississippi State play Ole Miss at Dudy Noble Field. Both DNF and Swayze Field are recognized as a top 5 atmosphere in the college game.

So….is Mississippi a baseball state?

Close, but not quite.

The fans in Mississippi definitely give baseball the treatment it deserves. Games are well-attended and the programs are solid. But football still rules the roost. After making a thrilling run to the CWS finals last year, a week later nearly all MSU fans’ focus was on football. Fall baseball practice did get some more attention than usual, but it’s not like at Kentucky where a basketball practice in October is bigger cause for excitement than the football game that day.

If there was such a thing as a baseball state, Mississippi is as close to it as possible. But there is no such thing. Football is king, and it should be a great ride this fall in the Magnolia state as both programs try to prove why this is a football state.