From where I sit, the excitement level for South Carolina Baseball this year is more than the usual “through the roof” level. I usually only have to fill in to work a few baseball games per year, so like most of you, I sit in the seats at Founders Park with my son and watch the show.
As a fan, here are the top 10 things I’m looking forward to about the upcoming season, in no particular order:
- Founders Park. I’m biased, but I don’t know if there is a better place to watch a baseball game at any level. Every seat is a good view, and I love that you can circle the entire field on the concourse and still see the game while you’re chasing your kids or hitting the concession stand.
- Ethan Petry. The sophomore outfielder is back after leading the Gamecocks in batting average, home runs, and RBI as a freshman last year. What does he do for an encore?
- SEC play. The best and worst part about SEC baseball is that every team is good enough to beat your team, regardless of their ranking. In addition to the greats wearing garnet and black, there are normally future Major Leaguers in the opposing dugout every weekend as well.
- Cole Messina. The junior catcher had a break-through season last year and is certainly one of the leaders of this team.
- Foul balls. What’s better than seeing a kid come home with a souvenir? My son has been fortunate to get a dozen or so balls over the years, and he’s even given some away to younger kids in our area (without me prompting him). The joy of taking a ball home from the ballpark is uniquely wonderful, no matter how old you are.
- Gavin Casas. The senior first baseman was a huge addition last year for the Gamecocks. I’m told he’s in even better shape this year.
- Walk up songs. Sometimes I have no idea what the song is, especially if it’s any music that was created this century. I do love it when a player goes outside the box with his music selection, especially if it’s an adult-contemporary classic from the 1970s or a great “hair band” piece from the 1980s.
- Evan Stone. The junior outfielder covers so much ground and routinely takes away opponents hits in the gap. I’ve heard someone say that 71 percent of the earth is covered in water…. the rest is covered by Evan Stone. Gotta love the hustle!
- Tyler Causey. The senior transfer from the University of North Carolina suffered several injuries that limited his collegiate baseball career and was even out of baseball for a year. He grew up cheering for the Gamecocks. Let’s hope the baseball “gods” smile on him with good health and maybe a walk-off hit at Founders Park at some point this year.
- Ballpark food. Hot dog and a hot pretzel, please. Mustard for both. Thank you. Oh, and Dippin’ Dots for my son.
How about you? What are you looking forward to the most about the 2024 college baseball season? Hit me on X (the thing we used to call Twitter) @SCBrad92.
Go Gamecocks! Check out more “From Where I Sit” columns here.