Friday, December 2, 2022

Beards on the Bayou Make for Crazy Home Field Atmosphere

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Some have beards, some have hairy chests. Photos by Andy Knef

Fans love their teams and cheer them on in all situations.
Over the past two nights, the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team has gone into the deafening surroundings of M.L. “Tigue” Moore field to take on the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in a super regional matchup. Home field advantage takes on a new meaning in the bayou.
Post season play always brings an extra amount of excitement and energy into any baseball game. But it’s not all the time that the smoke and aroma of Andouille and Boudin sausages float down the base lines as women and children in fake black beards heckle the opposing third baseman with cries of “It’s a cuuumen to you, No. 9.”
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There is a rumor that the Ragin’ Cajuns get all their strength from their beards.

Tigue Moore field holds only 3,755 at full capacity, but over the past two games, fans have filled the inside and outside of the cozy all-synthetic field confines to see if their hard-hitting club can punch a ticket to Omaha.
Louisiana’s ball club features a bunch of players with beards that make them most resemble members of the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame. Their fan base has gladly adopted the likeness, and although many male Cajuns sport authentic whiskers, the women folk and kids all appear badly in need of a shave themselves, thanks to their faux-facial hair.
At Tigue, when the Ole Miss fans scream ‘throw it in the dirt,” the only spot on that field where that can possibly occur is on the dirt pitching mound. Everything else in the joint is made out of chemicals. Well, except for the pretty pine trees that line the crazily close outfield fences.
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Their ballgirls wear fake dark beards. Our Diamond Girls are sometimes very blond.

Hey, we’re not being critical in the least. A visitor to Swayze would be taken aback at the constant Hotty Toddy cheers and the beer showers in Right Field.
The point is, this is what college baseball and college athletics in general is all about. The support and love of one’s university and the emotional roller-coaster one rides following every hit, every strikeout and every sport with their team.
In the first game, fans of both schools staged periodic cheering contests, with plenty of (maybe) good natured derision for the opposing player and fans. Life was good for the Ragin’ Cajun faithful on Saturday night with one of those high-powered displays they feast on down in the swamp as greedily as they down pounds of crawfish.
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Braxton Lee only has chin hair so the cajun in the beard is trying to make him drop the ball.

On Sunday night, the tables turned. The Ole Miss bunch had the last laugh and Hotty Toddy as the Rebels came back behind Christian Trent and Preston Overby.
What happens tonight is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain. The bearded Cajuns will be ragin’ all over that tiny ballpark while the Rebel rabble cheer their guts out and pray for their first ticket to Omaha since 1972.
It’s winner-take-all tonight. If you want to see some crazy fan interaction, tune into the 6 p.m. telecast on ESPN2 or listen to the game on the Ole Miss Baseball Radio Network.
Adam Brown Andy Knef cover sports for HottyToddy.com

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