This week’s Fan of the Week is Shannon Lovejoy. Here is her Ole Miss story:
I’ve been an Ole Miss Baseball fan as far back as I can remember. I used to attend games at the old Swayze, where Turner Center parking lot/Hill Drive sits now. Those rickety wooden bleachers? Yeah, we’ve come a long way since then.
My dad took me to my first MLB game in 1977 and taught me how to score it. Nolan Ryan was pitching against the Blue Jays. I fell in love with the game and with the statistical side of it (and with the Ryan Express!). I’ve scored almost every MLB, MiLB and college baseball game I’ve attended ever since. At the start of each Ole Miss Baseball season, I buy a new scorebook. Inside the cover, I tape a roster, a list of the walk-out songs and any notes I had from the previous season of changes I should make to my scoring technique. I’m grateful that Coach Bianco tweets the starting lineup before the game – more time to visit with friends who sit around me. My seat is behind home plate underneath the camera. I’m almost always there, rain or shine, in the freezing cold or sweating hot temps. I rarely sit in the left field lounge because I prefer not to watch the game from that angle. Swayze really doesn’t have a bad seat in the whole stadium but I prefer my seat because I have a good view of the pitcher (my favorite position player). I usually don’t fuss at the umpires…though I’ve occasionally suggested that they check their cell phone for a missed call.
I love the Ladies Baseball Forum. I’ve learned something both years but I especially love the feeling of being part of the Ole Miss Baseball family. This Forum gives a more first-hand and close-up view of the game than the Football Forum (which I also enjoyed). I also *really* love when the coaches and former players sign my scorebooks. This year, Coach Lafferty seemed to get a kick looking at what he did in a 2008 game. I’m very grateful for the time and energy the coaches and Diamond Girls take to put together the Forum and Diamond Club meetings. The Ole Miss Baseball organization seems to want to make the fans feel connected to them and to each other – this is one of the reasons I love Ole Miss Baseball so much.
Occasionally, I ask current active players to sign my scorebook. Every player I have asked, except one, has been drafted by the MLB. I like to pretend I have something to do with that but I know it’s because of Coach Bianco and his staff. Still, it’s a fun thing to brag about at parties.
Swayze is my happy place. I like getting there early to watch batting practice. And I hope to score a game from the Rebel dugout sometime.
Fan of the Week is an initiative of the Ole Miss Year of the Fan. For your chance to be recognized as the Fan of the Week, be sure to submit your fan story by clicking here.