If you’re anything like me (or maybe, if you’re as crazy as me), then you’ve been counting down the days until baseball starts again. Like, you know you have a problem when you’re gleefully awaiting the first spring training game of the season! But do you realize that you actually CAN watch live baseball in Fresno already?
I’m not talking about the Grizzlies, although I can’t wait for their return, either – but their season doesn’t start until April with the rest of pro ball. I’m talking about a team you may have forgotten about or overlooked in recent years: the Fresno State Bulldogs!
Our college baseball team is famous for winning the College World Series back in 2008. I had just graduated from Fresno State and was interning at the Fresno Bee at the time. It was so fun to help work on coverage for the series, and even better to see the way the city rallied around the team and celebrated the victory.
In the years since, as inevitably happens, public interest in Fresno State baseball has waned a bit. But the team has always been there, playing away, making the playoffs again a few more times, though not in recent years. That may change this season. The Bulldogs started their season a couple of weeks ago. As of the writing of this blog Tuesday afternoon, they are undefeated at 8-0. It’s their best start since 1975, when full records started being kept. In other words, this team is good, and you should check them out!
One of the advantages of going to a game at Beiden Field, of course, is that you get to watch live baseball two months earlier than you could otherwise. But there are lots of other really awesome things about Fresno State baseball games. First of all, parking is free, tickets start at only $5, and there’s not a bad seat in the house in the intimate yet modern stadium. It’s one of my favorite kinds of atmospheres to experience baseball, because you know that, unlike at a professional event, the majority of the people in attendance are there because they really enjoy the game.
Perhaps weirdly, one of the things I love most about Bulldog games is the food. I’ve always been a sucker for a simple, freshly-grilled burger, and Pardini’s, which does all of the grub at Beiden Field, makes a mean one. They have a grill out on the concourse where they cook the burgers, along with other delicious things like chicken sandwiches and sausages. They’re even doing clam chowder and fish on Fridays for those who are observing Lent! Oh, and if you get cold during a night game, I definitely recommend the hot chocolate!
The other thing you should be sure to do is grab some bingo cards from staffers on your way to your seats. Bingo??? Yes, baseball bingo! It’s something that, for me, is synonymous with Fresno State baseball games. Almost every play by the home team is assigned a number in the program (i.e. shortstop hitting a flyout is B3) and the announcer calls out the numbers. Prizes aren’t anything huge, but it adds an extra element of fun to the game, especially for those of us who are uber-competitive! (Sadly, I have never won!)
These are just a few of the reasons, in my opinion, that you should check out a game at Beiden Field this season! The Bulldogs will be back for their next homestand on March 15th. Tickets can be purchased online here or in person at the ticket booth before the game.
Oh and I’d like to give a shoutout to the Fresno State softball team as well, as they are having an amazing season across the street! You can find out more information about those amazing ladies here. Go Bulldog sports in general! 🙂
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