In the storied decades of the Left Field Lounge, one of the more colorful constants from Mississippi State’s outfield grilling paradise is the hot and cold fraternization with opposing outfielders.
Over the course of a weekend, a center fielder gets to know the fans behind the center field wall quite well, with varying levels of respect.
This weekend, with a three-team round robin in Starkville, opportunities for over-the-fence bonding were greater than usual.
Michigan State right fielder Jimmy Pickens, by his last game on Sunday, had developed quite a friendly relationship with the groups of Bulldog fans behind the right field wall.
When Pickens, or “JIMMAYY!!” as his new fans called him, came to the plate in the seventh inning against Eastern Illinois, the Mississippi State fans in right field went wild, yelling his name, ringing cowbells and clapping for their new favorite [other] MSU player.
Trailing in the game by two, Pickens took a colossal swing, sending a pitch over the centerfield wall, a three-RBI go-ahead home run.
His fan club went wild, jumping up and down, clanging their bells and yelling for Jimmy.
As he rounded second base , Pickens offered a salute to the maroon-clad spectators in right field.
The next inning, Pickens jogged back out to his spot, welcomed by yet another cheer.
“Come grab a bite,” one of the fans encouraged Pickens. “You’ve got time.”
Pickens looked back at the mound, then nodded his head as if to say, “Yeah, I could spare a second for something quick.”
Pickens jogged a few feet and took a speared sausage from his fellow MSU people, gobbling down a quick bite before taking his station in right.
After the Spartans finish today, the whole team has been offered to come out right field and get a hot meal.
They’ve accepted the invitation.