COLUMN: Don’t overlook tonight’s Vandy game, baseball fans

Zach Greenwell

UPDATE, 11:20 a.m., on April 26, 2011 — WKU’s game against Vanderbilt has been postponed until 4 p.m. Wednesday because of weather, according to media relations.

I realize most of you still have a baseball hangover from last week’s game against Kentucky at Bowling Green Ballpark.

It was the first game most had been to all year long, and it was more about the crowd and the cheap beer than it was the quality of the teams.

That’s understandable. Baseball’s not for everyone on a regular basis.   

But if there’s another game this year that deserves an even better atmosphere than last Tuesday, it’s tonight at Nick Denes Field.

WKU will host Vanderbilt, ranked No. 2 in the country.

Simply put, this Vanderbilt team that’s coming to town is a whole lot better than Kentucky, which currently has a losing record.

Now, the Toppers won’t be able to squeeze more than 5,000 people into the Nick. But the place can hold more than 1,500, and there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be full tonight.

If a top-10 team in basketball or football came to Bowling Green, everyone would be up in arms. I realize it’s a poor comparison, given interest in the sports and length of seasons, but that doesn’t mean tonight’s game isn’t a big deal.

Midweek non-conference games aren’t as important as league games in college baseball. The Toppers would gladly sell tonight’s game away to claim some of the wins they let slip by last weekend at Sun Belt-leading Troy.

But for a team that needs to claw and scratch its way up the RPI rankings, a chance to knock off the No. 2 team in the nation is a good opportunity.

WKU nearly beat Vanderbilt in Nashville earlier this season when the Commodores were ranked second, but fell 6-5 after a late meltdown and weird finish.

So come out and see if the Toppers can seal the deal this time.

For those that don’t frequent games at the Nick, come spend the night on the first-base deck and see if you have a good time. If you were able to enjoy yourself while worming your way through the lines downtown, it’s likely you’ll enjoy the laid-back atmosphere on campus.

The beer may be a little more expensive at the Nick, but many don’t even remember when that wasn’t the case. Dollar Beer Night, we hardly knew ye.

But that’s a rant for another column. And really, coming to tonight’s came shouldn’t be about that.

Getting droves of people to come to Bowling Green Ballpark to watch Louisville and Kentucky is nice, but the next step in the progression of WKU is to regularly get a nice chunk of those fans into the seats at the Nick.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork said it best last week when he called games downtown a “novelty” — in a good way.

But support for the program shouldn’t be just a one-night novelty.

It seems a large portion of the crowds downtown come because they don’t want to miss something big.

Tonight’s venue may not be as grand as last week’s, but the game should be every bit as special.