Major League Baseball's continued lockout and cancellation of games have fans in a mood. Many have said that it has changed their perception of the sport and game for good. I get the frustration, but why not support College Baseball, specifically area programs instead?

If you haven't yet realized or heard, College Baseball is pretty awesome. There is a ton of parity at the top, and the postseason format is inclusive and electric. In fact, there hasn't been a back-to-back champion since 2010-2011 (South Carolina).

To be honest, watching the College World Series in Omaha, it's home since 1950, is on my bucket list as a sports fan.

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College World Series - Michigan v Vanderbilt - Game One
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There are a ton of area programs to root for, including bigger schools nearby like Nebraska and Minnesota, but there are a few programs within an hour of Sioux Falls to cheer on.

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits highlight the DI area programs, but Augustana and USF both have programs to offer as well.

So far this season, SDSU has posted a mark of 2-6, and will play four games between today and Sunday against Central Arkansas on the road. The next home game for the Jacks will be Tuesday, April 5th against Dakota Wesleyan.

2021 NCAA Division I Men's Baseball Championship
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Augustana is off to a strong start at 4-1 overall, and they're in Florida this weekend for the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic with 4 games between today and Monday. They return home to face Knox College on Wednesday, March 9th.

As for USF, the Cougars are 5-3 currently and will be in Florida for Tournaments next Wednesday through Sunday for their next action. The next time Cougar Baseball will be at home will be Saturday, March 19th for a doubleheader against Minnesota Crookston.

College World Series - Arkansas v Oregon State - Game Three
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Again, it's always best to look for a positive in a tough situation similar to what is going on with Major League Baseball. This time around, maybe use the stoppage as a chance to learn and support College Baseball programs near and far.

Source: Wikipedia

Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots

The college football experience is an ultimate high for football fans and it takes several other teams to make that happen week after week during the season.
Just think about what goes into gameday? First and foremost, the players and coaching staff who put in hours and hours of practice and training to play in front of their fans. Then there's field prep, game officials, live broadcasts, concessions, and on-the-field entertainment. Yep, entertainment.

Second to the game, who do you watch? The cheerleaders? The band at halftime? What about the mascot? That's a job not many people can do.
I asked Sioux Falls native and former Cagey mascot for the Sioux Falls Canaries and Little Red & Herbie for the Nebraska Huskers Nate Welch about being a mascot:

  • What does it take to be a mascot?
  • "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
  • Why does the mascot never talk?
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
  • Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
  • "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."

Nate Welch has moved on from his days as a mascot to Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company in Vermillion, South Dakota.

So, can you name the mascots at our South Dakota Colleges and Universities? Check out the gallery below:

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