It all started as a casual day at home. I was doing some paperwork and catching up on some TV when Mike called. He wanted to know if I would like to attend the Minute Maid Park 2005 College Classic – a six-team tournament featuring some of the top 25 teams in college baseball. Baylor, Tennessee, UH, Rice, A&M and Oklahoma State made up the teams. The event started yesterday and finished up today.

Overall, it is a pretty darn good entertainment value as you pay $12 to get in and watch all of the games of the day. There were three games today and we got there in time for the start of the second one featuring Rice vs. Baylor. Both teams were undefeated in the tournament so this turned out to be for the championship. The first game saw some pretty great action although Rice was unable to turn hits into runs. Baylor took the win and their fans were overjoyed as this marks a major step for their baseball program.

In the second game, it was the University of Houston against Texas A&M. The Aggies definitely had the edge in terms of spirit for most of the game, but like Rice, left most of their hitters stranded. In the end, as UH’s lead grew, the noise level from their side of the park did as well. I brought the camera and took nearly 300 pictures. I was experimenting with speed versus light settings to try and get the best action shots possible. I have some pretty decent results, but it would have been much easier if the game were played in full sun. I will be posting some of the shots on and notifying the teams involved that they are available… who knows – maybe I will recoup some of the cost of going to the games through picture sales.

Whether I make any sales or not really wasn’t the point of the outing… it was a lot of fun regardless. There is just something about the college atmosphere that makes the games more electric. Mike pointed out and I agreed that these guys just seem to care more about the game than the pros. At the end of the innings… the guys in the outfield ‘sprint’ back to the dugout. We’re not talking about jogging in like the pros – these guys look like the game is riding on how fast they get on and off the field. Also, the fans are sooo much different. Mike suggested it was a ‘different class of fans’ and to an extent I believe it. These folks are not the blue-collar-come-to-the-game-to-get-wasted-and-shout-obscenities crowd. They are there to support their children, their college and their community. It does make for a very different atmosphere. The bottom line is that if you want to enjoy sports – go to a college game… forget about the spoiled millionaires in the pro games.