The Georgia and Georgia Tech baseball teams wrapped up their three-game series season Tuesday night at Turner Field.
But did anyone really notice? Probably not.
And that’s a shame.
The games in that series, one at Foley Field, one at Russ Chandler Stadium and one at Turner Field, always kind of sneak up on us as sports fans in this state. And that’s because these teams are doing it wrong. Not playing baseball, mind you, although both baseball programs certainly have hit a bit of a lull lately.
The schedule is a problem. It’s a disaster. Each season, the games in this series are spread out through the season. This year, the first game was played April 12 on Georgia Tech’s campus, followed by an April 26 game in Athens before wrapping up Tuesday night with a 6-3 Georgia Tech win in front of a large crowd at Turner Field.
But again, did anyone really know? Unless you’re a diehard Georgia or Georgia Tech fan and were at the game, the problem is no. With the games separated by a couple of weeks each time, it’s hard to know they’re coming, but that could be fixed easily.
We need to just look one state to our east for an easy answer.
Clemson and South Carolina have the best college baseball rivalry in the country. Granted, both programs have become national powers with Clemson traditionally being one of the country’s best and South Carolina building a powerhouse with two recent national titles and another strong team this season. That certainly helps make their games memorable and exciting, and those games are played in front of packed houses. They’re as close to must-see baseball games as there are on the college level.
That series has been pushed to another level because of its schedule. In recent years, the Tigers and Gamecocks have played a weekend series, one game in Clemson, one game in South Carolina and one game at a neutral site (most recently Greenville). The series is played early in the season before fans get overwhelmed by everything else that is on the sports calendar, and this year, the two teams played during the first week of March, jump-starting the season for both programs with plenty excitement.
Georgia and Georgia Tech should follow that lead, playing all three games early in the season on one weekend to generate some excitement within their programs. Yes, there was a big crowd at Tuesday’s game, and there were solid crowds at the games played on campus, but something has to make this series special, make it stand out.
If not, the Bulldogs-Yellow Jackets games will continue to get lost in the shuffle.