The groundhog says winter is just about over. And for MTSU baseball fans, there is no truer sign of spring than the annual Groundhog Day Luncheon. It was held Monday, since Groundhog Day fell on Saturday this year.
Coach Jim McGuire said the team will continue wearing the traditional MTSU cap (right side of above photo), but on Sundays will wear another Blue Raider cap (left side of above photo).
Wayne Groce Railbird Winner
The tradition continued of presenting a Railbird Jacket to an individual who has gone out of their way to support the MTSU baseball program.
Coach McGuire said he looked at the forty-years of special individuals and noticed one person was not listed. He went back a second and third time, to make certain he had not just overlooked the name. It was not there.
McGuire said, "This man is so positive that we rode home together from a game we lost last year. Wayne was telling me the strong-points of the game, how proud he was of the team--by the time we got home, it felt like we won!"
Then this year, he volunteered to help in every way possible: sell tickets, whatever was needed.
The coach noted that WAYNE GROCE attends practice, attends every game, always encouraging, and is always there for Blue Raider baseball. Wayne Groce received a standing ovation as he walked to the front to receive his Railbird jacket.
The Big Question
New Head Baseball Coach Jim McGuire had been a part of the Blue Raider coaching camp for 20-years, but that didn't prepare him for the number one question that fans have been asking for weeks . . .
As you recall, the focus of the Groundhog Luncheon for decades has been a dream that Coach Steve Peterson had about the Blue Raider baseball program.
Just as Coach McGuire was explaining that he never experienced a visit from the furry friend, the giant screen in Murphy Center suddenly displayed a video of Raider the groundhog searching offices for Coach Pete, across the playing field, in the locker room, at the end--the camera zoomed-in for a close-up of Raider and you could hear Coach McGuire assuring him that the dream was alive, but Coach Pete had retired. Suddenly, a huge tear dropped from Raider's eye. At that moment, you could have heard a pin drop in Murphy Center.
Coach McGuire introduced the team, told of exciting new events on this year's calendar--but assured that as we conclude membership in the SunBelt and approach the excitement of Conference USA, that the goal of producing a winning baseball program is still the goal.
Tribute to Coach Pete
There was a standing ovation at the end with a tribute to Number 25. Steve Peterson was head coach for 25-years. He led 25-teams, and over the years wore the number 25 on his jersey. They called Coach Peterson to the front for a tremendous surprise. A key player from each of those twenty-five teams was in the audience and was called forward.
With a huge smile on his face, Coach Pete embraced each one of them.
Blue Raider Sports Voice Chip Walters commented that during some of the game broadcasts, they would be trying to locate the coach. He wasn't anywhere in sight. "Suddenly, you'd see the back of a jersey with a big number 25 on it, and you'd know--there's Coach Pete."
#25 Always Special With Blue Raiders
It's fitting that Murphy Center was packed to thank Coach Steve Peterson for the dreams he has shared each year during this annual event.
Get Your Tickets Now!
The Blue Raiders are gearing up for the start of the season, which opens February 15th-17th as they host Ball State for a three-game series. Season and single game tickets are also now on sale through the ticket office at Floyd Stadium. For more information, call 888-YES-MTSU or head over to goblueraiders.com.
Here's a recording of the entire event:
MTSU's Sports Voice Chip Walters served as the emcee. New Head Baseball Coach Jim McGuire did a great job of "keeping Coach Pete's dream alive."
Here is the entire luncheon . . .