The M-State Rebels: Here we go again. . .
Well, at least the College World Series souvenir T-shirts didn’t say “Land Mass State Rebels.”
You’ve probably seen or heard by now that Mississippi State fans at the souvenir stands in Omaha Friday were greeted with T-shirts that said: “Mississippi State Rebels.” One newspaper website referred to the mistake as a “typo.” Typo? Folks that’s not a typo. That’s a freaking blunder.
And I knew what I had to do when I heard about it. I had to call former Mississippi State basketball coach Richard Williams, who took the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1996.
State stunned both UConn and Cincinnati in back to back games at Lexington, Ky., to qualify for a first-ever Final Four. And then the players were rewarded with Final Four baseball caps that said “Mississippi” instead of “Mississippi State” — Mississippi as in Ole Miss.
So I called Richard and told him about the World Series T-shirts and his reaction was priceless.
“No, no way,” he said. “You are s—ing me. Not again. That just chaps my (backside).
“I mean how hard is it? The colors aren’t the same. The mascots are different. Why doesn’t this ever happen with Michigan and Michigan State? No it’s always the Mississippi teams.”
ESPN errs constantly on State and Ole Miss. On Sportscenter, the Rebels are often the Bulldogs and the Bulldogs are often the Rebels. TV announcers referred to Southern Miss as the Bulldogs when the Golden Eagles played Nebraska last fall.
It just happens over and over and over and over
Our teams are the Rodney Dangerfields of the college sports world. No matter what they achieve — and Mississippi State’s Diamond Dogs have achieved plenty this season — people can’t get the name right.
My buddy, Judge Ed Ellington, knows this is one of my pet peeves. He saw a cap in a North Mississippi convenience store a few months ago and immediately bought it for me. On the front, it says Ole Miss. On the back it says Bulldogs.
Judge asked the store proprietor if he had them specially ordered.
“No,” he said, “the manufacturer just screwed up the order and I decided to keep them. They’re selling pretty good.”
The kicker: Those caps were black and gold.
It’s not just sports.
Was it CNN or The Weather Channel that referred to Mississippi as “that landmass between New Orleans and Mobile.”
It was probably both.
Williams got a lot of mileage out of it back in 1996.
All during first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Williams kept getting asked about the lack of respect his team was receiving nationally.
“Writers and announcers kept saying I was thin-skinned about it,” he said. “Heck, I never brought it up. People kept asking me about the lack of respect we were getting and I just answered their questions. Nobody ever prints the question.”
In the press conference after the biggest victory in Mississippi State basketball history and after his team was awarded with caps that said “Mississippi,” Williams didn’t wait for the question to be asked.
No, he simply held up one of the caps for all to see and said, “And y’all wonder why I don’t think we get much respect….”
Support your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum here.