My phone was busy this morning (Tuesday, May 17) with fans and friends calling me about the line forming outside the Michigan Athletic Ticket Office.
A few had concerns about the deadline for football tickets, and others were just curious as to why everyone was gathering. What they were told was probably unexpected. Today's line was for the Michigan softball season ticket holders as they made their way to the ticket office for their NCAA Regional tickets.
The line formed early, and the people waiting for these tickets were the fans who have appreciated the winning ways of the Wolverine softball team and know this might be the best sports value for the money in the Greater Detroit area.
The stats are easy to recite:
- The 17th consecutive NCAA appearance for Michigan;
- Jordan Taylor is one of -- if not -- the best pitchers in the nation;
- Carol Hutchins has the most wins of any coach in Michigan athletic history;
- The Michigan program was the first softball team east of the Mississippi to win a national title
Still, stats alone don't bring fans to an event. The reason they come is simple: these games are fun.
In today's hectic-paced individual schedule, softball is played in two hours or less. Fans are right on top of the field. They can listen and get a feel for the game. And they are watching the best players in the game go against each other in a double-elimination tournament format.
Once a teams loses two games, it is out.
The site, the sounds and the atmosphere is college athletics at its best. The best reason is the top priced tickets are only $12 for a session.
This is the 10th straight year U-M will host an NCAA Regional. The public sale for the regional tickets begins Wednesday (May 18).
The Michigan action starts Friday night (May 20) when it hosts Western Michigan at 8 p.m. at the Wilpon Softball Complex. Notre Dame and Kentucky kick off the four-team tourney at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday beginning at noon, three games will be played. The NCAA Regional championship game(s) are Sunday starting at 1 p.m.
If you have never attended a U-M softball game, you need to go at least once. And with the weather finally getting better, this would be a great weekend to see for yourself why 2,000-plus fans will be out in force each day to enjoy one of the best collegiate events.