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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Conjuring Olsen Magic

The+student+section+at+Blue+Bell+Park+celebrates+a+Logan+Foster+RBI+with+bubbles+during+the+fifth+inning.
Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

The student section at Blue Bell Park celebrates a Logan Foster RBI with bubbles during the fifth inning.

On April 16, 1989, the Texas A&M baseball team hosted a doubleheader against the University of Texas. The Aggies lost the first game in the series the night before and were seeking their first win of the series over the Longhorns. That day, Aggie third baseman John Byington hit a walk-off home run in each game to defeat the Longhorns and maintain the Aggies’ No. 1 ranking. And thus, “Olsen Magic” was born.
Since then, the Aggie baseball fandom has grown exponentially. The growth was catalyzed in the early 2000s, riding the momentum of the Aggies’ fourth College World Series appearance. Though the fans came out in large numbers, the enthusiasm wasn’t there and the atmosphere of the crowd was flat.
This changed in 2015, when a resurgence occurred and people started coming to the games on a more consistent basis, allowing them to get more routine in their chants.
The consistent following prompted the creation of the “Section 203” Twitter account, named after the number of the section where students sat for the better part of A&M baseball history. The account is managed by section organizer Robert White, Class of 2014, and is used to grow the student section at Aggie baseball games. The account tweets out updates on the team, humorous tweets to opposing teams, as well as instructions for how to perform certain heckles.
“The sections were renumbered when Blue Bell Park expanded, but we maintained the name. 203 is not so much a section as it is a state of mind,” White said. “It represents our undying passion to support Aggie baseball and create one of the toughest atmospheres in college baseball.”
The momentum within the ballpark was augmented when the section’s infamous heckle, the “Ball Five” chant, caught the attention of national media outlets in the 2016 Super Regional. The chant starts after the opposing pitcher throws four straight balls, with no strikes on the count and continuously gets louder as the pitcher throws more consecutive balls.
“Ball Five” is just one of the many chants that can be heard coming out of Section 203. The section keeps a few of the most popular heckles but adds some on the fly, according to White.
“There are many staples such as ‘The Rifleman,’ Get in/out of the Box, heckling the first base coach/pitcher and of course the infamous ‘Ball 5,’” White said. “Other than that, most heckles are pretty on the spot and generally intended to be quippy.”
White said the loudest he has ever heard Olsen field was in 2016, when then No. 3 A&M defeated Texas with a walk-off home run by catcher Michael Barash, which was followed by a skirmish on the field, which he said electrified the Aggie crowd.
In addition to the chants, the section has continued to add new elements, including the newest addition, a Cookie Monster costume worn in the crowd as a tribute to first baseman Chris Andritsos.
“Andritsos’ sister gave us the Cookie Monster head and gloves,” White said. “Over the fall, a family friend would bring Chris a tray full of cookies that he would eat without sharing.”
The nickname “Cookie Monster” was a hit with Andritsos’ teammates and he began to own it himself, making the Cookie Monster theme song his fall practice walk-up song.
“After he hit for The Cycle in Game 2 vs. Cornell, [his sister] asked us if we would showcase the head in honor of his great accomplishment,” White said.
White said although the baseball crowd is significantly smaller than those at football games, the group is more close-knit and passionate, and thus able to have a heightened sense of connectedness.
“The way I’ve always seen it, Aggie football is a whole lot like Aggie church,” White said. “You show up, you sing the same songs, you know when to stand up and sit down. It’s very corporate. You may not sit next to the same people from week to week. Aggie baseball is more like a Thursday night small group. You get to know those people very well.”
The baseball team is currently 23-9 overall and White said he is confident the crowds will increase as the program continues to grow.
“With our baseball team being a regular contender for not only the SEC title, but also the College World Series, I would expect seats in 202 and 203 to be hard to come by when several of these big teams come to town,” White said.
Junior third baseman Allonte Wingate, who transferred to A&M this season after playing at Cisco College, experienced the magic in his first at bat as an Aggie on Feb. 17. In that plate appearance, Wingate singled to right field to put two men on bases with no outs in the ninth inning as the Aggies trailed 3-2. The Aggies later knocked Wingate home to score the game-winning run.
“That was probably the best feeling I’ve had playing baseball,” Wingate said. “Olsen Magic is a real thing. You hear about it and you think it’s just a thing. Then you get here and everyone’s telling you about it. But once you’re in the moment, that’s when it becomes really real.”
The Aggies will look to utilize the magic of Olsen Field as they face Texas on Tuesday in a rare renewal of the A&M-UT rivalry. First pitch is slated for 6:02 p.m. and the game will be televised on SEC Network.

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