Hello. Hello ... is there anyone left in Starkville, Miss.?
The guess from over here in Omaha is ... not many.
At 3:15 p.m. local time, nearly four hours before the start of the baseball national championship series between UCLA and Mississippi State, the area around TD Ameritrade Park downtown was awash in a sea of red.
Not unusal for a Nebraska football weekend, but this is a darker red -- maroon actually, the color of Mississippi State.
Exactly how many Mississippi State fans are in Omaha for the best-two-of-three-series is anyone's guess, but a couple of locals estimated the number waiting in line this afternoon to purchase general admission tickets to be about 10,000 -- and growing.
For a reference point, consider that Starkville, Miss., home of Mississippi State, has a population a tick less than 24,000, according to the 2011 census. The listed capacity of TD Ameritrade Park is 24,500.
At one nearby watering hole, the Old Mattress Factory, a bar & grill, the stools and booths were jammed with maroon-clad Bulldogs's fans ... and Tom Snyder.
Snyder, wearing a blue and gold UCLA t-shirt, had just finished text-messaging a friend when he was approached by a reporter. "I was saying that was out-numbered about 100-1 in here," he said.
Snyder is die-hard Bruin, having worked for years as UCLA's public address announcer for Bruins home sporting events. He now lives in Ohio, and said he first noticed a building swell of Mississippi State fans while on the road about 45 minutes outside of Omaha.
Monday afternoon, he was outnumbered 8-1 by Louisiana State fans at the Old Mattress Factory. And those LSU fans were here to cheer a team that was eliminated a week ago.
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