Between two of the most important football dates of the year, the Starkville Rotary Club had a reason to talk baseball on Monday.
Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen used his popular power-point method to turn the attention of the Rotarians from the Super Bowl and National Signing Day, set for Wednesday, to Bulldog baseball at the Starkville Country Club.
The anticipation is building for the start of the season as MSU opens against the University of Portland on Feb. 15-17.
"It's good to see February come around," Rotarian Joe Thompson said prior to introducing Cohen. "That means baseball season is near."
Cohen spoke about many aspects of the program, including academic success, the improved play on the field for the Bulldogs over the last three seasons and the prospects for this season.
The opportunity Cohen has to speak to groups such as the Rotary Club before the season keeps the interest building. He spoke to the MSU women's basketball luncheon last week.
"Our kids are really excited about getting this off the ground and being able to share with friends in this community is really special," Cohen said. "I really cherish these opportunities."
After Cohen finishes with his presentation, he took about 10 questions from the Rotarians about the team.
The Bulldogs are ranked as high as No. 5 by Baseball America's poll and that has created a buzz as well.
"It's neat and meaningless at the same time," Cohen said. "We believe we have a very good club, but we don't put a number on anything. The guys haven't bought into the hype, but have committed to working every day."
Even though the rankings are not a high priority right now, Cohen realizes how it can benefit MSU.
"We want as many people to show up as possible and I think that will help attendance," Cohen said. "I know it has helped season ticket sales. We're really excited about the direction our program is going in."
Mississippi State has gone over the 5,000-mark for season ticket sales for the 12th consecutive years.