COLUMBIA — They're more spirited than your average fans.
They travel to Columbia from all over the country to see Missouri baseball games. They're not only supporting their team, they support their sons.
The parents of the Missouri baseball players use the team's Fall World Series as an opportunity to socialize, get to know newcomers and most importantly, encourage their sons. The team's fall scrimmage is their first opportunity of the year to get together.
Parents brought baked goods, breakfast food, homemade apple cider and other tailgate favorites to Saturday's game at Taylor Stadium. Cindy Wiederholt, mother of junior catcher Andreas Plackis, organized the spread.
"This group of parents is super gung ho, super supportive, and they're there for the young men. It's been an amazing group of people to work with and to know," Wiederholt said.
Although she knew many parents were contributing to the event, she said the turnout was more than anticipated.
"It was a fishes and loaves kind of thing," she said. "I didn't expect so much."
Rob Schmidt of St. Louis has been supporting the Missouri baseball team and his son, Jonah Schmidt, a senior outfielder, for four years. He tries to go to most of the Tigers' home games and usually goes to one of the team's road games. Schmidt said he is impressed by how far some parents travel to see their sons play and the support they provide.
Angel Garcia, father of sophomore middle infielder Eric Garcia, traveled from Pflugerville, Texas, to attend Saturday's game. Last year, when his son was a freshman, Garcia said he went to more games than he thought he would.
"It's great to travel to Columbia," Garcia said.
Next season, he said he plans to attend two home series and travel throughout Texas and Oklahoma to see the Tigers play on the road.
Redshirt freshman Andreas Plackis said he appreciates the parents' enthusiasm.
"It's definitely good because a lot of guys, especially from far away, aren't near their parents at all or their homes, and it's good for them to see them again," Plackis said.
The Gold team used a five-run, four-hit second inning to beat the Black team 6-4 in Saturday's game. The Black team committed two errors in the inning. The best-of-five series continues at 4 p.m. Monday. The Gold team leads two games to one.