Hogs vs Aggies Reminded Us What Has Truly Gone Off the Rails

Texas A&M

There was a lot on the line this weekend at Blue Bell Park as No. 3 Arkansas faced off against No. 5 Texas A&M. First place in the SEC West, the overall SEC title, national seeding and more.

The high-stakes matchup drew plenty of eyes to College Station, with all three games between the Hogs and Aggies being nationally televised – Thursday’s game was on ESPN2, with the latter two on SEC Network. It’s the first weekend series of the season where Razorback fans haven’t had to go scrounging in the depths of the ESPN app to find their favorite team’s broadcast.

In the end, the Aggies won the battle and took the series, but the Razorbacks won the war and secured the division title.

Unfortunately, the national coverage of this weekend’s events has put a spotlight on the truly strange nature of the Texas A&M fanbase. By now, everybody is familiar with the Aggie yell leaders from football season, whose whole schtick feels like if you mixed BYU with the movie Footloose.

Luckily, the yell leaders do not attend baseball games, which should mean Blue Bell Park is free from most of the cult-like activities in College Station. But it turns out that the baseball program has a strange atmosphere of its own. It’s not the first time that’s been on display, as many remember from the viral makeshift yell leader at the College World Series in 2022.

In the first game of the series, the authentic Aggie atmosphere was on full display in an 11-inning pitchers’ duel that ended with a 1-0 win for Texas A&M on a walk-off…walk. The lack of offensive action and the prolonged nature of the game meant there was plenty of time for the ESPN cameras to cut to shots of the crowd – and there was some downright weird stuff going on.

The harmless things included the usual Aggie baseball tradition of blowing bubbles after a victory, as well as a bunch of people holding sets of maracas. I never caught the explanation for that one, but as someone who covers a program with fans that put beers on their heads every game, I say fair enough!

The real weirdness came with a startling piece of information about Texas A&M slugger Jace LaViolette, who commentators said has earned the nickname “Lord Tubbington” from his teammates – complete with a teletubby adorning his locker. To make matters even worse, there was a grown man in a full-blown teletubby costume cheering on the Aggies.

I mean…what? First off, that thing’s eyes are terrifying (the actual teletubby’s, not the human one’s). It also appears to have a necklace draped around its neck by the players. Maybe some kind of twisted good-luck charm? Who knows.

There was also the fans’ constant jibe at the Razorback pitchers of just…saying their name in a funny way? Very creative. Before every pitch that Gabe Gaeckle threw, he was serenaded by the Aggie faithful singing “Gaaaaaabe,” which got old pretty quickly. It wasn’t quite Vandy whistler levels of annoyance, but it was close.

Credit to the Texas A&M fans, though, because that chant did the trick when Will McEntire surrendered a free pass that brought home the winning run. They were also successful in rattling Arkansas’ pitchers in the rubber match, as the Aggies scored 14 times in a run-rule shellacking.

It’s not that there’s a bad atmosphere at Blue Bell Park. Quite the opposite, really, as I’d venture to say it’s top five in the SEC. Sure, the crowd played a part in Texas A&M’s victory – just as Arkansas fans would have if the series were played at Baum-Walker Stadium.

But at what cost? Fan bases can make a difference in games without making fools of themselves – but the Aggies have decided to do both with their cultish atmosphere.

Stolen Valor with a Boy Scout Twist

The unique vibe at Blue Bell Park is just a microcosm of the cult-like status Texas A&M has built over the years. Before the series, the Aggie baseball Twitter account posted an edit of their players seemingly on a special operations mission to hunt down some pigs.

The graphic looks cool, until you realize that Texas A&M’s entire pseudo-military image makes no sense. The Aggie Corps of Cadets has no obligation for actual military service, and is instead just a bunch of people playing dress-up. They even have ranks and everything, and the uniforms come across as something between a kid in a costume and stolen valor.

There’s also the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, which also participates in this cosplay by pretending to be a military band. Members even earn special boots, caps and patches for progressing through the “ranks,” which is just begging for a Boy Scouts reference.

The whole thing is just downright strange. And this is just the public-facing stuff. There’s a litany of rumored PG-13 traditions that go down in College Station, but that’s just speculation. After all, what happens at the Midnight Yell stays at the Midnight Yell, right?

More on Texas A&M’s cringe fringe:

***

Game 2 highlights from Arkansas vs. Texas A&M.

Game 3 highlights…viewer discretion advised.

***

More coverage of Arkansas baseball from Best of Arkansas Sports:

Facebook Comments