NORFOLK (WAVY) — It’s become a yearly tradition in Hampton Roads. Norfolk State against the Norfolk Tides in the Spartans annual exhibition game at Harbor Park.
“It’s about our student athlete experience, and doing anything we can do to give them a better experience,” NSU coach Claudell Clark said. “It gives them an experience like they’re at a big school or larger institution or even a minor league organization.”
The series has been a success right from the start. Last years game drew more 6,600 fans. The high water mark was 8,000 several years ago.
While playing against pros at a Triple A ballpark is a big part of it, so is money. This is NSU’s largest baseball fundraiser of the year.
“It’s vital in this day and time, every extra dollar that you can raise is vital,” Clark said. “Facility upgrades, outfitting your student athletes, scholarships, you name it, we need it.”
So Norfolk State’s players get to play against pros, and coach Clark gets to raise money for the program, and the Tides operations staff gets a dry run before Thursday’s regular season opener.
“Nothing’s going to compare to actually doing a game,” Tides GM Joe Gregory said. “This game gives us a chance to hopefully work out some kinks.”
First pitch is Tuesday at 5:45 at Harbor Park.