It doesn’t matter how hard it’s raining at Dick Howser Stadium – the weather delay doesn’t mean much, either – the Animals of Section B aren’t going home until the game is over. 

The Animals have been staunch supporters of Florida State’s baseball team for decades. They’re easy to spot, and to hear. They’re the ones singing O Canada in the fifth inning, shouting “K time!” to encourage strikeouts and singing circus tunes when an opposing team commits an error. 

Sunday, when Florida State’s game against Tennessee Tech was delayed for two hours and 25 minutes due to rain, the Animals of Section B stayed on campus. They went back to their tailgate, had a few beers, then waited for the game to restart. 

By the time FSU’s game against Auburn got started just after 8 p.m., they’d been on campus longer than the average eight-hour work day. 

“It’s passion and loyalty,” said Dominic Thompson. “We’ve been doing this a long time. When we’re out here, it’s baseball to us, but it’s also a family. It’s tradition. We’ve been around for a lot of great teams and a lot of great players. This is our baseball family.

“Rain, sleet, snow, whatever delay, we’re here.”

John McAllister, known by his fellow Animals as “Johnny Mac,” said the group’s purpose is to stay and root for the Seminoles. The organization got started in 1978. 

“We don’t care how long it takes,” he said. “If we have to spend the night, we’ll sleep in the parking lot. We’ll be here at 6 a.m. It doesn’t matter what it takes, we’ll be here because we support the ‘Noles all day every day.

“Everybody loves football. Everybody loves basketball. Real people love baseball. The people I sit with really love baseball. We enjoy it. We come every game. We’ve got our own chairs. We bring the noise. We want our team a competitive advantage because we play to win the game.”

In case you were wondering about the O Canada tradition, it began in 1988 when the Winter Olympics were being held in Calgary, Alberta. In the middle of a cold, February game, people started humming the anthem in the fifth inning and the Seminoles rallied to win a game they were losing.  

It happened the next day and became a tradition. 

Zookeeper and group leader Shannon Thomas, who took over in 2011 after the death of longtime Zookeeper Drew Hankin, said the Animals of Section B are a baseball family. 

She graduated from Florida State in 1999. 

“You have state workers and construction workers and just we all come together for the same reason: Florida State baseball,” she said. “We support them. My husband has to leave at 5 a.m. to go to Destin to work tomorrow, he’s still here. 

“Half of these people were at my wedding. I did a ‘Noles cheer at my wedding. It’s definitely a family.”