Category Archives: LSU
The Masters teed off at 0630 (0730 EDT) this morning in order to beat anticipated heavy rain in Augusta. I was not watching.
Why bother? Tiger Woods is going to win and every talking head and writer is going to pee their pants and drool all over themselves about Tiger being the greatest golfer who ever walked the earth.
Francesco Molinari would win his second major in less than a calendar year if he holds on. But if you want to read about it, I suggest finding an English-language version of an Italian newspaper, because all the coverage from American journalists will be about Eldrick Woods and his greatness.
Tiger is one reason why I do all I can to avoid watching SportsCenter these days. Tiger is part of a privileged class that can do no wrong. The class also includes Tom Brady, LeBron, Serena Williams, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Warriors, Alabama football and Duke, North Carolina and Virginia basketball. ESPN doesn’t give a crap about the NHL, so nobody is listed here, although NBC is strongly biased against the Canadian teams (especially the Canadiens–you can figure out why) and in favor of the Rangers, Flyers, Capitals, Kings, Ducks, Golden Knights, Lightning and Panthers, even though the last team in that list sucks most of the time.
Tiger is a great golfer. I won’t deny it. However, I get nauseous whenever he is referred to as the “Greatest of All Time”. No. Not for me. The problem is people today have ridiculously short memory spans. I bet many people under 40 would have no idea who Jack Nicklaus is, even if they watch golf regularly. On the other hand, someone who couldn’t tell the difference between a golf ball and a tennis ball knows about Tiger Woods because he’s been forced down America’s throats for over 20 years.
I don’t begrudge anyone who is a member of Augusta National. Good for them. Congratulations on your success. However, I have no earthly desire to join a country club of any kind. Not my thing.
LSU and Missouri wrap up their baseball series at 1200. The home team won yesterday 4-1, its first win over LSU in Columbia in eight tries, and just its second in 17 games all-time. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
I recall LSU won seven consecutive series vs. Arkansas when the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992 until the Hogs finally broke through in 1999. Arkansas swept twice within four years (2001 in Fayetteville, 2004 in Baton Rouge).
However, my stay in Columbia is not over. I’m not departing until Tuesday. I have work that has to get done tonight and tomorrow, and the rest must be wrapped up by 1200 Tuesday so I can make the two-hour drive west to Kansas City. It also means more White Castle. I had waffle sliders for breakfast. Great as ########################################################################
Max Scherzer’s number 31 was officially retired before yesterday’s game. Of course, the honoree was with the Nationals in Washington, so his parents accepted the honor.
The Royals must have been stuck on stupid when they did not draft him #1 overall in 2006. Instead, they took Luke Hochevar, who was drafted #1 overall by the Dodgers in 2005, but did not sign, so he spent time in an independent league before re-entering the draft in 2006.
The 2006 draft was the last act of Allard Baird as Royals general manager. He was fired the previous week and Dayton Moore was hired as his replacement, but Baird was allowed to conduct the draft. Had Moore been in charge, it may have been very different.
Scherzer would not have been with the Royals right now, because he would have been too expensive to control. However, he would have come to Kansas City quickly and allowed the Royals not to spend a lot of money on Gil Meche, and maybe Zack Greinke would have stayed. Who knows. But Hochevar definitely was a big-time miss when Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw were available.
Speaking of the Royals, maybe they need to play Cleveland more. They have beaten the Indians 8-1 and 3-0 so far and can sweep the series today. Prior to that, Kansas City lost 10 straight, getting swept in three by the Tigers and four by the Mariners.
As I drove to Columbia Thursday, I got a glimpse of the upper deck at Kauffman Stadium during the game. I estimated there were maybe 80 fans in the entire upper deck. Attendance has slacked off since the 2015 World Series championship.
The Brewers were swept in Anaheim by the Angels, but can sweep the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine today. That’s baseball.
LSU and Missouri will do battle on the diamond on a windy evening in Columbia. The ball might jump out of the park, just like it has in Lawrence, where Oklahoma State hit EIGHT home runs vs. Kansas through six innings.
I committed a serious error today. One which cost me $77.
I accidentally locked my car keys in my trunk at the QuikTrip. I got out of my car to retrieve something from my trunk, and I accidentally hit the lock button. When I closed the trunk, I realized I had just gone stupid.
It took an hour for everything to get cleared up and for me to be on my way.
It’s not the first time I’ve had automotive adventure on an LSU baseball road trip.
Two years ago, I drove from St. Louis to Lexington on a flat tire. Fortunately for me it was a rental vehicle, so Avis replaced it in Kentucky and I drove that one back to Kansas City.
Last year, the first rental car from Hertz in Hays did not have a working air conditioner. Had to return it and wait for a replacement to come in, which didn’t come until two hours later.
Missouri’s baseball stadium is just west of the football stadium. The Tigers’ indoor practice facility sits behind right field, and the outdoor practice fields are behind left field. Mizzou’ s bullpen is behind the left field fence, but the visitors’ pen is in foul territory down the right field line.
The infield is artificial, but there is grass everywhere else. Kind of surprising since artificial turf has made serious advancements over the past two decades. Missouri’s football stadium has artificial turf, one of five in the SEC (the others are Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt).
That’s all for now. Game about to begin.
I couldn’t help but feel guilty and nostalgic driving to Columbia today.
Of course, it’s Columbia, Missouri. If it were Columbia, South Carolina, I would have had to have left on Tuesday to make it there in time.
LSU plays Missouri this weekend, the third time the Bayou Bengals have visited Columbia since Mizzou joined the SEC in the 2012-13 school year. LSU is 6-0 in Columbia, with the series in 2013 and 2016. Last year, Mizzou defeated LSU in the second game of the series in Baton Rouge, its first win ever over the Purple and Gold Tigers.
The Bayou Bengals lost to Southern Tuesday, just the third time the Jaguars have defeated their cross-town rivals in baseball. Southern won in 2001 and 2005 at the old Alex Box Stadium, but this was the first time the Jaguars defeated LSU at their home park, Lee-Hines Field, in north Baton Rouge.
My dad wanted to go on this trip so bad, but he has been battling a terrible infection. He wasn’t sure he would be able to make the nearly six hour drive from Russell without something happening.
My gut was churning from Russell to Lawrence with guilt. I wish he were with me. I called home when I stopped in Liberty to get my car washed. He told me it would be okay, although he wishes he wasn’t having these episodes.
The nostalgia part comes from last year’s trip to Baton Rouge, which happened to be the same weekend as this year’s trip.
Last year, it was more about seeing everyone I had not seen in ages–Brenda, Dorinda, Dan and Lisette Borne, Bryan Lazare, Kent Lowe and others–than it was about LSU’s performance vs. Tennessee. Of course, it was a much happier return to Russell after the Bayou Bengals swept the Volunteers, with Daniel Cabrera’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Sunday game being the final play of the series.
This will be pretty much a repeat of 2013 and ’16. I’ll have fun watching baseball, but most of my down time will be spent working in my room for stuff which needs to be done for Monday. It has to be done.
One of the best things about Columbia: WHITE CASTLE!
Columbia is one of only two SEC cities with White Castle. The other is Lexington, not surprising since White Castle’s corporate headquarters are an hour north in Cincinnati. I got hooked on White Castle when I stopped near Louisville on the way out of Lexington.
Of course I had to stop there on my way in this evening. Great decision.
White Castle has introduced a crab cake slider for Lent. YUMMMMM! It also has clams, and those are good, too. I think I’ll have to go back for more tomorrow. I order A LOT of sliders tonight. That means I’ll have plenty of leftovers Saturday and maybe Sunday. Sliders for breakfast? Not the first time.
The Masters is this weekend. Tiger is playing, so tickets at Augusta National are running much higher than they did for Super Bowl LIII, which was played in Atlanta, 145 miles west of Augusta on Interstate 20. Five thousand would have bought you six to eight tickets to see the Patriots beat the Rams in February. Five thousand might not get you into the gate at Augusta National this weekend.
Not that I want to visit Augusta National. If I had a choice of any golf course in the world to visit, it would be St. Andrews, where the game was born. To me, The Open Championship is more prestigious than The Masters, the same way Wimbledon is more prestigious than the others in tennis.
That’s the beauty of St. Andrews. ANYONE who pays the greens fees can play. Same with Carnoustie, another Open Championship course in Scotland. Augusta National? You’d better have a friend in a VERY high place, or you’re out of luck.
Tiger ended the day 2-under par, four shots back of co-leaders Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Koepka has won the last two U.S. Opens and last year’s PGA, and if he wins the green jacket, he will enter the exosphere of major championship domination, occupied by only Tiger and the Golden Bear. Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 later this year, is 5-under. The oldest champion at The Masters was none other than Jack Nicklaus, who won it at 46 in 1986.
It’s getting late. I didn’t get enough sleep last night (or the night before), and the effects of all that time on the road is taking its toll. Have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.
I was in Buffalo Wild Wings when the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket was announced on CBS. However, I have not filled out a bracket for a contest, nor will I do so.
I admit I made an erroneous post about LSU being placed in the East region.
I said this would be the first time LSU would play in the East region since 1988, when the Bayou Bengals lost 66-63 to Georgetown in Hartford when the Hoyas’ Charles Smith banked in a 35-footer at the buzzer. That Georgetown team featured a freshman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire in 1988) who would make his mark on basketball over the next two decades. His name: Dikembe Mutombo.
I did not realize the Bayou Bengals were in the East region in 2015, their last tournament appearance. That year, LSU lost a close game to North Carolina State in Pittsburgh. The Wolfpack followed that by ousting top seed Villanova, which bounced back just fine, as evidenced by the Wildcats’ national championships in 2016 and ’18.
The “pod” system, where first and second round sites are not tied to a specific region, sometimes makes it very easy to forget which region a team is assigned to. However, I should have done my homework. Not that it’s going to cost me anything, but I have to do better.
That I didn’t know LSU was in the East region four years ago shows my interest in March Madness has waned. A lot. I seriously doubt I’ll be watching at 1140 Thursday when the Bayou Bengals face Yale.
I listened to the end of the LSU-NC State game in 2015 driving around Overland Park. I watched the LSU-Georgetown game of 1988 in my old house in Arabi with Jason Malasovich, who was over to visit.
The Hoyas’ win over LSU was their last of 1987-88. Georgetown was no match for Temple in the second round. The Owls, the top seed in the East in 1988, lost in the East regional final to Duke, a disappointing end, but certainly better than the previous season, when John Chaney’s team entered the second round of the NCAAs 32-3, only to be easily defeated by the #10 seed in the Midwest, LSU.
Duke lost to Kansas in the Final Four at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. Two nights later, the Jayhawks avenged three losses to Oklahoma, which ousted Arizona in the other semifinal, by defeating the Sooners 83-79 for their first national championship since 1952.
Two very interesting notes came from the LSU-Georgetown game of 1988 in 1989.
While Mutombo and Smith could not carry Georgetown alone in 1987-88, they got a huge assist the next season with the arrival of Alonzo Mourning from Virginia. The Hoyas won their first nine games of 1988-89 to rise to No. 5 in the AP poll, but lost their first game of 1989 to Seton Hall in the Meadowlands.
As it turned out, that was no sin. The Pirates would be one of the two teams left standing at the very end, losing in overtime to Michigan in one of the best championship games since the NCAA men’s tournament began in 1939.
Following the loss to Seton Hall, the Hoyas won their next six and were ranked No. 2 in the AP poll of January 24, 1989.
On January 26, top-ranked Illinois lost at Minnesota. That meant Georgetown would rise to the top of the polls if it won its January 28 game.
The opponent that Saturday was none other than LSU, which was enjoying a much better than expected season, thanks to the prowess of freshman sensation Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf) and the fiery leadership of fifth-year senior Ricky Blanton, who played on LSU’s 1986 Final Four team.
Georgetown came to Louisiana as the return game after the Bayou Bengals played the Hoyas in Washington (actually Landover, Maryland, where the Bullets played at the time), but instead of playing in Baton Rouge, the game was moved to New Orleans and the cavernous Louisiana Superdome.
LSU coach Dale Brown and the entire athletic department attempted to set a new attendance record for a college basketball game, and sure enough, over 68.000 packed the “world’s largest room” on Poydras Street, more than attended the Saints’ season finale one month prior.
Nobody gave LSU a chance, but lo and behold, the Bayou Bengals kept it close. Blanton, who was on the floor in Baton Rouge when Anthony Wilson hit a shot at the buzzer vs. Memphis in the secound round of the 1986 NCAA tournament, played the hero this time, laying it in after Dennis Tracey’s airballed 3-point attempt was tipped to him by Wayne Sims.
LSU, which lost 127-100 to Illinois in Baton Rouge three days before Christmas, won 82-80. The Bayou Bengals stumbled at the end, however, losing three of their last four, including the NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP I discussed in an earlier post.
Georgetown sustained road losses to Pitt and Syracuse after the game in New Orleans, but recovered to win the Big East tournament and earn the top seed in the East region. The Hoyas were sent back to Hartford, this time to face another team whose mascot is the Tigers.
Princeton proceeded to win the heart of every basketball fan who did not root for Georgetown. Coincidentally, that game was 30 years ago tonight.
Pete Carrill’s Tigers used their anachronistic offense, centered around back-door cuts and sets which bled the shot clock (then 45 seconds, 15 seconds longer than today) nearly dry and frustrated teams which wanted to play a more up-tempo offense.
Georgetown was one of those teams that got frustrated.
The Hoyas needed Mourning to block a last-second shot to escape with a 50-49 victory. Georgetown’s luck ran out in the regional final when it lost to Duke, who in turn was routed by Seton Hall in the Final Four at Seattle.
While Princeton lost, the NCAA tournament won. Big time. Watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about this game and you’ll see how.
This game was not televised on CBS, but rather on ESPN, which had a much lower percentage of households in 1989 than it does today. And it was good fortune Princeton-Georgetown was on ESPN, because many first round games were only televised locally in the markets of the participating teams.
For instance, the LSU-Georgetown game in 1988 was only on in Louisiana and the Capital Beltway, although it may have been picked up by markets in Mississippi, Alabama and east Texas. Two years prior, LSU and Purdue played a thrilling double overtime game in the opening round, but if you weren’t in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Indianapolis, South Bend or another town in Louisiana or Indiana, you were out of luck.
When the NCAA negotiated its next TV contract for the men’s basketball tournament, CBS ponied up the cash and made sure every game would be on The Tiffany Network, an arrangement which lasted 20 years (1991-2010).
Today, CBS shares the tournament with three cable networks, and every game is shown start to finish. Plus with streaming, any basketball junkie should know the final score of every NCAA tournament game right away.
St. Patrick’s Day 2019 is over for the Eastern third of the United States. And it is for me, at least on this blog.
Eighteen hours ago, I had never tried the Swedish crepes from iHOP.
Now I’m craving them worse than a pregnant lady craves ice cream and pickles.
While I was on the barstool at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek last night, I decided to order pickup from iHOP in Liberty so I could have breakfast in the morning. I figured I’d put them in the fridge in the hotel room then warm them for 90 seconds in the morning.
After getting lost on my way to the restaurant, I decided I couldn’t wait until morning. I tried one.
Wow. I have a new favorite iHOP dish, and one of my favorite restaurant items anywhere, right along with any steak from Outback, the Jumbo Combo pizza from Minsky’s, the Veggie 7 pizza at Old Chicago, the brisket and corn grits at T.J. Ribs in Baton Rouge, the charbroiled oysters at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans and Baton Rouge…you get the idea.
Thank God I got two orders. Breakfast was great. Now I want to go back and get some for late tonight and tomorrow morning.
The best thing about the Swedish crepes is they are meatless, meaning I can eat them on Lenten Fridays. If I happen to go to Columbia next month, I guess I’m going there at some point.
LSU’s basketball saga is over, at least as far as playing in the SEC tournament. The Bayou Bengals, the SEC regular season champion, lost 76-73 to Florida when the Gators, coached by New Orleans native Mike White, hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left.
LSU is a lock for the NCAA tournament, but with so much controversy surrounding Will Wade and the wiretap which revealed his willing to do anything to sign Javonte Smart, the three-time Louisiana high school player of the year from Scotlandville in north Baton Rouge, what can LSU reasonably expect?
I don’t think my alma mater will last past the first weekend. I hope I’m wrong, but I see trouble.
Kansas City is now overrun with Iowa State fans in town for the Big 12 tournament. The Cyclones play Kansas State at 1800, followed by Kansas vs. West Virginia, which finished last during the regular season but is still alive thanks to wins over Oklahoma and regular season co-champion Texas Tech.
Honestly, I only know what’s going on because I’m at Buffalo Wild Wings. If I were back in the basement in Russell, I would probably not watch.
I won’t watch the selection show Sunday. I can wait until the bracket comes out.
I usually don’t watch the NBA, but with the Bucks heading for the top seed in the East, will I have to?
The Chiefs are big news this week with the start of the NFL’s business year. Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry are gone. Tyrann “Honey Badger” Matthieu is in. Kansas City needs to restructure its defense, but right now, it looks like it will try to win every game 41-38 with Mahomes.
The Saints let Mark Ingram go to the Ravens via free agency. It looks like the Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray first overall after drafting Josh Rosen last year. Great idea, Arizona, to let Murray get beaten up behind an offensive line which is worse than a sieve.
The Cardinals have had a horrendous offensive line since Dan Dierdorf was in his heyday, and that’s when your intrepid blogger was in diapers. Arizona is doing this back-assward, but I can’t help it.
Swedish crepes at iHOP. Gotta have them again.
The last day of Kansas’ high school basketball season is upon us. However, it’s all sideshows and consolation games until 1600, when the girls championship games start at six (five too many) sites. The boys games will start at 1815.
I have never been a fan of third place games. Never will be a fan. In Louisiana, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association does not require losers in the semifinals to come back. Kansas, along with Missouri and several other states, do.
The NCAA had a third place game in its men’s tournament from 1946 through 1981. It’s amazing it took 35 years for the NCAA to realize the teams which lost their national semifinals were in no mood to stick around at least 36 more hours to play a meaningless game. The last third place game, Virginia vs. LSU in 1981, was played the same day President Reagan was shot in Washington by John Hinckley Jr. There was serious consideration given to cancelling both the third place and championship (Indiana vs. North Carolina) games, but in the end, the games were played.
If the NCAA had been smart about it, it would have told Virginia and LSU to head for the airport and go home, because the third place game would be cancelled and not played. Then Indiana-North Carolina could be put on hold and postponed to the following day if need be. In the end, it worked out okay, because the president made it through surgery and served two full terms.
To its credit, UCLA won the only third place game it played under John Wooden, defeating Kansas in 1974 after a heartbreaking double overtime loss to North Carolina State, which defeated Marquette for the championship. Two years later, Gene Bartow coached the Bruins to victory in the consolation game against previously undefeated Rutgers. UCLA lost in that year’s semis to Indiana, which completed the last undefeated season in NCAA Division I men’s basketball by defeating Michigan.
I have never heard of a team forfeiting a third place game in Kansas, but I would applaud any coaches who would. It might force the KSHSAA to reassess the worth of third place games.
Basketball isn’t the only sport with a third place game in Kansas. ‘
Volleyball has them, but they go on at the same time as the championship match, which doesn’t add time. I think that’s a big mistake; I would like to see the championship matches played on a center court after completion of the semifinals in both classifications at a site.
Softball usually plays simultaneously on different diamonds. The biggest problems are baseball and soccer, where games can and often do go longer than regulation. Baseball is particularly troubling, since most teams have very few pitchers available due to pitch count limits.
If it were up to me, I would award each team which loses in the semifinals a plaque and medals immediately after that game, and that’s it. If the final day were only two championship games, the KSHSAA could make more money by charging two admissions and spacing the games out by four hours, playing one game at 1300 and one at 1700, alternating between boys and girls early/late each year.
If I were forced to coach in a third place game, I would play the seniors who are graduating and the players who rarely played varsity. The players on the end of the bench have worked just as hard as the starters all season. They deserve the opportunity to shine, if only for one day.
For the varsity starters who were returning the next season, I would play them, but not as much. I would explain it to them as gently as I could. Hopefully they would understand.
I remember Osborne’s girls playing in back-to-back third place games in 2007 and ’08. The Bulldogs won in the former year, and looked impressive in doing so. The next year, their hearts didn’t seem to be into it as much, and they lost.
I’m interested to see how Norton and Nemaha Central handle this. There is a trophy at stake. I don’t want a foul fest, and I don’t want a blowout.
LSU’s men’s basketball program is under serious fire for a wiretapped phone call involving coach Will Wade and the recruitment of Javonte Smart, a Baton Rouge native who is a starting guard on this year’s team. Wade is suspended indefinitely, and Smart will not play tonight vs. Vanderbilt. If the Bayou Bengals win, and they should, since the Commodores are 0-17 in the SEC, LSU will win at least a share of the conference championship and be the number one seed for the SEC tournament. Boy what bad timing, but if Wade indeed committed NCAA violations, he has to man up and pay the piper.
College basketball is corrupt. Yet people keep watching. I’m seriously considering taking a pass on this year’s NCAA tournament. I know I’m not filling out a bracket, that’s for sure.
I am running on less than fumes right now. I have only myself to blame.
I got up at 0350 Friday morning. I just could not sleep Thursday night and in the wee hours of Friday. I had two morning appointments in Overland Park, which of course can be a pain if you have to drive from near KCI like I did. Found out that I need to go back to Morse-McCarthy Monday afternoon to get the brakes replaced. That’s what happens to a nine-year old car with 391,000 kilometers (243,000 miles). But it has not stranded me in the middle of nowhere, so as long as it gets me from Point X to Point Y, I’m good.
I got to play trivia for an hour with Larry at Buffalo Wild Wings, my first visit there in two months. I didn’t linger any longer than I had to so I could get out to Columbia and watch LSU play Missouri in volleyball.
The beginning and end of the time in the middle of Missouri were fine for the most part. The time inside Mizzou Arena left me wondering if I can ever go back to LSU.
I e-mailed the volleyball team’s media relations contact, Chelsey Chamberlain, that I was coming. I sent it out Monday. Not one word back. No contact elsewhere either.
Inside the arena, Ms. Chamberlain did her best to avoid eye contact.
Am I that repulsive? Maybe I am.
LSU stayed competitive with Mizzou through the first two sets. In the second sert, LSU led 24-23 and could have tied the match, but blew set point. Mizzou won the next two points to win the set, then dominated the third. Final: 25-22, 26-24, 25-12.
The beginning and end was pretty good because I found some things I can’t in Kansas City, and certainly nowhere in Kansas.
Before the match, I hit the jackpot at Schnucks, the leading grocery chain in St. Louis which has expanded west, but only as far west as Columbia.
Schnucks had the peppers I love so much on hot dogs, peppers which are not carried by Hy-Vee or Hen House in Kansas City, not by Whole Foods, and certainly not by Target and Shit Mart, er, Walmart. I bought six jars, and they happened to be on sale for $2.50 each. I’m set.
After the match, I picked up White Castle. Again, Columbia is as close as I can get to White Castle. The company has introduced a slider made with plant-based materials, and I must say it is delicious.
Now I want to drive back to Columbia for Schnucks and White Castle. Believe me I’ll be hoarding if I’m there for LSU’s baseball series vs. Mizzou in mid-April.
I had to drive back to Kansas City because hotels in Columbia were almost all booked, and those that weren’t had exorbitant rates, because Mizzou hosts Kentucky in football. In fact, the game kicks off in less than an hour.
Exorbitant doesn’t begin to describe the price of going to see LSU-Alabama a week from tonight. I don’t want any part of it. I think next Saturday I’ll be in bed before 1900, even though we go back to standard time (FINALLY) and have an extra hour. I might be up at 0200 the next morning.
When I returned to the hotel at 0015, Game 3 of the World Series was still going strong. I turned it on in the 13th when Boston took a 2-1 lead. Sure enough, Los Angeles tied it in the bottom of the 13th.
I stayed awake long enough for the 14th, then zoned out. When I woke up at 0730, I discovered the Dodgers won in EIGHTEEN innings on a solo home run by Max Muncy.
The game took SEVEN HOURS and 20 minutes. It ended at 0030 Pacific, which was 0330 in Boston. By far the longest postseason game in history in terms of game time, and easily the longest in World Series history. There was an 18-inning National League Division Series game in 2005 between the Astros and Braves.
As far as marathon postseason games go, the National Hockey League is the only league which comes close. No NBA playoff game has lasted more than four overtimes, and the longest NFL postseason game, Miami at Kansas City on Christmas 1971 in the last game at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium, went one and a half overtime periods. Association football matches have never lasted more than 120 minutes of playing time before (a) going to a shootout or (b) being replayed entirely.
I am feeling run down. That happens when you’re up for 21 straight hours then sleep only six.
The 72nd edition of the MEN’S (that’s the NCAA insisting the women be given equal footing) College World Series has been plagued by rain. Omaha isn’t New Orleans when it comes to precipitation, but it gets quite a bit more than some locales (Hays and Russell come to mind first for me), and there is a chance Mother Nature will intervene.
She did this week, forcing the winner’s bracket games of Monday (Mississippi State-North Carolina) and Tuesday (Arkansas-Texas Tech) to be pushed back a day. The CWS is back on track after Oregon State defeated the Tar Heels last night to send UNC back to Chapel Hill.
The Beavers now must defeat MIssissippi State twice to advance to the championship series. Last year, Oregon STate was in the driver’s seat in bracket one, only to lose twice to LSU, the team the Beavers beat in the second round.
Arkansas holds the upper hand in bracket two after defeating the Red Raiders. The Razorbacks are 2-0 in their Southwest Conference reunion tour, having defeated former archrival Texas Sunday. The Hogs await Florida or Texas Tech tomorrow.
If the Bulldogs and Razorbacks each advance, it will guarantee the SEC will crown its sixth national champion in baseball. The winner would join Georgia (1990), South Carolina (2010, ’11), Vanderbilt (2014), Florida (2017) and some other school which has won six. Of course, the Gators could also repeat and keep the crown in the SEC, but keep the number of schools to win it at five.
That school which has won six is, of course, my alma mater. The Bayou Bengals won it all in 1991, ’93, ’96, ’97 and 2000 under Skip Bertman, then added the sixth in 2009 under Paul Mainieri.
Arkansas and Mississippi State, like the other four schools in the SEC West NOT named LSU, have none. This is particularly galling for Texas A&M, whose two most bitter rivals, LSU and Texas, have six apiece.
The Bulldogs reached the championship series in 2013, only to be swept by UCLA. It is surprising to a lot of people State hasn’t won it all given the school’s rich baseball tradition. Baseball in Starkville was a huge deal long before the other nine schools got with the program. LSU got with it when Bertman arrived in 1984, and then the rest followed suit, although it took the likes of Kentucky and Vanderbilt into the new millennium to finally be up to full speed.
Mississippi State’s run this year has been nothing short of sensational. The Bulldogs suffered an embarrassing sweep by Southern Miss in Hattiesburg to open the season, and less than 48 hours later, coach Andy Cannizaro, a former LSU assistant who played in the CWS for Tulane in 2001, was forced to resign.
It was revealed Cannizaro carried on an affair with a female staffer in the Bulldogs’ football office. The woman apparently dropped the bombshell after she left Starkville to join her boss, Dan Mullen, at Florida.
It was bad enough Cannizaro cheated on his wife. It was much, much, much worse that he cheated on his wife while she was pregnant. Geez, keep it in your pants!
Gary Henderson, who once was in charge at Kentucky, was named interim coach by State athletic director John Cohen, himself a former Bulldog coach and standout player. The Bulldogs had a losing record through the first half of the season, but recovered well, ending the regular season by sweeping Florida in Starkville.
The Bulldogs were one-and-done in the SEC tournament courtesy of LSU, then lost 20-10 to Oklahoma in the first game of the regional at Tallahassee.
However, State came all the way back through the loser’s bracket, then won a scintillating three-game super regional at Vanderbilt, scoring four runs in the top of th 11th of the deciding game.
In Omaha, the Bulldogs won 1-0 vs. Washington, scoring the lone run in the bottom of the ninth, before pounding the Tar Heels 12-2.
The Razorbacks had a strong tradition in the Southwest Conference under Norm DeBriyn. For most of the late 1970s and 1980s, the Razorbacks, Longhorns and Aggies held the SWC lock, stock and barrel in baseball, with the others far, far behind. It became so hopeless SMU dropped the sport in the mid-1980s, not long before the NCAA handed the Mustang football program the death penalty.
Once Arkansas left for the SEC in 1992, the fortunes of the rest of the SWC, especially Rice, went up, while the Razorbacks struggled mightily against LSU and Mississippi State in the SEC, and were also well behind Auburn. Alabama soon caught and passed the Razorbacks when it hired Jim Wells in 1995, leaving Arkansas battling Ole Miss for the bottom of the West.
Dave Van Horn, who led Nebraska to the College World Series in 2001 and ’02, returned to Fayetteville, where he played for DeBriyn, and immediately returned Arkansas to national prominence. Arkansas has been a consistent presence in Omaha since 2004, but has yet to break through and reach the finals.
Arkansas is now one win away from its first championship series, and its first trip to the final since 1979, when DeBriyn’s Hogs lost 2-1 to Cal State Fullerton, which was coached by a young fellow named Augie Garrido.
The Razorbacks’ road to Omaha wasn’t as dramatic as that of the Bulldogs, although Arkansas had to win a third game in its super regional vs South Carolina.
I’ve postulated about whom LSU fans would root for in an All-SEC championship series. If it’s State vs. Florida, I’d say the Bulldogs, because (a) State is in the West and Florida the East and (b) the Gators beat the Bayou Bengals in last year’s final. If it’s the all-west final, I don’t know, but I’d lean to State. Some LSU fans still wish Arkansas would have gone to the Big 12 instead of the SEC. But that cat is out of the bag.
LSU fans should stand and cheer if either Arkansas or Mississippi State (or even Florida) wins it all. It would again reinforce the SEC as college baseball’s sine qua non. Then again, Oregon State did outscore LSU 26-1 in two regional games. Unless Texas Tech somehow pulls it off, the Bayou Bengals can take pride in knowing they’ve gone up against the best once again in 2018.
My stay in Baton Rouge is down to its final two hours, maybe less. My dad and I will depart the Courtyard on Acadian a little before 8:00 and make one last stop in the city to buy crawfish at Tony’s Seafood on Plank Road.
We should be out of Louisiana no later than 1:30. Tonight’s stop is McAlester, Oklahoma. By Tuesday evening, I’ll be back in Russell.
The last few times I have been in Kansas City, I couldn’t get out fast enough. I knew it was time to head west and didn’t waste any time doing so.
This time, I wish I could stay another week. Maybe another month. I got to see so many people I had not in nearly 13 years, but there are still many I didn’t see and I still want to. Some are no longer living in Baton Rouge (Herb Vincent), and some were too busy to make it out to Alex Box.
I last was in Baton Rouge in 2010, but I saw hardly anyone I knew. This time was much different. It reminded me of the different lives I led before and after Katrina. Not that the life in Kansas is terrible, but I lived longer in Louisiana and knew people for a lot longer. Other than Peggy, there aren’t any in Kansas I knew nearly as long as I knew in Louisiana.
There was a slight misadventure last night. We wanted to eat at Ivar’s, the sports bar where I hung out many a day and night when I went to LSU and lived in Baton Rouge afterwards. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get service and left after a few minutes. We weren’t upset, just a little disappointed.
However, 18 more chargrilled oysters at Acme Oyster House more than made up for it. WAY MORE. I ate 30 chargrilled oysters in the space of 32 hours Saturday and Sunday. I could eat 30 DOZEN if I had the time. They are that good.
LSU won all three games from Tennessee. The first two were not close, 9-3 and 14-5. Yesterday, however, was a different story.
The Volutneers led 4-0 and 7-3, the latter lead holding up until the bottom of the ninth.
However, the Bayou Bengals came all the way back, scoring six times in their last at-bat, the last three coming on a home run by Daniel Cabrera, giving LSU its first three-game series sweep of 2018 and keeping it alive in the SEC title race.
If LSU manages to become a regional host, this game may be the one which put the Tigers over the top. The next two weekends find LSU at South Carolina and Ole Miss before it plays Arkansas May 4-6.
All good things have to end. It’s over this time. However, next time will come far sooner than 2031. Or 2026. Or 2020.
I was reminded most of today why Louisiana is near the national leaders in rainfall year in and year out.
I woke up at 7:30 with Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans” blaring from my iPhone. Surprisingly, the thunder and lightning did not.
It was absolutely pouring. The sky was quite dark. There were severe weather alerts issued seemingly every two minutes, including a couple of tornado warnings for East Baton Rouge Parish. Thankfully, those warnings were not for where we were staying. However, it was nasty.
The rain seemed to end by 12:30, when my dad and I went to eat at Acme Oyster House. Oyster Rockefeller soup, charbroiled oysters, bread pudding. I can die happy now.
We went to the Mall of Louisiana to kill time, and by time we left the area, it started to rain hard again. It really rained hard when we were on Siegen Lane, and my dad thought there was no way there would be a baseball game tonight. I had some doubt, but from experience, I knew LSU would do everything it could to play the game. It was still raining hard at 5:00 when we went to eat at Outback, which is in the same parking lot as the Courtyard.
Lo and behold, the rain stopped by time we left the restaurant at 5:50. There is a lot of standing water on the streets, but the railroad trestle on Acadian between Interstate 10 and Perkins Road was passable.
Teams have taken infield–batting practice was conducted in the cages in order to allow more time for field prep–and the game will start at 8:00 as originally rescheduled. The good news about playing tonight is the game tomorrow starts at 4:00, so there will be plenty of time to sleep in and eat lunch.