Scooter Hobbs column: Unlike Milam, his legend will grow

Published 9:14 am Saturday, June 1, 2024

For his next stunt, perhaps LSU’s Steven Milam will let a decorative tiger tail hang from the back of his ballcap.

The Tigers’ little freshmen isn’t afraid to change things up.

He had his hair dyed gold — well, blond, but close enough — last week before hitting the walk-off home run that capped the Tigers’ nutty 12-11 win over South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.

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He’s not superstitious. He chose another look for his walk-off home run Friday that saved a struggling Tigers offense for a 4-3 comeback (again?) over Wofford.

Yes, he upped the ante for the NCAA Tournament, showing up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for the NCAA Tournament with purple stripes blended into the previous all-gold haircut.

If it catches on — and it just might if this keeps up — this will be an even stranger looking Bayou State.

“We all have choices,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said when TV announcers asked about Milam’s continuing efforts to emulate the school mascot.

Milam apparently has more choices than most.

Forget the creative hair color with the switch to both school colors, which was fashioned by the girlfriend of a fellow freshman, Sulphur’s Jake Brown.

He is listed (perhaps generously) on the roster as 5-foot-8, proving again that LSU is not without a sense of humor.

Yet the mighty mite chooses to be a power hitter on a team with many more behemoths who look the part.

He even likes the nickname, “Monster,” that he has had since he was a toddler.

He’s a switch-hitter — well, of course he is — and Friday he hit a dinger from both sides of the plate.

One, which broke the ice and got LSU on the scoreboard in the seventh inning, was to left field (off the scoreboard). The ninth-inning winner soared over the right-field fence (well into the trees beyond).

But does he also play basketball? At the end of his home run trot he stopped briefly for what looked like a pull-up jumper with his batting helmet (if he was aiming at the plate, it was an air helmet).

Lately LSU is making a habit of these comebacks.

But at the risk of raining on a dramatic victory that didn’t look promising for most of the game — the kind of thing LSU is known for in the postseason — the Tigers might want to take a hint from Milam and expand their options.

It was not hard to keep up the Tigers’ scoring Friday.

Seventh inning — Milam, solo home run.

Eighth inning — Michael Braswell III, solo home run; Jared Jones, solo home run.

Ninth inning — well, you know, Milam, solo home run, walk-off variety, game-winner, tear off the jersey.

Otherwise, the Tigers never really threatened despite Wofford saving its ace starting pitcher for Saturday.

There’s an outside chance the Tigers might need a little more variety in their offense as the tournament continues. Open their minds to alternative scoring.

Outside of the four bombs, the Tigers had two hits.

Don’t call Wofford “scrappy.” It demeans a good baseball team like a pat on the head.

But the Terriers could give LSU lessons in expanding the options on a power-driven offense.

They took advantage of most of their scoring opportunities, employing oddities like sacrifice bunts and flies, stolen bases, moving runners over, timely two-out hits.

At this stage of the season, the Tigers can’t change their stripes as easily as Milam changed his hair. Baserunning has been a challenge, sometimes comical, seemingly for eons.

They have relied heavily on the home run most of the season.

That’s one way of doing it.

But sometimes it does it seem like three-quarters of the home runs come with the bases empty.

They got away.

Chicks still dig the long ball. When it’s the walk-off variety, they are a ton of fun. Memories are made.

As Milam rounded the bases, the TV commentators announced, “A legend is born!”

No, sorry. That arrival was last week. The legend of the Little Big Man is only growing now.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics.Email him at