Don’t get me wrong, it’s a noble gesture. Both of them.
Quite the unselfish acts.
But, as best I can understand it, McNeese and LSU are entering the NCAA baseball tournament with far loftier goals than just taking two and hitting to right.
The Cowboys have proclaimed that they are playing not for themselves, but for the hurricane-battered, tarped-up, under-insured city they left behind for the Fort Worth Regional.
It’s not about them either. Their players could care less about themselves, but they really, really feel an obligation to send their beloved head coach, the retiring Paul Mainieri, out a winner.
In LSU’s case, it’s kind of all or nothing — the Tigers’ successes are measured in national championships in Omaha.
Good luck with that.
Not sure what McNeese’s minimum standards for uplifting Lake Charles would be.
Godspeed, both of them, decided long shots as they are for their goals.
But my advice for both: just have fun, turn it loose, for as ever how long as the journey through college baseball’s mad-cap, postseason race lasts.
It generally turns out better like that anyway.
Relax and enjoy the ride.
Baseball is a notoriously fickle game. You know the old saying: The line drives get caught, the bloopers sometimes win (or lose) games.
No sense adding any more pressure.
McNeese is an interesting, charismatic cast of characters anyway, with a heavy local flavor in the lineup.
Clayton Rasbeary’s beard was named the MVP of the Southland Conference Tournament (the player behind it isn’t bad either) and — outlandish prediction here — may soon be the talk of Fort Worth.
It is a wonder to behold, worth celebrating on its own, with most of the speculation among the Cowboys centering around whether that grisly thing will survive his wedding day in July.
But we all know what the Cowboys went through just to get on the field this year.
Yes, it was a miracle, and many of the city’s residents would love to know how the Joe Miller Ballpark got put back to livable so quickly.
That should be enough sacrifice for one season.
These Cowboys should be able to simply enjoy the “Gateway to the West” in Fort Worth.
Winning the SLC Tournament, alternating the entertainment of 18-2 blowouts and 2-1 nail-biters, should be payment enough for the psyche of Lake Charles.
Anything else is lagniappe.
Besides, win, lose or rained out, back home it’s not going to turn insurance agents in ATMs or drive down the price of drywall or lumber.
So enjoy Fort Worth.
LSU’s situation is a little more cut and dry.
Let’s check in with pitching ace Landon Marceaux.
“As a team, we obviously want this opportunity to send (Mainieri) out,” he said. “We got together and talked about it. I think that means a lot to this team, and a lot to him, to get an opportunity to send him out on top.”
A nice gesture, for sure. It shows you just how much their coach means to them.
Mainieri himself, of course, is on record as saying it wasn’t intended to be about him, shouldn’t be about him, and better not be about him.
“I’ve done this for 39 years,” he said. “I don’t know how many NCAAs I’ve been in, I’d have to count them up.”
For the record, this is his 21st NCAA Tournament, his 12th at LSU and nine at Notre Dame. He’s won 71 of the 114 NCAA Tournament games he’s coached.
With last year’s tournament not played due to the pandemic, it many of the players’ first trip.
Relish it. Take advantage of it.
I would remind them that their retiring coach has one more national championship and six more Omaha trips than any of these players who so desperately want to give him another one.
So maybe being a tad selfish might help both arrive at their goals.
If they still need motivation, they might consider that some suspect that LSU is in the tournament only on a Mainieri sympathy bid from the selection committee.
Go ahead, prove them wrong if you must.
But there’s enough pressure playing at LSU as it is.
No need to add extra layers.
Same for the Cowboys.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at .