Latest craze puts bee in my bonnet
Oh, come on now. Stop it. LSU baseball is taking this crazy thing too far.
Rally Bees, at that?
There’s a certain element around the LSU baseball program — and they know who they are — who are forever trying to find a deeper meaning to an unlikely victory, trying to capture the mojo therein for future reference to whip out during some bleak latter innings when the breaks are going against the boys.
Either that, or they’re in the business of selling cheap T-shirts.
Whatever, it’s been at near-epidemic levels ever since that stinking possum wandered into left field at LSU’s Alex Box Stadium two years ago and, voilà!, the Tigers promptly overcame a 9-1 deficit to beat Arkansas and never looked back on the way to Omaha.
There was a similar game Sunday, when LSU, trailing 7-3, scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth for an unlikely 9-7 victory over Tennessee to complete an SEC series sweep.
Most programs would just watch the dog pile at home plate after Daniel Cabrera’s winning home run and be done with it.
Oh, but not LSU. Noooo. Instead somebody — probably somebody with a Twitter account — had to remember that on the Thursday before the series began, LSU’s practice had been interrupted by a nasty, very clumpy swarm of bees that enveloped themselves all over the batting cage (I’m guessing it wasn’t funny at the time).
Hence, Rally Bees … T-shirts available for a nominal fee.
The next thing you know even head coach Paul Mainieri — who, truth be told, never seemed to warm up to the notion of that Rally Possum power — threw batting practice Tuesday wearing one of the fool T-shirts.
The RallyBees, of course, now have their own hashtag.
Sorry, but I’m calling beez wax on this one.
This has to end. Now.
Granted, the Possum Rally thing was kind of cute. And it had a good run.
It was even educational. The OOC (Offended Opossum Community) demanded that, out of respect for the species, the “o” for the proper spelling be dropped in all “rally” references. So nobody’s feelings got hurt and we got to spell it any old way we wanted.
We also learned that the common possum is not a rodent but a marsupial. Or maybe the other way around. I forget.
At any rate, it was fairly harmless the first time.
And, truthfully, I’m not sure there wasn’t something at work that night more than just baseball fortune.
A check of the archives reminds that LSU won a game in which it made three errors, struck out 15 times and, mostly by going 0-for-8 with the bases loaded, stranded 19 baserunners.
But it’s hard to recreate the original.
Even last year early on at the College World Series, LSU had a rally when a beach ball came out of the stands and alighted on the field at a key moment of a Tigers comeback.
Next thing you know some LSU fans were trying to play the Rally Beach Ball card.
It was misguided from the beginning and, with cooler heads prevailing, never got much traction.
Anybody’s who has ever been to the CWS knows that it’s a longstanding Omaha tradition, and that on average about two or three beach balls will hit the field every game. No matter who’s playing.
Besides, what if people start bringing bee hives to the games?
All beez wax aside, there usually is a game like that Sunday unlikely uprising somewhere on the résumé of the good LSU teams that go on to make something of themselves.
I was shocked to learn that it was first time since 1972 that LSU had won a game going into the bottom of the ninth in which it trailed by four or more runs, which was well before Skip Bertman invented college baseball.
Historians will remember that LSU also trailed by four in the ninth of the Rally Possum fiasco, but only tied it in the ninth and then won it in the 10th.
Before Sunday, that was only win of any fashion from four or more down in the ninth in the past 303 tries.
I could have sworn I remembered others, but perhaps many were bottom-of-the-eighth rallies or some such.
But those kind of games due tend to be turning points.
Sunday, for instance, it saved LSU when it looked like the Tigers’ makeshift infield (due to injuries) was finally catching up with them. They were kicking it all over the lot, mentally as much as physically.
Maybe it ends up being the defining moment of the Tigers surviving a swarm of injuries while somehow getting their pitching figured out. They have weathered some travails.
The wounded, mainly shortstop Josh Smith and second baseman Brandt Broussard, should be returning soon to bring some sanity to the infield. Broussard, in fact, will play tonight when LSU travels to Tulane. Smith may be at least a couple of more weeks away.
The Tigers however, are surviving and this team (24-13, 9-6 SEC) could still make a go of the season
But I refuse to give the credit to a swarm of bees.
Enough is enough.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org