Dig Baton Rouge

The Sports Troll: Baseball and a bandwagon fan

I’ve been very baseball-heavy in my trolls lately, so I will keep a lot of my comments about this past weekend’s series with Ole Miss brief.

Yes, the Tigers won the series with the Rebels, and yes, it’s another good showing from a team that seems to be showing signs of living up to its potential after a little time in a slumber.

But there is still work to be done for me to be sold on buying a plane ticket to Omaha for June. Call me broken record, but I still would like to see a little more consistent hitting and perhaps a quality start or two from Jared Poche’ before I get fully convinced that we’re now out of the woods and there’s nothing but bright, shiny sunlight ahead.

Heck, this team is still just fifth in the SEC right now and fourth in the SEC West. I don’t think it’s too picky to want perhaps a little more before scheduling the parade.

But wins are wins and LSU is now playing better baseball, which is pleasant to the eyes.

Not even this troll can deny that.

I laugh all of the time at a lot of the people I read on Twitter.
Notice how I said that. I’m laughing AT those people, not WITH those people, because laughing WITH them would imply that I agree with this garbage that’s often being spilled onto my computer screen in a bumbled mess.

But anyway, one of the things I often mock and ridicule is this idea that basketball is just this red-headed, unloved stepchild that LSU fans will never accept nor love.

It’s called #SECBasketballFever and it’s something a lot of the LSU blogosphere subscribes heavily to, though I don’t understand why. It’s based on the idea that football and baseball are king in the SEC, and nothing basketball does will ever be relevant, which LSU fans use as a measuring stick to show why attendance at the PMAC has stunk in the last few years for men’s basketball.

I’ve always scoffed at the notion, because unlike those bloggers, I can actually remember things that happened beyond 72 hours ago – the average memory span for today’s Internet hot take artist.

I remember days when the PMAC was called the Deaf Dome and it was one of the hardest tickets in town.

I remember players like Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Jackson and others made the program one of the best in the country.

See, what LSU basketball haters don’t understand is that the problem isn’t the sport, but it’s the mentality of the fan.

No greater evidence of that was shown this weekend when my Twitter feed was filled with live tweets about LSU gymnastics.

Seeing that made me realize what I already knew: Fans aren’t loyal to anything (except football). All they want to do is see LSU win, and they’ll bandwagon around ANY sport – as long as LSU is good at it.
Please know that my musings here are not intended as a jab at LSU Gymnastics, nor Coach D-D Breaux, whom I covered for three seasons as a student-journalist when I attended LSU, and have taken a liking to.
But as I saw the pro-LSU Gymnastics tweets pile in over the weekend, it was painfully obvious that a) 99 percent of these people had never watched a meet in their lives and b) 99 percent of them will never watch another meet unless it involves LSU and a big-time prestigious title.

And the same applies to LSU basketball.

If the Tigers start to win games, then all of the apathy will go away.
If the Tigers start to keep some of the better in-state players, while playing a more exciting product, people will flock to the gym and fill it … as long as the team is winning games and competing for championships.
History shows me I’m right.

In college, I had a season covering gymnastics and women’s basketball.
At that time, gymnastics was just starting its rise. The gym was empty. It was reporters, about 1,000 fans and competitors on both teams.
But women’s basketball? That was a hot ticket. The Lady Tigers had Seimone Augustus, Temeka Johnson, then Sylvia Fowles.

They sold out games, and when they didn’t, they consistently drew thousands in the PMAC to be among the nation’s attendance leaders.
They made Final Fours. They battled for the SEC crown.

They won. They just won – the only criteria it takes to get the interest of the average bandwagon fan.

So save me the #SECBasketballFever nonsense. I’m not fooled.

The hash tag should be #YouAllAreBandwagoners with another one beneath it that says #YouOnlyRootForATeamWhenItWins.

Congrats to LSU Gymnastics on a great season.

It’s just a shame that about 37 of D-D Breaux’s 40 wonderful years as coach weren’t noticed by the public, because the public here only supports those things that are atop the mountain.

They do very little to help those at the middle of the mountain trying to push to get to the peak.


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