I like to be right.
But to me, the people who earn my respect most are those who are willing to talk the talk, but then admit it when wrong.
So someone pass me my bowl of crow.
In these columns, I’ve been pretty hard on the LSU baseball team.
Some of it was deserved. The Tigers didn’t play very good for a lot of the season, and they had a lot of tough, hard-fought losses that they shouldn’t have had.
But a lot of it was just impatience on my part, as well.
I’ve read this book before. I know how it ends. The LSU baseball team ALWAYS plays better later in the regular season – almost to a fault.
What I mean by that is the team sometimes peaks late in the regular season, then slumps in the NCAA Tournament – something LSU fans hope doesn’t happen again in 2017.
But while we wait, I’ll just eat this crow and keep my comments to myself.
The Tigers won the SEC West, as well as a share of the outright league crown. Barring two-straight ugly losses at the SEC Tournament, they’re going to be a national seed.
Where it goes from here, one can never tell, but this team sure has proven me wrong, and for that, I had to man up and own it – much like I’d want others to do if in the same situation.
Now, let’s talk about the challenges of the week.
I hate the SEC Tournament.
I think it’s one of the most useless weekends of the year – an event which can often do more harm than good – especially for a program like LSU, which is almost never on the bubble and is always a lock to make the tournament.
My disdain for the event is because it’s a double-edged sword.
Of course, players are competitors, so they want to win the entire thing.
But at what cost?
By playing more meaningless games, it sometimes strains your pitching for the following weekend in the NCAA Tournament. Likewise, it exposes guys to injury.
Baseball is a game where the team that positions its pitching rotation the best is often the team which wins, so I ask LSU fans today what is better for the Tigers’ future:
a) Winning one game in Hoover, then bowing out
b) Playing five or six games in Hoover and make a run at the SEC Tournament Title?
To me, it’s a no-brainer. I want to get in, get out and give myself as much time as I possibly can to get ready for the NCAA Tournament.
Skip Bertman agreed with me. His LSU teams were notoriously bad in the SEC Tournament.
They won five National Championships.
Paul Mainieri’s teams almost win the SEC Tournament every year. They’ve owned the event.
But they empty their tank in the event and never play well again. He’s only made one significant run at the College World Series in a decade-plus.
It’s a double-edged sword – one of my least favorite weekends of the year.
But aside from my personal soapbox, I think the Tigers are in good position to right some wrongs in Hoover. They have chances to beat Texas A&M and Kentucky in consecutive days – something I know folks around the program would love to do.
I don’t think LSU will win the event. Their late-tournament starting pitching will prevent it.
But I do think they fare well and easily conquer that national seed.