May 12, 2008

Look Out, America:* Here Come the Fighting Baseball Tigers

*"America" in this case should be interpreted to mean "the 5% of America that cares about college baseball"

While the Longhorns will always be our first and foremost college athletics concern, we each had a first love that has been referred to frequently around here. For one of us, the first love was/is LSU sports and every time we think one of their teams is going to suck long enough for us to let go for good, they haul us back in. The College Baseball Team of the '90s had fallen on very, very rough times over the last few years under coach Smoke Laval, but Paul Mainieri seems to have his guys putting it all together here in the closing weeks of 2008.

In the final regular-season series ever at college baseball landmark Alex Box Stadium, LSU completed a sweep of Mississippi State last weekend. It marked the first time the Tigers had strung together 3 straight SEC sweeps since their first National Championship in 1991. That's pretty remarkable. Making Sunday's game that much more emotional was that it came against traditional rival Mississippi State and longtime coach Ron Polk, who unfortunately is retiring after State's worst season in a long, long time.

For several weeks it has been assumed that Mother's Day would mark the last time anyone would ever play "Baseball at the Box," but after a 12-game winning streak the Tigers are actually in position to vie for a hosting spot in a sub-regional of the NCAA Tournament. They currently sit atop the SEC West and sport a 35-16-1 overall record. If LSU can keep this train rolling through UNO in a mid-week game and follow it up with a series win at Auburn (11-16, 27-25) they will have an excellent case for a 1-seed and a hosting position.

If you're in any way interested, you can watch the Final Game Ceremony here.

May 8, 2008

Apologies to Adam and jbrater

OK Guys. We're really sorry. It's almost summer, so Abram is crazy busy, and Jeff is caught in the euphoria of almost being done with school forever. But here is a fun, bullet-pointed post to address and start a conversation about all the stuff that Adam has pointed out we should have been talking about lately:
  • Cedric Benson: DWI offender or victim of a DWB imposed by Lake Travis police? ESPN is reporting that Ced's friends on the boat with him at the time of his arrest believe that the cops were overly forceful with him and that he was not, in fact, drunk. The most interesting part of the article from our perspective is Elizabeth Cartwright's claim that she has been out on the lake 6 times with Ced, and all 6 times they have been stopped by the police. Outright racism? Or is Cedric a really bad driver? We want very badly to side with Benson here, and since we are unlikely to ever definitively know who's telling the truth, we're going to!
  • Ryan Perrilloux: Les Miles finally had enough of RP's shenanigans, and to be honest we're at the point where we'd rather the Tigers lose without him than win with him. So the question now becomes: who plays QB for LSU next season? In the spring it was looking like redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee would likely beat out Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch. Both of those guys are traditional pocket passers and Lee was very highly recruited out of high school. But also keep an eye on true freshman Jordan Jefferson, who apparently has some serious talent both with his arm and with the wheels. Fall practice should certainly be interesting.
  • The Cardinals are awesome, despite blowing a late 3-0 lead to lose to the Rockies 4-3 last night. What's worse, they got Todd Helton to pop out to third for the second out while still leading 3-1 in the 8th, but couldn't close the deal as Colorado put up 3 more in the inning. Regardless, the Redbirds continue to follow Tony LaRussa's philosophy of a successful season consistently: just win every series you possibly can, and mathematically it's always going to be good enough to make the playoffs. The Cards have done what they are supposed to do against weaker opponents, and even won Round One against the hot-hitting Cubbies. There are few things as a sports fan more satisfying than a team producing way beyond its expectations (see: 2007-2008 Texas basketball).
  • Our old friend Ben Dorfman has been in the news lately. First with his award winning caption in the first offseason caption contest: "No, Mr. President, I don't think she would mind if you put your dollar bill there." Then Ben went and outdid himself with the post of the year on his blog about Austin eateries. We HIGHLY advise you to go over there and comment.
  • Finally, someone forgot to tell the Hornets that they weren't supposed to beat the Spurs. After two games in which Chris Paul and His Raging Band of Basketball Badasses beat the defending champs like rented mules, the series returns tonight in San Antonio--where, by the way, the Hornets have already won 102-78 earlier this year. Splitting the two games in Texas will give New Orleans a chance to win it in 5 in front of a home crowd. Which would mean the Hornets will have gotten as far in the playoffs (conference championship) after 6 years in New Orleans as it took the Saints 38 years to get. Just saying.