11 AM?! You mean, eleven in the frickin' morning? LSU students don't even schedule classes before noon if they can help it. At 11 AM, we're still busy disposing of bodies. Yikes.
As far as NCAA screw jobs go, this one is pretty minor. Someone was getting the lousy mind-morning timeslot, and Stony Brook made the NCAA's decision that much easier. I mean, what are the chances that a 4-seed could even make Omaha, much less win it.... oh.
Chances are good that Stony Brook is not Fresno St, but anyone that wins a regional on the road has to be taken seriously in the Supers, even if the NCAA doesn't. This isn't even matinee, this is off the marquee entirely. NCAA/ESPN is going to do their best to pretend the Baton Rouge supers don't even exist, or else they might have to learn the name of someone who plays for Stony Brook (which would be one more than me, though apparently their ace starter Tyler Johnson threw 229 pitches last weekend - and you were complaining about Gausman throwing 130).
LSU plays their best under the brightest lights. We live for postseason play and huge series on national TV against other major powers. This series has letdown written all over it, and let's be honest, this LSU team isn't good enough to overlook anybody.
LSU beat Oregon St. based on matching the Beavers intensity. OSU's won more College World Series than LSU recently, so there was no chance we were gonna take them lightly. We viewed OSU as an equal, played them like an equal, and were fortunate to win two straight against them. If LSU keeps that attitude, then Stony Brook is in trouble. But if anyone thinks this series is gonna be easy, well, then we will be meeting Miami on a golf course somewhere.
This is a team that thrives on emotion. It has a stuffed monkey, a pitcher who shotguns powdered donuts, and a knack for late inning heroics. Those heroics depend on emotions which are hard to summon under the noon sun in Louisiana. This team, this crowd, have to stay focused and keep up the intensity in what promises to be some ugly weather, far away from the spotlight.
Because making the Supers isn't good enough. Hell, making it to Omaha might not be good enough. The good news about putting on the LSU uniforms is that you will play for titles. The bad news is that the fans now demand them. People love this team right now, but they won't if they lose to Stony Brook. We're a fickle bunch.
The softball team just finished a magical run, but it was also almost entirely with the house's money. Once LSU upset Texas A&M, the postseason was already a success. Everything else was lagniappe. Sure, it was nice the team won a game in Oklahoma City, but no one was going to think any less fondly on the team had they gone two and cue. It was a feel good run, and we knew it wasn't going to end with a title, most likely.
Baseball doesn't get that. Sorry, fellas. Omaha is the bare minimum for success, and honestly, even that's not good enough. We fired the last guy for going two and cue too many times. Think about that. We consider Smoke a miserable failure because he consistently went to Omaha without winning.
We are some unreasonable bastards.
The trade off is that we are the most unruly fans in college baseball, and we make really good food. Our love of the team may be conditional on winning, but that means we come out in full force in June. LSU gets to play before raucous home crowds who will do their damndest to intimidate the opposing team. We've got playoff atmosphere in the Box.
And the NCAA is trying to take that advantage away. At 11 AM, we'll be too hungover or too drunk to make it to the game. We'll be too hot to be raucous. We're too far away from the big stage to get up for this series.
So let's shove it in the faces. Be louder and more obnoxious than ever. Let's bring the boomstick early and often. Let's treat this like the biggest series ever played in the Box because to this team, it is. Play big. Win big.