Bayou Bengal Briefing: Welcome to Eric Walker Day, LSU fans
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football with beat writer Alex Hickey. Today we discuss LSU pitcher Eric Walker, the College World Series, Father’s Day and a Louisiana rock n’ roll legend.
LSU baseball: Eric Walker gets back on the hill
The last time LSU baseball fans saw Eric Walker, it was a very pleasant experience.
Walker was sublime in the regional championship against Rice on June 4, pitching into the ninth inning of LSU’s 5-0 win. In 8-plus innings, he allowed no runs on seven hits and no walks with a career-high eight strikeouts sprinkled in.
It was even better than his showing in the SEC tournament championship game, which at the time seemed like it would be pretty impossible to top. Walker had eight strikeouts in that one too, allowing a run on five hits in 7.2 innings against Arkansas.
Walker didn’t get a chance to show what he can do in the Super Regional since LSU swept Mississippi State, but it’s easy to see why Paul Mainieri would have trusted him in a Game 3 situation. When the stakes raise, Walker seems to take his game up another notch.
So don’t be surprised if you see another eight-strikeout performance from Walker again when the Tigers face Oregon State tonight in Game 2 of the College World Series. Maybe he’ll even have nine in him after getting an extra week of rest.
Of course, there’s also the glass half-empty view of things.
Pitchers like routine, and Walker is out of his after not pitching last week. It’s possible that he will struggle given the layoff. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
LSU baseball: A cause for excitement
Everyone is pretty excited about the College World Series right now, and for good reason.
There might not be a more grateful fan at the moment than Rep. Steve Scalise. The Congressman from Jefferson Parish is in the hospital after surviving an assassination attempt last week, but made sure to watch Saturday’s comeback win over Florida State.
Steve is watching @LSUbaseball, rooting hard for a big Tigers win tonight! #CWS #LSU ⚾️
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) June 18, 2017
Former Tiger Alex Bregman is obviously invested in the team. He was on the roster when LSU made its most recent trip to Omaha in 2015. Bregman shouted out catcher Mike Papierski, who hit a solo home run, and Paul “P-Money” Mainieri following the Game 1 win.
How good has @mpappy14 been??? And tip of the cap to how P$ managed that game.
— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) June 18, 2017
Rally beach balls are apparently now a thing
The hero of LSU’s 5-4 Game 1 win over Florida State? A beach ball.
LSU’s eighth-inning rally began after a slight delay when an errant beach ball made its way out of the right field bleachers and onto the playing surface.
The Advocate’s Scott Rabalais caught up with Mike Anderson, the LSU fan whose sheer incompetence at bouncing a beach ball to his children has turned him into an accidental folk hero.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Anderson isn’t the one getting the credit here. It’s the Rally Beach Ball itself, which in the great tradition of revered inanimate objects now has its very own Twitter account.
As of Sunday night Rally Beachball nearly had as many followers as the author of this piece, who will now beg his parents to forgive him for shaming the family name.
Father’s Day, LSU-style
Unless you’re a deadbeat child, you’re probably aware that Sunday was Father’s Day.
So as could be expected, LSU Twitter was abuzz with various posts by appreciative sons and daughters. The LSU football team also made a pretty cool Father’s Day video. Here you can see DJ Chark, Blake Ferguson, KJ Malone, John Battle, Danny Etling, Will Clapp, Darrel Williams, JD Moore, Greg Gilmore, Christian LaCouture thanking their dads.
Though Malone’s dad is certainly the most famous of the bunch — NBA Hall of Famer Karl — Clapp tells the best story of the bunch.
"I wouldn't be where I'm at without you, dad."Happy Father's Day from #LSU Football!#FathersDay pic.twitter.com/1fOnxVoFmI
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) June 18, 2017
The New York Jets also made a nifty Father’s Day tribute to one of their newest players, ex-LSU great Jamal Adams. Adams’ dad George played for the Giants, who share a stadium with the Jets, in the 1980s. The Jets drafted Adams with the sixth pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Like father, like son.#HappyFathersDay pic.twitter.com/Tsh3uyxala
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 18, 2017
LSU football likes to call itself “NFLSU” for the pipeline of players like Adams that it sends to the NFL.
In that vein, apparently Ferriday (La.) High School can start calling itself “LSUHS.”
Ferriday, just a blip across the Mississippi River from Natchez, Miss., is now the home of two Tiger commits in the Class of 2018. This weekend defensive tackle Dare Rosenthal and athlete Dantrieze Scott both verbally pledged to attend LSU.
Ferriday is perhaps best known as the birthplace of rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, but the Tigers will hope to rock n’ roll with Rosenthal and Scott in two years.
Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
Since we’re on the subject, you might as well watch this manic performance by Lewis on a 1957 episode of the Steve Allen Show.
It’s impossible to overstate how important a figure he is in rock history. Without Lewis, you could easily argue there might not end up being an Elton John or a Dr. John or any other artist you can think of that can play the piano/keyboard in outrageous fashion. It can even be argued that the energy Lewis brought to the stage while pounding his instrument lit the slow spark that inspired bands to play as loudly as possible, giving us everything from Led Zeppelin to punk rock.
Today in real holidays
You may have noticed today’s column was not written by its usual author, Nick Suss. That’s because Nick is busy covering the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. while I hang out with my pet cat. Since Nick has quite a bit more work to do as a result of this, I will be taking the helm of the Bayou Bengal Briefing for this week — and depending on how well the Tigers play, possibly next.
But I will keep one of Nick’s column staples alive in his honor: this day in made-up holidays. However, the made-up part will have to wait. June 19th happens to be a very real holiday in the African-American community.
Today is Juneteenth, which recognizes the end of slavery in the United States. Rather than commemorating the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, the holiday remembers June 19, 1865 — the day Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and declared a General Order freeing all slaves in Texas. (Isolated at the time, Texas was the last Confederate holdout following Robert E. Lee’s formal surrender at Appomattox in April).
Cookouts are a staple of the holiday, so here’s a New York Times piece on some of the traditional foods for celebrating Juneteenth.
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