Anyone following the College World Series on Twitter on Monday night ran into an uncharacteristically tweet-happy Les Miles.
The LSU football coach was at Game 2 to cheer on fellow Southeastern Conference member South Carolina as it tried to avoid elimination at the hands of Arizona. Miles was in Omaha, Neb., with his family to attend the U.S. Olympic Swimming and Diving Trials for which his daughter, Smacker, had qualified though she was unable to compete because of a shoulder injury.
Miles spoke with LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette on Monday afternoon and told him how much he was enjoying the trials.
“I told him, ‘This stuff is great, coach. You should tweet some of this to your followers,’ ” Bonnette said Tuesday, “and, boy, he ran with it.”
Miles, who had barely 400 tweets in the more than three years he has been on Twitter, sent out more than two dozen tweets, most coming in rapid-fire fashion during the late innings of the baseball game.
The tweets began slowly as Miles had trouble getting online at the pool and texted a few thoughts that Bonnette tweeted in his name.
“Olympic Trials. Beautiful pool a lot of swim families pool side! Years of effort represented! Proud to be here with my daughter,” was the first tweet in the middle of the afternoon, followed by “Olympic Trials. Congrats to all swimmers here. Only great achievement is represented!! Awesome to be able to experience this with Smacker.”
Little did anyone know, Miles was just getting warmed up. A few hours later, he and the family went to TD Ameritrade Ballpark for Game 2 of the CWS. Arizona had won the first game of the best-of-three series 5-1 Sunday night.
Miles announced his arrival at TD Ameritrade Park, as well as his allegiance: “Catching the end of CWS ... Play at second looked like GameCock was safe!!” followed by “Walked to CWS great steal and on to 3rd rooting for game 3 ....Geaux GameCocks!!!”
Over the last few innings Miles unleashed tweets questioning umpire’s calls, commenting on plays and encouraging the two-time defending champion Gamecocks: “Glad replay showed correct call!!” … “Still want game 3!!!” … “Right behind home plate plus 30 rows! Hit good pitch!!” … “Clutch.Big rip...Game Cocks in bind !” … “Big out minimize the damage!!” … “Good pitch” … “Arizona tough tonight!!” … “Now right behind the plate!! Enjoying family and game!! Need base runners !!”
South Carolina went to the bottom of the ninth, trailing 4-1, and put together a rally that loaded the bases with one out.
“Nice single to start the inning!!” Miles tweeted. The Gamecocks baserunner stole second as the Wildcats catcher didn’t bother to throw. “No throw to second!!” Miles tweeted.
Miles then seemed to slip into coaching mode: “Just good GameCock at bats!! Now another base runner!!!”
But the second South Carolina batter made the first out, prompting an “Ouch” from Miles. He tweeted “Strike zone ??” and “Consistent balls and strikes!!! Bases loaded!!” as the next two Gamecocks batters walked.
“Just good at bats!! Geaux SC!!” Miles tweeted, followed by, “Nice change of speed then smoke!!”
When the Arizona second baseman snared a line drive for the second out and nearly doubled a runner off second, which would have ended the game, Miles reacted: “Great defensive gem by 2b.”
Then came, “Pitcher started with same change of speed!!” before Arizona got the final out and ended South Carolina’s and the SEC’s reign over college baseball.
“Congrats Arizona. Played a great game,” Miles tweeted, followed by, “Great Team, congrates (sic) to Arizona!!”
Miles’ tweets brought a high volume of re-tweets and responses from throughout the Twitter universe.
One self-described SEC fan tweeted, “Tweets by @LSUCoachMiles made the CWS bareable (sic) this evening.”
A reporter who covers the SEC tweeted, “I wish @LSUCoachMiles would pick 1 TV show a week and livetweet during it. No matter the show, I’m there.”
A member of the Baton Rouge media tweeted, “Honestly it was more fun following @LSUCoachMiles live tweet that 9th inning than watching the game itself.”
A sports website tweeted, “Someone hire @LSUCoachMiles as a social media consultant. Let him live-tweet everything.”
Even Bonnette jumped in during the peak of Miles’ tweeting: “If this CWS game goes much longer @LSUCoachMiles will either be coaching third or calling pitches for #SouthCarolina.”
Others said Miles’ tweeting was “pretty great,” and “sublime”, and an assistant football coach at a Big 12 school said he “thoroughly enjoyed” Miles’ commentary.
One tweeter noted that Miles’ volume of tweets was unusually high, adding “I could get used to this.” Another said Miles “dominated” her Twitter feed, leading her to wonder if his account had been “hacked.”
The reaction to Miles’ tweeting continued into Tuesday as Kyle Peterson, who did the color commentary for ESPN’s broadcast, tweeted that the coach’s play-by-play tweeting was “solid.”
Bonnette said he spoke with Miles on Tuesday to tell him about the positive reaction.
“He said that so many times he’s between the white lines and it was fun for him to sit and watch two teams and be a fan,” Bonnette said. “He was just like anybody else in the stands or watching at home who was on Twitter. I think the emotion he showed was the same as what a lot of other people felt.”
Miles certainly has a large audience with nearly 70,000 followers, though — just like the Dalai Lama, as one tweeter noted — he follows no one.
But as all tweeters eventually discover, you can’t please all of the followers all of the time.
At the height of the coach’s tweeting frenzy, an Auburn fan tweeted, “WOULD SOMEONE SHUT @LSUCoachMiles UP!!!!!”
When you think of fun in the sun, especially on the eve of the regular season, you don’t usually think about college football coaches.
Miles, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Auburn coach Gene Chizik are scheduled to take time out of their busy preseason schedules to participate in the inaugural SEC BeachFest, Aug. 23-26 in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala.
In addition to the three BCS championship coaches, former SEC coaches and players will make appearances throughout the festival and take part in an interactive Q&A with fans leading up to the new season.
Former coaches Pat Dye of Auburn, Gene Stallings of Alabama, Vince Dooley of Georgia and Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee are all scheduled to attend.
ESPNU will host an SEC preview show from Gulf Shores. There will also be live music a golf scramble, 5K run, a Fanfest area and a display of the BCS coaches’ trophy.
Though some information, like a daily schedule, remains to be announced, fans can check out the event website at www.secbeachfest.com.
contributed to this report.
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