Notes on a baseball scorecard as we reflect on this baseball season, Skip Bertman, and wonder where in the world is Zeph Zinsman ...
... What an unusual week for LSU baseball. So little to play for, and yet so much.
It’s rare that a team can be in a position to accomplish such great things and yet come into the final act of the regular season and really have nothing major at stake.
The Tigers can’t win the Southeastern Conference. They can’t lose first place in the SEC West, or the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.
They probably couldn’t even lose their vise grip on an all-important top-eight national seed by going 0-for-4 on the week (which won’t happen thanks to LSU’s comfortable 11-2 win Tuesday night over the University of New Orleans).
Even the weekend series against Ole Miss is a backdrop to a 20-year reunion of LSU’s second College World Series championship team and the dedication of Alex Box Stadium’s diamond as Skip Bertman Field.
The only important thing the Tigers can lose this week is their edge. The main task this week is to set up everything just right for the postseason, hence Aaron Nola’s right arm being immobilized until he throws in LSU’s SEC tournament opener next Wednesday.
... How important even is winning the SEC tournament for the Tigers’ NCAA seeding? Maybe not that significant at all. But if you’re a superstitious person, it’s worth remembering that LSU has never won a College World Series without first winning the SEC regular season and/or SEC tournament title.
... Speaking of the SEC tournament, it’s a great event, and Hoover, Ala., is a fine town (no, Lt. Dan, Forrest Gump is not from there), but the conference does its fans a disservice by not making their annual baseball feast a movable one — at least sometimes.
There are too many good/great minor league ballparks in which to play the SEC tournament not to see them get a shot once in awhile. AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn., is at the top of the list. Not far behind is Steinbrenner Field (formerly Legends Field) in Tampa, Fla., the spring training home of the New York Yankees.
There wouldn’t be any empty seats at Zephyr Field — at least when LSU is playing. And what a thrill it would be for SEC players to take their hacks at Turner Field in Atlanta or Houston’s Minute Maid Park or Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
... Unfortunately, the SEC is set in its ways when it comes to its baseball tournament — the same way it is about football permanent opponents and its baseball series rules. What sense did it make for LSU and Texas A&M to play a seven-inning game Saturday after Friday’s rain delay when both teams had all Sunday to play? None at all, that’s what.
... Holy Google, Zeph Zinsman has been found. A player on Bertman’s final team in 2001, he’s in his native San Jose, Calif., working as a hitting instructor.
... Anyone heard from Albert Belle? I’m sure he’d love to share this weekend with Bertman. Not.