lsu baseball3

So LSU has been eliminated from the 2013 College World Series.

Casual fans from across the country will yawn and go about their business. Locals know LSU’s exit means the tourney won’t be as spicy as it could have been.

For the most part, Omaha does a pretty good job of being impartial when it comes to welcoming and rooting for the incoming teams each year. Even Texas, Nebraska’s still-hated and once-upper-echelon Big 12 rival, gets a favorable reception each time they arrive.

But LSU is different. And don’t ask me to explain why.

When I was in my late teens and early 20s, my friends and I frequented the CWS — and especially the weekend games. Gates would open at 12:30 p.m. We’d be down at Rosenblatt Stadium before 8 a.m. The reason was strictly to tailgate with future friends. It didn’t matter who was involved — Texas, Georgia, Arizona State, Wichita State, Creighton, Nebraska, Miami, USC. LSU, whenever they were there, was the main draw. The tailgate food was outstanding, the people friendly, the atmosphere as laid back as you can imagine from such a rabid fan base.

I marveled back then, and I marvel today. Honestly, the LSU fandom is virtually the same in its willingness to reach out to the casual Omaha visitor and the longstanding Omaha resident alike, and there’s almost no difference in the quality of the food or the passion they once brought to South Omaha and now to TD Ameritrade.

Personally, I think Omaha is drawn to the unique Southern charm brought north by LSU faithful, although it could easily be the easy Louisiana party style…a little Bourbon Street on 13th Street.

Maybe it’s just all the cool French names.

Whatever the reason, some of the CWS buzz in Omaha is less loud with LSU headed home.