Showing posts with label Tiger Stadium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tiger Stadium. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Alabama trashes the LSU Tigers and tailgaters trash the LSU campus: How about bloody marys for brunch?

Number 1 ranked University of Alabama trashed Number 3 ranked LSU on LSU's home field last night.  About 200,000 people were on hand for the debacle: 102,000 in the stadium and another 100,000 tailgaters. The score was 29 to 0. LSU's star field-goal kicker made one attempt for 3 points, but he missed.

In the hours leading up to the game, tailgaters were packed shoulder to shoulder around the stadium, making the campus look something like a Civil War army camp. Portapotties and trash cans were overwhelmed, and picnickers squatted on the sidewalks because there was no room for them on the lawns.

On the morning after game day, the crowds were gone, save for a few dozen recreational vehicles (each costing about a quarter of million). Shades were drawn in the RVs, but the generators were running, so the owners must have been inside, sleeping off their hangovers.

And shortly after dawn, the cleanup crews were out early picking up thousands of discarded beer cans, plastic cups, and styrofoam fast-food containers. LSU used to hire prison trustees to do this work, but the optics were bad. This morning, young people are picking up the trash, perhaps LSU student volunteers.

Big disappointment. If only LSU could have knocked off Alabama and its satanic football coach, Nick Saban. If LSU coach Ed Ogeron had pulled it off, the fans would certainly have erected a statue in his honor, a statue even larger and gaudier than the one Alabama installed for Saban. But it was not to be.

No matter. Lots of Baton Rouge restaurants offer Bloody Mary brunches on Sunday, and it least one restaurant includes all-you-can drink mimosas for folks nursing hangovers.  And then the Saints play the Rams on Sunday afternoon--an opportunity to drink Bud Lites and eat chicken fingers--chicken fingers that Coach Ogeron personally endorses.

Fall is the season of bacchanal in South Louisiana. Let's get drunk for every LSU game, every Saints game, and every playoff game.  Let's get drunk at the fraternity hazing exercises. After all, hardly anyone dies from alcohol poisoning.

And then spring comes--another season of bacchanal. Mardis Gras parades start at least two weeks before Fat Tuesday, and the St. Patrick's Day parade is another occasion for a huge town drunk. The garbage trucks follow closely behind the St. Patrick's Day floats, sweeping up the discarded beads and beer bottles.

A friend told me he attended a Mardis Gras parade in New Orleans a few years ago. A drunk driver, driving a beer truck as it happened, plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing a woman who was pinned under the vehicle. My friend said he saw revelers crawl under the truck and loot the woman's Mardis Gras beads. The corpse was still warm.

Fox Business Report assures us daily that the economy is booming with record-low unemployment and a robust growth in wages. In Baton Rouge, people drive around in late-model luxury cars and pack the restaurants every night.

Cheaply built apartment complexes are being thrown up willy nilly for LSU students in the flood plain next to the Mississippi River levees. They feature swimming pools, and enormous television screens in the common areas. Meanwhile LSU passed a rule requiring most first-year students to live on campus, and it built its own faux-luxury residence halls to accommodate them.

But in North Baton Rouge, weekend killings are routine. A six-year-old was shot dead a couple of days ago, and thirteen-year-old was arrested.  Baton Rouge schools are a mess, and almost no one of means will put their children in a public school.

The rich go to private schools, and the less well-to-do buy inexpensive homes in adjoining parishes where the schools are better. They drive to work every morning on Interstate 10, which is a parking lot from 7:30 AM until about 10 AM on workdays.

But the commute is not so bad. You can check your cell phone when the traffic grinds to a halt or listen to Stuart Varney on Fox Business Report tell you how much money we're all making in the stock market.


Nick Saban's statue at University of Alabama
Photo credit: David Mercer, USA Today




Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's All About the Money: Louisiana State University, Coached by Fried Chicken Huckster Les Miles, Whipped Sam Houston State By a Score of 56-0

Louisiana State University's varsity football program brings big money to the local Baton Rouge economy.  The liquor store not far from my home opens at 6:00 AM on days when LSU plays at home: 6:00 AM! A Baton Rouge citizen who bought his bourbon at that hour yesterday had a solid 12 hours to drink before kickoff at 6:30 in the evening.  So the liquor business makes good money off of LSU football.

And the restaurants and hotels also make money when LSU plays at home. According to The Baton Rouge Advocate, room rates go up by an average of 34 percent on the weekends that LSU plays in Tiger Stadium. 



Other sectors of the Baton Rouge economy benefit as well.  LSU added 10,000 seats to its stadium last year at the cost of $80 million, making Tiger Stadium one of the largest college football coliseums in the country. It also added two high definition video screens that are so large that they can be seen from the Interstate 10 bridge over the Mississippi River. 

But the big money goes to the coaches and athletic administrators. Les Miles, LSU's head football coach, makes $4.3 million a year, about five times what LSU's president makes; and that doesn't include bonuses and and any product endorsement deals Miles might pick up.  His face has appeared on advertisements for Raising Cane, a regional fried chicken chain, and I'm sure Les didn't lend his mug for free.

Joe Alleva, LSU's Athletic Director, is another guy who makes a handsome salary. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Alleva has been offered a contract extension that calls for  a $725,000 yearly salary and includes incentive bonuses that could push his annual pay to $900,000.  He will get a $100,000 bonus if LSU ranks in the top 5 in the NACDA Directors' Cup rankings--whatever that means.  And Alleva will get an additional $25,000 if he maintains "financial solvency, no major infractions, [and makes] substantial contributions to [the] university and surrounding community" (as quoted in The Baton Rouge Advocate).  What nonsense.

Of course, university professors have groused about the salaries of football coaches for as long as I can remember, and it's been at least 30 years since football coaches first began making more money than university presidents.

In fact, almost everyone in higher education admits that varsity sports--and football in particular--is all about the money. Still, LSU's home field opener last night was a particularly disgusting spectacle. It has become traditional for the nation's top college football teams to open their seasons by playing weak opponents who are lured into the stadiums by getting a share of the gate. This year, Sam Houston State University obligingly volunteered to be the sacrificial lamb, and got trounced before a crowd of about 100,000 fans (not counting thousands of fans who tailgated on the LSU campus yesterday).

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported this massacre on the sports page in headlines so  big you would have thought Les Miles had defeated ISIS.

Some day, of course, all these enormous college football stadiums will stand empty, just as the old Roman coliseums now do. People will wonder just what it was that people saw in watching young men assault each other on a field of artificial turf, just as we wonder why the Romans enjoyed seeing Christians being devoured by lions.

But for now, as Robert Earl Keen put it, "the road goes on forever and the party never ends."The executive sky boxes are full of wealthy businessmen who watch football games while sipping bourbon, and rich donors make tax-deductible contributions to LSU's three foundations, which have annual revenues totalling $100 million.  Who cares that Louisiana's educational system is crumbling and that almost half of Louisiana's children who start first grade never graduate from high school. All that matters, as LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva phrased it,  is that LSU be "in the hunt" to win football championships.

References

Ross Dellenger. LSU proposes 3-year contract extension for Alleva. The Baton Rouge Advocate, September 7, 2014, p. 17C.

Scott Rabalais. Highlight Night. The Baton Rouge Advocate, September 7,2014, p. 1C.

Roar Of Approval. Baton Rouge Advocate, September 7, 2014 p. 1A.

Gary Laney. Les Miles Staying at LSU. ESPN, November 28, 2012.  Available at: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8687452/les-miles-remain-football-coach-lsu-tigers-receive-extension-raise