I’m sitting here watching the end of LSU Baseball‘s season. They made it to the College World Series tournament in Omaha again, and once again they got knocked out of the event in what people are already calling embarrassing fashion. I have to admit I have been yelling at my TV off and on over the past several innings. I am not a die-hard purple and gold fanatic, but I do watch them every post season. I watch my friends lose their minds what seems like every year when the Bayou Bengals have the inevitable meltdown.
Once it was clear that LSU had begun the path to elimination social media exploded with calls for LSU Baseball coach Paul Mainieri to be fired. The arguments are consistent and clear. While the program has reached the post season, and is arguably one of the top 10 baseball programs in the country, it seems like for a majority of fans, this is not a successful enough program.
No one likes losing, but what benchmarks are the right ones to determine a successful team? Is it just the win-loss record? How many players are all-stars? How about how many times the team goes to the post season? Maybe it should be how far the team is successful in the post season? Maybe the only true sign is winning it all? No matter where the bar is set the team will eventually not be able to cross it. The fact is no matter how well coached, or how deep the roster there will be seasons that do not live up to the expectations that are set for them.
Today’s spotlight is on LSU Baseball, but this same criteria is applied to every team, college or professional. Here in Louisiana, You hear the same calls when something goes wrong with all the college football teams, The Saints, The Pelicans, The Zephyrs, and even my beloved UNO Privateers. There is always a desire to see your team(s) excel every season.
When the team starts to have issues, every aspect of the team is called into question. In the era of instant media, it is dissected a million different ways by every expert, from the “armchair expert” to the guys that have done it all, no angle is left unexplored.
This exhaustive dissection causes even the die-hard fan to begin to question the success of their favorite team(s). Does’t matter that they have been a consistent part of their league’s post season. It is forgotten that they have sent a group of players to the pros annually, or that a bunch of the players on this squad become all-stars every year. None of that matters when the team falls short of that championship.
This doesn’t mean there should never be any criticism of the team’s performance. It doesn’t mean the managers should not be constantly working to improve the players, coaches, and team overall. The only way to make a product that remains consistent is to work to improve it every chance you get. The only way to get those championships, to become a dynasty is to never accept that you are “as good as it gets.” Look at any successful person, they got that way because instead of giving up or being satisfied, they strive to constantly evolve, to be better than they were last time, and they are never happy with good enough.
While we all scream at the TV at the apparent meltdown of the team tonight, the players, and the coaches are sitting there beating themselves up trying to figure out what went wrong. They are already working through how to overcome the issues that brought them to tonight’s loss, and to the end of another season that has fallen short. While we as fans are disappointed, the people on the team are devastated. Winning teams take the heartache and disappointment and turn it into drive and motivation to work harder, push further, and become a better team.
While LSU has ended their 2015 baseball season, I promise you that the work to be a better team in 2016 has already begun. The Saints are a great example of this constant evolution. Seems like they never stop working on finding better players, or trying new concepts in an attempt to be a better team. Sometimes it works, and others (like last season) we all sit there yelling at the TV.