From the Bird’s Nest: Prelude to the Sun Belt Tournament
Well, it's back to Monroe.
And, it got bad before I got to Opelousas.
My cell phone rings and it's Bab.
Now, I've known Anthony Babineaux for the better part of twenty years. And, he's usually pretty upbeat when we speak.
But he didn't sound great.
"Um, Jay....look, I gotta give ya a heads up and I'm sorry about the heads up...."
What the heck.
Let me digress and say that Bab, when he makes travel arrangements for the team, also makes hotel reservations for me. It saves me time, insures that I'm with the team and also insures that I get the team's room rate.
"....they messed up our reservations at the Courtyard and we can't stay there tonight. We're good to go starting Wednesday."
Okay, where are we staying?
"Um, Motel 6 in West Monroe."
Now, I'm a roll with the flow kind of guy. He gave me the address and the phone number. My only concern was internet access but the kind lady at the hotel told me I wouldn't have a problem.
So, it was off to Tom Bodette-land.
It was actually a fairly new property and the folks were very kind when I got there and checked in. I got a text from Bab:
How is it.
Hey, Bab, it's everything Tom Bodette says it is. A clean comfortable room. It had clean sheets, hot water, the television worked and the internet signal was strong. What more can you ask for?
I probably wouldn't want to stay there all week, but it was no big deal for just one night.
I did a little work and then headed out to the park for "Family Night." The Academic Awards and all-conference awards were to be handed out, there would be a home run hitting contest and then a fireworks display.
There were quite a few student-athletes honored for academic achievement. Seven Cajuns were named
to the honor roll and Matt Goulas, Alex Fuselier and Michael Cook were named to the Commissioner's list. You have to have at least a 3.5 to be on that list. Cook is especially impressive. He's an engineering major.
Lance Marvel picked up his All-Conference Award. I'm still trying to figure out how Mike Petello was ignored.
Petello took part in the home run contest. His team, with Todd Baumgartner of ASU, Jabari Henry of FIU and Brent Tanner of USA defeated Alex Spano of FAU, Ryan Hutchinson of WKU, Boone Shear of Troy and Justin Barnes of UALR.
Baumgartner was especially impressive. He hit 15 homers in the first
round and twenty overall. Petello wound up with eleven total. Henry had a dozen, including eight in the last round, when the players only got six outs.
The fireworks show was impressive.
I mentioned in a previous blog that ULM has a new scoreboard/video board. What I didn't mention is the protective screen hasn't been installed yet. That means the new video board is exposed to a long ball. Needless to say, Jeff Schexnaider was holding his breath last night during the home run contest. I thought Petello was going
to hit his picture last night, but his home run cleared the video board.
Hitting the video board would not be a good thing for ULM.
Well, now it's time to play. FAU and WKU get it started at 11am Wednesday, followed by FIU/ASU and Troy/UALR.
Let the games begin.