Showing posts with label Skip Bertman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skip Bertman. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Skip explains the fundamentals

If you want a succinct, truthful answer about what ails Louisiana, you don't go to a politician. Politicians lie for a living because they have to -- because you can't handle the truth.

No, if you want to find out what's wrong with Louisiana -- what's wrong with it at its core, and what always has been wrong with it -- you go to someone who has to face facts or end up out of a job. You go to an old baseball coach.

You go to one of the best baseball coaches ever.

during the course of a 225 magazine profile of LSU's retiring AD, Skip Bertman -- the man with five College World Series titles on his resume -- the old coach tells us the problem with Looziana:

Months before his first game in purple and gold, Bertman met with Broadhead with a plan to build bigger crowds. He wanted to install 100 regular chair back seats behind home plate.

“Jeez, Skip, that costs a lot of money,” the A.D. said.

“No, I’m going to make money,” Bertman shot back. “The seats cost $40, and I’m going to sell them for $100.”

Eventually Broadhead conceded. Bertman went on to double attendance that first year (and for several years afterward until LSU led the nation in attendance his final six seasons). “Broadhead came back at the end of the season and said, ‘Why don’t you put in some more?’” Bertman recalls with a sly smile.

For a former catcher, Bertman acts an awful lot like a closer. He had to do an incredible amount of convincing that first season, and years later his clashes with Joe Dean became underground legends in LSU circles. In a lot of ways he still believes his mission is to change minds. And he will need that instinct as a fundraiser, because, from his bosses to his players, from the governor to the maintenance crew that chafed under his daily calls for updates on Alex Box, Bertman has noticed something about Louisiana: Mediocrity is accepted.

“When the past governor and the one before her say, ‘We want to get to the Southern average,’ I think, ‘Our goal is to be average?’” Bertman says. “I’m not putting them down, and I understand what they mean, but you can imagine how that sounds to me. I’m not saying I could be governor and not have to say that, but in baseball I could do it.” Bertman recalls having to convince his 1984 team that they were unique and capable of achieving their goals. Two years later LSU finished fifth in the country, and by then all his players had to do for a confidence boost was put on the uniform.
NOBODY'S SAID it better. Nobody.

"Our goal is to be average?"