In the wake of a season-ending, heartbreaking defeat, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri gave some of the usual postgame remarks.
He was proud of his team and how it fought against eventual national champion Florida. He spoke about the wonderful achievement of his team after the Tigers reached the seventh College World Series final in program history.
But he also touched beyond the normal. Mainieri dove into a conversation he and his wife shared last summer, when she mentioned the possibility of a national championship providing a rallying cry and healing to a city that had seen terrible flooding, the shooting of Alton Sterling and shootings of police officers.
“I never forgot that she said that,” Mainieri said. “I don’t really talk about it that much with the players, but in my heart [it] was something we really wanted to do. And even though we came up a little bit short, two victories short, I think we did a lot of things this year to make the people in our community proud and our state proud.
“But I know these players to my right and all the players in that clubhouse gave it everything that they had.”
The Tigers came up short, falling twice to Florida in the final round of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. But they did put together an incredible season, sparked in large part by four seniors who elected to return to try and win a national championship together.
“We represent a wonderful state and I wish we could have finished the job,” Mainieri said. “I hope that the people of Louisiana and in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, et cetera, are proud of our team. I think they should be. They’re a great group of kids. They’re wonderful young men. And this is just the cruelty of what we do. … We came up a little short, but we’re very, very proud.”
You can watch Mainieri’s remarks here, with the comments on Baton Rouge starting at the 1:45 mark.