What a weekend. Which, I guess I could say that after most weekends in this town but, yeah, St. Paddy’s weekend in New Orleans is a doozy. Especially when Super Sunday falls on the same weekend. Thank heavens for all of the parades and festivities, too, as the Crescent City has been a veritable parade desert these last two weeks since it’s last blow out party, that little event known as Mardi Gras.
However, the holiday dedicated to everything Irish wasn’t at the top o’ my mind this past weekend as I attended a holiday in itself — a crawfish boil. While standing there watching my homey Bill boil those bubbles containing delicious crustaceans, I thought about how Crawfish Boils are also like sports.
And, dear friends, that is what is known as a segue.
Crawfish boils, unfortunately, have a season. At the end of the season I am mad. At the end of the college basketball season, we have March Madness.
I never really thought about how the term March Madness applies so beautifully to this time of year until I moved to New Orleans. The first year, and this year, I lived here Mardi Gras day fell in the month of March and then, of course, I soon discovered that St. Paddy’s Day wasn’t a day at all but really a long weekend. Right about then I discovered that Super Sunday had nothing to do with football. Like I said, madness.
Be that as it may, the rest of the country (I assume because I was out and about) eagerly awaited the announcement of the NCAA brackets. On the local front, the LSU Tigers, coming off a regular season in which they won the SEC, got a three seed in the East regional. It’s been a great season for the Tigers, who return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015.
The opening weekend of March Madness is always a great time and everyone, unless their own fave team is playing, is pulling for the underdogs. Last year, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, became the first 16-seed to knock off a number one-seed (Virginia). The Retrievers (awesome name alert!) of UMBC won’t be back this year but if you see a team like Gardner-Webb or Iona trending on your favorite social media outlet get thee to the TV (or website) and act like you’ve been cheering for the Runnin’ Bulldogs (Gardner-Webb) or Gaels (Iona) since day one. Rooting hard for an underdog I know nothing about is one of the best pastimes in sports.
You’ve got to give it to the school from Baton Rouge; they love the drama. Whether it’s the manic highs and lows of the football season or the “we should always win the championship every year” mentality in baseball, the Purple and Gold really know how to add that spice. Usually, folks get to take a rest during basketball season but not this year. Coach Will Wade put together the best LSU basketball team in ages. Unfortunately, he won’t be coaching his team as LSU has suspended the coach after he was allegedly caught via a wiretap talking about things coaches should never be heard talking about AKA paying college prospects to sign with the university.
It’s sort of like Boilin’ Bill this weekend telling me that the second crawfish kit’s propane tank was failing. It was a really tough moment in our lives as Boilin’ Bill was sitting there looking at these beautiful crawfish just itching to be boiled but, just like that, trouble loomed.
Boilin’ Bill obviously overcame the obstacles beautifully but, barring a miracle, I can’t say Will Wade can do the same.
UNO and Tulane baseball
Neither one of these teams could be considered boiling at this point but, on the other hand, their season isn’t boiled, either.
The UNO Privateers (11-7) dropped their second weekend series in a row, losing two games at Northwestern State in their Southland Conference opener. UNO got another outstanding performance from Belle Chasse’s Chris Turpin in the Privateers only win of the series. Turpin only gave up two runs in seven innings and struck out eight. He is now 3-0 with an ERA of 2.05.
Unfortunately the Privateers have been completely blown out in the previous two weeks’ rubber matches. On the other hand, earlier in the week, the Privateers got a big win over Louisiana-Lafayette and hope to continue that mid-week success when they play two games versus South Alabama this Tuesday and Wednesday night.
In Uptown, Tulane (13-7) got two impressive pitching performances from Kaleb Roper and Chase Solesky in wins that gave the Green Wave a much-needed series victory. In Game One, Roper only gave up one run over 6.2 innings in a 10-1 blowout over UC-Riverside. In the rubber match, Solesky absolutely owned the Highlanders, pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out 11.
Tulane hosts another big game against Louisiana-Lafayette this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Please feel free to contact me here, on Twitter or by email if you are having a crawfish boil and need my assistance in eating them! Believe me, I’m available!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Abita Brewing’s “Louisiana Spiced” Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Flogging Molly – “Worst Day Since Yesterday”
Around the Way
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know I love me some horse racin’. So, mark it down, the $1 million Louisiana Derby returns this Saturday at the Fair Grounds.
War of Will will go off as the heavy favorite after winning both Louisiana Derby prep races, the Lacomte Stakes and Risen Star Stakes. He seems to be in a class of his own but some intriguing options (at good prices) are Spinoff, sired by one of my all-time faves Hard Spun, and trained by Todd Pletcher (who won the race last year with Noble Indy). And, if you’re the type that bets by just picking a funny name then you’ll obviously want to check out Hog Creek Hustle.
With all of that said, if I get Sueno, a horse that has already competed in stake races at Santa Anita and Oaklawn Park, at 8-1 I’m loading up. See you at the rail.