One look around TD Ameritrade Park on game day in Omaha, Neb., shows a sea of purple hats and gold T-shirts occupying the bleachers.
Even if the Tigers aren’t playing, LSU fans crowd into the confines of the stadium and take their seats among the outfield stands. They’re here not just for the Bayou Bengals — they’re in the building for baseball.
They come from all corners of the “Pelican State,” and they’ve been making their ways to Nebraska for decades now.
Take John Marie and Mike Serio from New Orleans as a prime example. The two friends have ventured out to Omaha for 18 and 19 years, respectively, and the trip never appears to get old for their group.
“I’ve been here every time LSU has played here since 1989,” Serio said. “We flew up, and we’ve got some friends who came up here. The only way I haven’t come up here is via horseback. We’re going to be around.”
The two even attended Sunday morning mass in Omaha, and after receiving blessings from the local priest, they began setting up purple tents and tailgating roughly 200 yards from the stadium.
Marie and Serio gushed about Omaha, but not because of baseball.
“We’ve made great friends, and people love us,” Marie said. “We go to restaurants, and everybody knows us. The parish priest was in there eating, and he said, ‘Man, I’ve been praying for you guys.’ It’s great.”
Several locals noted how LSU fans tend to bring a sense of Louisiana hospitality. Passing through the tailgates, Louisiana natives would regularly wave onlookers to join their tailgates and offer anything from fried shrimp po-boys to oysters and cold beer.
Omaha is sometimes referred to as “Alex Box North,” considering the Tigers have made a number of College World Series appearances over the years. It appears to be a loving relationship between the locals and the southern visitors.
Charlie Radcliff, a native of Zachary, La., has made the trek to Omaha since 1996. He pointed out that meeting new people is half the Omaha experience.
“The people are as friendly as we are, and you couldn’t meet a nicer group of people,” Radcliff said. “We bring up [the food] to cook it up and to share. That’s how we met the first time tailgating with each other. They shared with us and we shared with them.”
Radcliff noted that Omaha is a baseball town, so it’s easy to connect with baseball people.
“Each year we just made more friends,” he said. “Even as things changed, we’d move to a new spot and make a new set of friends. The city is great and the people can’t get any better.”