What Makes Alex Box Stadium Special – From the Bird’s Nest
Since it's opening in 2009, I've made a few midweek trips to Alex Box Stadium to broadcast games between Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns and the LSU Tigers. I've remarked more than once about the facility, which is second to none as far as on-campus baseball facilities are concerned.
But, I've never got to spend more than a few hours there...until the weekend when the Cajuns participated in the Baton Rouge regional. The Cajuns hadn't been sent to Baton Rouge since 2002, when LSU prevailed over the Cajuns on the final day.
With the opening of the new stadium, the covered grandstand and suites are, for the most part, filled with true baseball fans. They root like hell for the Tigers, and, at the same time, are more than willing to applaud an opposing player when he makes a good play.
They'll rib opposing fans, and then take them to the Champions Club.
Now, I'm sure the bleachers still have some fans who look at baseball with a football mentality. That's true of their attitude when the Tigers win. Or the Tigers lose. Those fans aren't baseball fans. They are LSU fans. And, just like every school, there is a difference. Those are the ones you hear the bad stories about. Hopefully in the eleven years since the Cajuns' last visit, they've learned a few things. Because they give the vast majority of LSU baseball fans a bad name.
But, all that being said, Alex Box Stadium/Skip Bertman Field was one of my best experiences I've had at an on-campus baseball facility.
It has to do with passionate fans, sure. But what sets this stadium apart from others, including the old Alex Box, are those who are being paid for their services.
I'm talking about the ticket office. I'm talking about those who man the gates and scan tickets. I'm talking about those who run the elevators. I'm talking about those who sell programs. I'm talking about ushers. I'm talking about security.
THOSE are the ones that set Alex Box Stadium apart from the others.
And, it can't possibly happen by accident.
They all smile. They greet everyone. They are all courteous. They are all knowledgeable. Whether it's a simple "good afternoon", "welcome to Alex Box," or "enjoy the game," fans who enter the stadium have at least one person who has made them feel like their presence at the ball park is valued.
I don't know how many game day workers LSU employs. My guess is, it's a bunch. And, whoever does the hiring must pay attention during the interview process. Because every person who is hired, at least the ones I met, all had something in common.
They know how to treat people.
I had a couple of questions while I was at the stadium. It didn't matter who I asked. They knew the answer or helped me find someone who did. That doesn't happen by accident, either.
I've been to ball parks all over America. And, I can't tell you how many times I've been greeted with a blank stare when I ask a question or greeted with silence.
It's the little things that usually go unnoticed that make the gameday experience at Alex Box the overwhelmingly positive experience that it is.
I just want the folks who do those little things to know it didn't go unnoticed by me.