It’s not like football. But LSU’s baseball tailgating scene has plenty of magic

Unquestionably, LSU is home to one of the nation’s top football tailgating scenes.

But just down the road from Death Valley, there lies another storied gathering that shows a different side of Tiger Nation. Baseball tailgating has its own distinct culture, shaped and honed by its special breed of fans.

“It’s a really laid-back scene,” says regular baseball tailgater Kelly Walker. “It’s about hanging out and visiting, and meeting people over an entire weekend.”

Walker also participates in a large football tailgate, the kind that requires well-oiled menu planning, grocery shopping and setting up the day before. Baseball tailgating, he says, is like the sport itself: slower-paced and tied to the joy of being outdoors in the spring and summer.

“It’s just really nice to be out there,” Walker says. “We’ve made some great friends over the years.”

As the defending national champions, the Tigers are drawing scores of expectant fans this season, which runs through mid-May, before the team heads to post-season tournaments. And what they find here is America’s favorite pastime reimagined with LSU flair.


Alex Box Stadium is filled with (pardon the expression) lots of inside baseball. Some of the university’s biggest cheerleaders gather here, including the “K Lady,” an LSU superfan who hangs up wooden signs painted with the letter K for every strikeout. There’s also Jerry “The Birdman” Padgett, known for a powerful, but melodious whistle that sounds through the stands.

“Baseball definitely has a dedicated following,” Walker says. “You run into the same people over and over again.”

The tailgate scene shows participants returning like homing pigeons to favorite spots around the stadium, and, in the case of RVs, across Nicholson Drive in designated lots. Walker lives in Baton Rouge’s Tara neighborhood, but usually parks his RV in lot No. 400 to spend the entire weekend at LSU during a home series.

“We’ll set up on Friday, cook a big breakfast on Saturday morning, and just visit all day,” Walker says. “It’s a very family- and kid-friendly form of tailgating.”

Baseball tailgate menus mimic the fare seen around Tiger Stadium before football games. There’s pulled pork, grilled chicken wings, jambalaya, and, of course, burgers and hot dogs. Diehard tailgaters plan multiple meals over an entire weekend, while others drop by for one game and day-long festivities.

“It’s really exciting,” Walker says. “You come to Alex Box and there are ten thousand people there. That’s a big deal.”


The defending national champions wrap up the regular season with series against state and SEC rivals at The Box this month.

May 3-5

LSU vs. Texas A&M

May 7

LSU vs. Northwestern State

May 16-18

LSU vs. Ole Miss

This article was originally published in the May 2024 issue of 225 magazine.