LSU baseball has 2 Jordans, but 1 brother stars off field
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Among thousands of fans that cheer and scream at Alex Box Stadium every game, one voice stands out above the rest for LSU baseball twins Beau and Bryce Jordan.
It belongs to their little brother.
Brock Jordan is 17 years old. He has Down syndrome. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the Tigers’ most vocal supporters.
“When I’m in the dugout in between at-bats, I definitely can hear him,” Beau said. “Every time. His voice is so unique, I can hear him out of anybody that’s yelling.”
The time of having two Jordans on the field at Alex Box Stadium will end Tuesday night (May 15) when the Tigers play Northwestern State in the last home game of the season.
Beau Jordan, a senior outfielder and designated hitter, will play his career home finale alongside twin Bryce, a redshirt junior first baseman, who missed the 2017 season with a torn ACL.
This season, Beau is hitting .311 with a team-high eight home runs. Bryce has been limited by another knee injury and has played in just 31 of a possible 52 games. Still, he’s been hit by a pitch a team-high seven times, a number he shares with his brother.
Yet it’s likely neither Beau nor Bryce are the most popular Jordan brother inside Alex Box Stadium on game days. That honor might go to Brock, who has always been popular with LSU’s baseball team.
When former LSU player and World Series champion Alex Bregman spoke at the LSU First Pitch banquet before the 2018 season started, he signed autographs for fans in attendance.
When Brock walked by, Bregman spoke up.
When Bryce had to sit out last season with his knee injury, he spent most games sitting in the stands with his family. After LSU defeated Mississippi State in the Super Regional to go to the College World Series last June, he brought Brock into the locker room to celebrate with the players.
Now, the rest of Alex Box Stadium is getting a chance to experience Brock’s enthusiasm for the game.
Brock attends games with the brothers’ parents, Brad and Lori. They sit in section 206 surrounded by other families of LSU players.
His transformation into a cheering force started during LSU’s postseason run to Omaha last year. That’s when Brock started noticing Chris Guillot.
If you’ve ever attended an LSU game in Baton Rouge -- or watched one on television, or listened to one on the radio -- you’ve heard Guillot’s booming voice. He leads cheers throughout the games of “Here we go Tigers, here we go,” ″L-S-U” and “Geaux Tigers,” for which he brings along signs to help bring in both sides of the stadium. In Omaha, he called upon Brock to help him with one of the signs.
Since then, Brock was hooked.
“The whole offseason,” Brad said, “we had to deal with him practicing his cheers.”
On the opposite side of the stadium from Guillot, Brock does his best to lead cheers of his own. He doesn’t pick his moments like Guillot does, however. Brock starts early and often.
“It’s the same chants every time,” Beau said, before adding a quick joke. “He loves cheering so much, my parents, when they punish him, he can’t cheer. It’s the funniest thing ever: ‘You can’t cheer at the game.’”
Brock was born Sept. 9, 2000, in Lake Charles but, right away, doctors knew he needed extra care.
He was helicoptered to New Orleans and stayed at a hospital for the next three and a half months.
Brad remembers being able to bring Brock, who had to have four or five surgeries while in New Orleans, back home just before Christmas of that year.
“Growing up, I don’t really know the age where my parents told me, ‘Your little brother is special, so you’re going to have to watch over him, but it’s going to be a challenge but we’ll all get through it,’” Bryce Jordan said. “I don’t know the age where it clicked that he was Down syndrome. He never had the opportunities that me and Beau had.”
Brock can have trouble with communicating, Bryce said, but he has formed a language for himself the rest of the family picks up on. He’ll say “thank you” in a clear voice. He tells his parents “I love you” at least three times a day.
When discussing baseball, Brock explains the game in his unique way. Ask him if he’d rather see his brothers hit a home run, he motions hitting with his left arm.
And of course, “Geaux” and “Tigers” have recently entered his vocabulary.
“He wasn’t always quiet,” Beau said. “He just hadn’t found his cheering mindset yet. Once he found it, he’s very outgoing. He’s does not have a shy bone whatsoever. Watching him cheer, he loves cheering. So, watching him do what he loves is pretty cool.”
Beau and Bryce graduated from Barbe High School in 2014. In their senior season, they helped Barbe to a high school national championship recognized by several outlets.
During the twins’ time at Barbe, Brock attended all their games. That’s when Barbe coach Glenn Cecchini got to know Brock. The younger Jordan always found his way around to ask Cecchini for a batting helmet, and Cecchini always complied with his requests.
Cecchini, a certified special needs teacher at Barbe and also a job coach, now sees Brock, a freshman, on a regular basis. He has witnessed Brock’s transformation.
“He has come out of his shell,” Cecchini said. “At Barbe, he wasn’t leading cheers. He is now. He’s become more self-assured of himself.”
Just as Cecchini became fond of Brock, so did Guillot.
Brock has found a way to imitate both men -- Cecchini on the field and Guillot in the stands -- which is part of how he learns.
Beau said his brother studies the entrances of wrestlers in WWE. He and Bryce play a game with Brock where they play the music of a certain wrestler and Brock can mimic the star’s entrance to a tee.
Before some games, LSU freshman pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard’s family will tailgate with a large speaker, Brad said, and one of Hilliard’s family members will ask Brock what music he wants to hear. He’ll reply with “Hogan!” for former wrestler Hulk Hogan. They’ll cue up Hogan’s entrance music, and Brock plays along.
Before Guillot starts a cheer, he usually raises his hand to his ear -- a motion Brock now copies when he tries to get fans to cheer along with him.
“Awesome,” Guillot said of Brock’s cheers. “He yells with his heart. He’s a great kid. He’s actually my heart. I mean, I look over there and I get tired, but I see him keep going. He’s a class act. When he comes around me, it’s a two-way street.”
With two sons on the team and another cheering them on, Brad said he’s enjoyed watching Brock display the fire and attitude he’s always had, just that now it’s to a bigger crowd.
“He’s a teenager just like any other teenager,” Brad said. “He has his moments. He wants his independence. He sees Guillot cheering and he wants to cheer. If the cheering gets people’s attention and gets them to follow him, he enjoys that.”
When the Jordans arrive at Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday night, it will be their final home game together -- Beau and Bryce on the field, Brock in the stands.
LSU has been an important part of the twins’ story. And now, it’s become one for Brock.
“It’s more than just this game out here,” Bryce said. “I love (Brock) for that. I’m proud to be his brother. I’m just happy he’s here watching us and cheering us on.”
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com