BATON ROUGE – The official 83rd birthday party for LSU’s iconic retired baseball coach Skip Bertman provides a preview of the ESPN Films SEC Storied documentary “Hold the Rope,” along with exclusive footage and interviews, in a top shelf setting on Sunday evening, May 23.
The “Skip Bertman World Premiere Party” presented by Gerry Lane Enterprises will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation and the L’Auberge Casino Hotel Event Center in Baton Rouge.
The film will make its television debut the following night, May 24, but it will be shown first at the party, along with over 15 minutes of bonus content that producer Mark Kinderman gleaned from hundreds of hours of interviews with Bertman, staff members, former players, opposing coaches and other college baseball figures.
“Hold the Rope” tells Bertman’s life story, from his childhood in Miami through his coaching career at Miami and LSU and his service as LSU’s athletics director.
Bertman will be in the spotlight all night and on stage after the film is screened, along with Kinderman providing insight on the project and its remarkable main character.
Bertman, along with the audience, will be watching the film for the first time.
He won five NCAA College World Series championships at LSU in a brilliant 18-year coaching career. The Tigers made 11 CWS appearances in Omaha. From 1984-2001, Bertman steered LSU to a 870-330-3 (.724) record including Southeastern Conference championships in 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997.
He was named national college coach of the year six times, the last in 2000. He was head coach of the 1996 USA Olympic baseball team that won bronze in Atlanta. Bertman’s winning percentage in NCAA postseason play (.754, 89-29) is the best in college baseball history. He retired and became LSU’s athletics director, transforming LSU Athletics into a national power across the board.
There is limited availability for this event. Table sales and tickets are available through the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation’s CEO/President, Ronnie Rantz, by visiting the LaSportsHall.com website for a secure online transaction or reaching out to RonnieRantz@LaSportsHall.com via e-mail.
The event begins at 5:30 for guests at sponsor tables, who will get early entry into the venue and first access to the silent auction. A cocktail hour and reception begins at 6, with the documentary screened at 7. A discussion with Bertman and Kinderman will follow before a live auction of memorabilia and experiences, most related to LSU baseball.
“This will be a once in a lifetime event,” said Rantz, a pitcher on Bertman’s 1991 and 1993 CWS champion teams. “We’ll see the ‘Hold the Rope’ ESPN Films SEC Storied documentary before anybody else, and with the man who is the main subject, who himself will be watching it for the first time, while we celebrate his 83rd birthday.
“We’ll get to watch content shot for the film that was compelling but just didn’t make the final editing process to be in the documentary due to time constraints. That footage and those interviews will never be seen again,” said Rantz. “Mr. Kinderman will be sharing his insight and of course, we’ll enjoy hearing from Coach Bertman. It’s going to be an incredible, fun, unforgettable evening.”
A 10-seat Sponsor Table package for $1,500 provides a preferred seating location, an autographed Bertman item per table, a wine & charcuterie board, and a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame swag bag along with sponsor signage and early entry at 5:30 for the patrons.
An eight-seat table package for $1,000 provides a Bertman autographed item to the table.
Individual general admission tickets are $100, with those under 21 years old eligible for $50 tickets. Advance sales are necessary due to the limited availability as a sellout is expected.
Proceeds support the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Bertman was inducted in 2002.