His older brother was without question one of the most lethal hitters in LSU history. Outfielder and first baseman Blake Dean finished in the top five of many Tiger career categories, including total bases (575), RBI (260), hits (332), doubles (63), home runs (56) and runs (223). Now Dakota Dean is hoping to leave his own mark with the Tigers.
"Me and him are two totally different players," says the younger Dean, "I'm not going to hit for power like Blake did. He's not going to run like I could."
"I would agree," says Blake Dean, who starred at LSU from 2007-2010, "He may not have my power. But he's more athletic, he's a faster runner. People say our swings look identical."
As fans may also learn, that little brother has quite the sense of humor. Like when cracking on Blake's lack of speed.
" They had to unhook the trailer every time he ran."
The elder Dean and former All-American was ready to smack that verbal curveball.
"When you hit as far as I did, you don't need to unhook the trailer."
And what to make of Dakota's playful personality?
"I was more reserved (at LSU). I held back. I answered the questions seriously. He's the baby of the family, always coddled. He's all loosey goosey."
The first year Tiger has also been told he looks like famous prankster and daredevil Steve-O, from the hit MTV series Jackass. It's a show that's also spawned a series of wacky and wild movies.
"I can see that," laughs the former LSU basher, "He acts like him sometimes too."
Just no bungee jumping from the top of the towering Alex Box Stadium scoreboard, please.
The sibling rivalry will immediately be on display February 14 when LSU opens their season at home against UNO. Blake Dean is now a volunteer assistant coach with the Privateers, after serving as an undergraduate assistant last season for the Tigers and Coach Mainieri. When asked what excited him about his first year at LSU, Dakota didn't hesitate.
"To beat my brother."
"It's LSU," chuckles Blake, "They're expected to run through every team in the state. All I can say is, be careful. You don't want to start your season with a loss."
As that opener quickly approaches, Dakota says he's been working primarily at first base and some at third.
"I heard they're bouncing him around like a pinball," Blake dead pans.
Dakota admits the transition from Crestview HS in Florida, to arguably the greatest college baseball program in the country has not been easy. It starts in practice with trying to hit incredible pitchers like LSU ace Aaron Nola. What was it like, the first time he stepped into the box against this ridiculous flame-thrower?
"Oh my gosh. I thought I was gonna wet my pants."
The former Catholic High School star and entire LSU staff is indeed trying to prevent Dakota from soiling those pants. The SEC staffs that lie ahead have no mercy. Dean says judging the flight of the pitch and when exactly to swing is a major issue.
"It's a lot different from high school, hitting 82 miles per hour flat, right down the middle. Nola throws 95. And from his release, you can't tell if it's a fast ball or curve ball. That's what makes him so good."
So does big brother hope the younger sibling struggles some early? You know, pay his dues?
"I don't know," says Dakota, before smiling and nodding, "Probably. But it ain' t gonna happen."
But it's here Blake gets a little serious. His hope and pride can clearly be heard.
"Oh no, I'd never want him to struggle. I'd like him to do well immediately. But it's baseball. Struggles are going to happen. There are always going to be ups and downs. But I know overall, he's going to do well."
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