Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Vanderbilt Hotline: The summer begins a little earlier than we would have hoped...

By now, you've all read that Vanderbilt lost last night to Michigan in the decisive game of the Nashville Regional to be eliminated from this year's NCAA Tournament. Not surprisingly, there are a number of stories and columns about this team and how their season ended. Before getting to the articles, I'm going to riff a bit.

In talking to Seamus last night, it occurred to me that despite being a heartbreaking loss, in many respects, you knew something like this was bound to happen. Let me be clear though, this was NOT bound to happen because Vanderbilt is a perpetual loser. I firmly believe that Vanderbilt athletics is turning a corner and that our days as the SEC's doormat are over. This was bound to happen...because that's baseball. Baseball is about losing, and baseball is about, over the course of a season, things evening out. Don't believe me? Consider that Vanderbilt was 14-2 in one run games this season against teams that weren't the Wolverines. Against Michigan, they were 0-2. The Commies were 6-2 in extra inning games against teams that weren't from Ann Arbor; against the Maize and Gold, they were 0-1. Unfortunately, those losses came at the wrong time. Still, despite Vanderbilt's loss and the fact that their fans are exceptionally disappointed, we shouldn't hang our heads. This is just he cruel nature of baseball. They had a shot, and if you watch the highlights from ESPN, Pedro was about 2 feet or a shorter LF away from either tying the game or putting the tying run in scoring position with with a double off the wall. If that ball drops, either over the fence, or in the yard, and Flaherty comes through with the the single, it's a tie game. It's just that close. If Matt Meingasner is able to check his swing and get the bat out of the way on the 3-1 he might have walked or at least gotten to see another pitch. Who knows how that might have gone. That's baseball...and it will break your heart. Enough of my ramblings...let's get to the pros.

It's all together fitting that both Mo Patton and Brett Hait highlight the bitter-sweet end of David Price's season, and likely his career, for the Black and Gold. Both articles highlight how great a year and a career David had for the Commodores. While we'd love to see him come back for one more year and get the last piece of the puzzle for his sterling college career, it's likely that the amateur draft coming up on Thursday will make him a very rich man very, very soon.

Brett Hait's lede "is the stunning end" to Vanderbilt's season in today's Nashville City Paper. Mo Patton talks about the "crushing blow" that knocked out Vanderbilt in today's Tennessean. As I am sure you will read, the guy who hit the home run off of Price was a pitcher who was batting .188 on the season. If that doesn't make you both love and hate baseball, nothing will. Rod Williamson wrote a column "Baseball is the Cruelest Sport" that is now up on VUCommodores.com. I haven't read the article yet, so if I've hit on any of his points, it's just because I'm that good, not because I am a plagiarizer. Rounding out VUCommodores.com's coverage, Will Matthews takes a "Fairy Tale" angle.

While it doesn't make me feel any better, Vanderbilt is certainly in good company as 5 of the 8 National seeds were eliminated in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. As Mo Patton points out, the last team to go into the tournament as Baseball America's #1 team at the end of the season and win the College World Series was Miami in 2001. SI.com recaps yesterday's action, with Vanderbilt (not surprisingly) as their lede.

RollBamaRoll.com continues with Day Two of their Vanderbilt preview, today putting Vanderbilt's offense under the microscope. On Friday, Seamus, Stanimal and I will be answering questions from the Bama faithful about the Commodores, so start reading so we can correct and mock any inaccuracies they post over the next few days.

Mo Patton, in his third story of the day in the Tennessean, writes about Shan's invitation to "try out for the USA Pan America team."

Seamus and I will be back with a podcast soon. And, since there really is virtually nothing to talk about (no Vanderbilt sports, no Idol, and just one remaining Sopranos episode), we are going to be getter creative. We're just getting started here at the Vanderbilt Sports Line and we need your help. You got something to say? Say it. You got something you want to see as a thread? Let us know. And for goodness sake, Let's go Commies!

10 comments:

Aaron said...

Good insight. It sucks that Vandy lost. EPSN had a good article up aobut how the Nashville community and Vanderbilt had embraced the team. Lets hope that continues as we move forward into football season.

GhostRider said...

Just playing Devil's advocate, but what makes you think Vandy has "turned a corner" in the SEC? I mean don't get me wrong this was an amazing season for your baseball team, but your football team is still average at best, I'm sure most of your counterparts from other SEC schools mark you off as a W, finally your basketball team, wonderful season, but not surprising. Vandy has been known to have some decent bball teams throughout the years.

You put the pieces together, Vandy has a decent program. It's just in the SEC it's football first. Work on that football team and look out.

Seamus O'Toole said...

I think his point was that coming off of two great seasons and having recently had no short of seven teams ranked in the Top 25, Vandy fans are excited about where the program is going in general. That optimism carries over from sport to sport, and combined with the fact that everyone (I can't think of a single pundit who's critical of him, actually) likes Bobby Johnson and many think he's got the football program poised for its first bowl game in 25 years, I think the claim that Vandy has turned a corner is not unreasonable.

Consider also that with all the publicity and skepticism surrounding the elimination of the athletic department and the subsequent ho-hum play of our major-sport teams, success on the field of play is that much more energizing.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Seamus is clearly the brains of this operation. Ghostrider, that is what I meant.

Masonfan said...

I don't know....watch out for those Richmond Spiders! hahhahhh

Seamus O'Toole said...

Actually all joking aside that's a good point and one we'll be discussing in this forum. I disagree with scheduling Richmond because you have nothing to gain from beating a I-AA team but they're a tough opponent every year and always capable of an upset. Just ask UVA.

Which brings up a good point. Now that their program is basically crap run over twice, why don't we try to schedule UVA?

Stanimal said...

I watched UVA play Georgia Tech last year and I have to say that the program has taken a nosedive. Calvin Johnson absolutely torched that team, hell even Reggie Ball looked good.

Still, I'd rather see us play Northwestern that UVA.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Rather than being a team that will be playing in the 2009 Super Bowl, the Jets could be in the doldrums with Al Groh at the helm. Boy am I glad that's not the case.

I think that UVA would be a great game to schedule, but not ahead of either Northwestern or Wake.

Masonfan said...

I can see Wake, but Northwestern? Maybe I just haven't paid much attention to UVA over the years, but that just sounds like rock bottom.

Aaron said...

i know Va Tech fans that send money to UVA to keep Groh there. That is how bad uva is but nonetheless Vandy should still play them. You could call it the "fratty bowl"