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Vandy Baseball: Week Behind, Week Ahead Intermission

March 16th, 2012 Comments off

Riley Reynolds had quite the day on Wednesday, hammering his first career homerun and winning the #RileySonnyHomeRunChallenge over Sonny Gray. Photo by Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

I’ve been busy of late and it’s been hard to stay on my regular weekly schedule for these. I’m going to try to catch up again this weekend after the Florida series and cheering my lungs out for Stevie Thunder and the #VUnit in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The big news for the weekend is Ty Beede reentering the weekend rotation, pitching on Sunday in place of Sam Selman. That sets the matchups against consensus #1 Florida as

  • Friday, 6 CT — LHP Kevin Ziomek (2-1, 3.09) vs. RHP Hudson Randall (2-0, 3.65);
  • Saturday, 12 CT — RHP Drew VerHagen (2-1, 3.93) vs. LHP Brian Johnson (2-0, 4.12); and
  • Sunday, 12 CT — RHP Beede (0-2, 7.24) vs. RHP Jonathon Crawford (1-1, 5.71).

Saturday’s game will air on CSS/ESPN3.com, while Friday and Sunday are viewable in HD by subscribing monthly to GatorVision.tv(not covered by CBS All-Access).

In the meantime, how about Riley Reynolds. The career .317 hitter had no homeruns (and few balls that even threatened to leave the park) in his first 622 plate appearances as a Commodore. In appearance number 623, he changed all that by putting a charge into a ball to right on Wednesday night against Sienna. His homerun put the exclamation point on a much needed midweek sweep in which the Commodores finally started to look like the Omaha-bound team they were a year ago.

Click through for video of the homer, Riley’s post-game interview and a look back to 2011 with the Baseball Banquet video package produced by Will Hinson (@TheVUCount). Read more…

March Madness – My Bracket

March 14th, 2012 Comments off

It’s time to get it on. The beloved Commodores are the reigning SEC Tournament Champions after unseating #1 Kentucky in New Orleans. I’m hanging my hat on the first round curse coming to an end against Harvard this year and I genuinely believe the Dores will be cutting down the East Regional nets in a couple weeks.

Sadly, I cannot overcome with my heart what my head tells me. The Wildcats are the best team in America and should give Coach Calipari his long sought title. For as much as I loathe all things Big Blue, they are my pick to win it all, with UNC facing them in the championship after knocking off Vanderbilt. Missouri is my other Final Four contender.

After the jump, a bracket based on tuition costs which gives the Commodores a true victory. Read more…

Occupy Meme reaches inevitable conclusion with my poor Photoshop skills

October 26th, 2011 Comments off

I’m no Brian @VUGymRat from www.anchorofgold.com (the fine chap who came up with the below embedded faux ads for VU basketball), but I tried my hardest with the above.

Click through to see Brian’s work. Read more…

Vanderbilt Baseball: Brian Miller will give batters motion sickness

October 26th, 2011 Comments off

Recommended daily dosage of Dramamine Miller is two right handed batters each game, preferably after the 7th inning.

So I traveled down to Nashville this past weekend for homecoming. I was blown away by a party at the old fraternity house, ate at a Waffle House twice in the span of 18 hours (somehow survived that) and took in a football victory and two baseball defeats. I’m reserving my full thoughts for later, but I will just say that we’ve got a new member of the WI[S]M all-time Vandy favorites team.

Joining Ryan “Flash” Flaherty, Curt “Mr. President” Casali, Sonny “The King” Gray and Tony “The Man of Steal” Kemp, this freshman righty earns a nickname to pace them all. Brian Miller is a local legend in Middle Tennessee. Among the lore is that, when throwing to his high school team’s backup catcher, he had to flatten out his pitches by throwing overhand because his sidearm delivery created too much movement. I’m immediately imagining some poor 15 year old freshman doing his best Aaron Westlake impersonation behind the plate, helpless to catch a single frisbee slider.

Tougher than the catcher’s experience is that of right handed batters. On Saturday, Miller made several look downright embarrassed and his rubbery arm action on the release earned the nickname Dramamine from me. I would have experienced motion sickness but for concentrating on wiping the huge smile off my face as I watched Vanderbilt’s version of South Carolina’s John Taylor and Jose Mata. Miller gives Corbin a huge weapon that will cause righties fits. Word is that the other Miller (left hander Jared) can cause similar conniptions for left handed batters.

I broke out the camera to capture a bit of Miller’s debut from behind home plate. Click through to give a view and learn a bit more about him. Read more…

SEC Baseball, Part 1 – The East and the Draft

August 21st, 2011 2 comments

This is the first in a three part look at the draft's impact on SEC rosters for the coming year.

This is the first in a three part series looking at the Southeastern Conference and the impact of the Major League Baseball Draft for the 2011/12 academic year. Part one provides data relating to the drafted players and recruits for each of the six Eastern division squads. Part two will do the same for the Western division. I’ll close with a final look at and overview of how each team matched up in recruiting, retaining and promoting their programs going forward. I’ll also identify some of the key newcomer names to watch on the horizon as we head into yet another year of baseball in the best conference in college sports.

Look for part two later in the week.

Click through to read more Read more…

Vanderbilt Baseball: Fifteenth Week Behind, Week Ahead

June 3rd, 2011 1 comment

The final game of the SEC season pitted the two teams I considered the best at the start of the year. Unfortunately, Florida was better that day. Photo courtesy Mike Rapp of VandySports.com.

Well it was quite the amazing regular season. Vandy ended up as tri-champs of the SEC regular season, but came up just short in Hoover, falling to Florida in the championship game after storming past Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Vandy also fell just short of a number 1 ranking, finishing 2nd in the final coaches’ and baseball writers’ polls and third in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball rankings. The team moves on to the Nashville Regional with a national seed in hand and Oklahoma State, Troy and Belmont coming to the Hawk.

The Immediate Progression – When It Strikes Me is Credentialed?

Indeed, thanks to the help of College Baseball Daily, for whom I will be covering the Nashville Regional, I’ll be carrying a press pass down to the regional this weekend. Look for some posts by me on the mother ship website of NCAA Baseball coverage this weekend. I’ll also have tickets in hand, so I intend to spend some time in the stands this weekend, but with temperatures forecast in the 90s, I’m not to ashamed to shirk the heat and head up to the press box to cover the game alongside VandySports.com’s Chris Lee. It should be a great weekend.

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Vanderbilt Baseball: Fourteenth Week Behind, Week Ahead

May 24th, 2011 Comments off

Tony "Clark" Kemp, the Man of Steal, slid into surprise contention for and then won the Freshman of the Year in the SEC. The 1st Team all conference outfielder is seen here stealing second against Florida. Photo courtesy of Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

Two things you cannot argue with: a regular season is a great success if a) you finish as the co-champion of the finest conference in the land and b) you end up with the fewest losses of any team in the country. Vanderbilt ended their regular season by winning yet another road series at Georgia this past week and have been rewarded with a ranking as high as second in the coaches’ and national sportswriters’ polls. Without further ado, let’s take a look back on this regular season.

The Immediate Progression: The Regular Season

Looking back on the 2011 regular season, you see a team that was, by all means, as good as any in Vanderbilt history. It may not have had quite the star power as the 2007 squad, but it steamrolled the competition like no other prior Vanderbilt team. In sum, Vanderbilt will ride into the SEC Tournament at Hoover with quite the resume. They are ranked first in both the Nolan Power Index and the Boyd’s World Iterative Strength Rating. Warren Nolan places them 4th in the RPI against the 32nd best Strength of Schedule. Boyd’s has them at 5th against the 40th best Strength of Schedule.

Click through to read more. Read more…

FollowFriday: @LincolnLuxor on Twitter

November 5th, 2010 Comments off

Ignore the photo and just follow the man

This week’s FollowFriday is a divergence from the more recent. Not only is it the first time I’m promoting a non-Food Truck in a while, but it’s a real, normal, honest-to-goodness person. Furthermore, the follow really is less about Twitter and more about Tumblr.

My man Tate (AKA LincolnLuxor) may have his faults — notably, his insistence on wearing orange once a week and rooting for the Vols — but he’s got his talents as well.  As the author of three Tumblrs which I follow (LincolnLuxor, SECFootball and SECBasketball), he’s proven his wit, his dedication to SEC sports and his masterful talents with the photoshop.

Add in that he, SimplisticEcstacy and I are determined to bring the Tumblr community their fill of SEC sports, funny photoshops, Tennessee thangs and hot Asian chicks, and you’d be remiss not to follow us all.

In any respect, I fully encourage you to follow Tate on Twitter and at his three Tumblrs, linked below:

We’ll work on getting an SEC Baseball one going this Spring.  In the meantime and after the jump, check out two of my favorite collaborations with Tate using his Photoshop skills to bring great ideas to life.

Read more…

SEC Power Poll – All SEC Teams

March 30th, 2010 3 comments

SEC Basketball has come to an end for 2010.  With Tennessee’s elimination at the hands of Michigan State in the Midwest Region Final, there are no more SEC games to be played, so I figured it was time to release the When[It]StrikeMe All-SEC teams for 2009-2010.  I’ve loaded up your standard fare of All-Conference Performers, as well as All-Villain Team, All-Glue, All-Name, All-Smooth, All-Freak-Athlete and All-Wait-Till-Next-Year teams.  Let’s start with the individual awards.

Coach of the Year. At the end of Conference Play, I was ready to follow the Coaches and give this one to Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt.  Not only was that the homer pick, but it was also the wrong one.  There are some arguments against Bruce Pearl, but he is the Coach of the Year.  Pearl’s Vols have overcome tremendous shortcomings on their roster to end up as the last SEC team standing, earning the Vols program’s first Elite Eight.  It is true that Pearl brought the troublemakers that caused those roster problems into the program; however, at the very least one has to appreciate that he actually disciplined his offenders (unlike a certain reptilian coach to the north).  For that, I grant thee Pearl the Coach of the Year.  Runners Up (Tie) – Stallings and John Calipari (Kentucky).

Yes, this man-child... Demarcus Cousins... dominated the SEC this year.

Player of the Year & Freshman of the Year.  Some people seem dead set on giving John Wall the annointed status as best SEC player.  I’m sorry, he’s not even the best player on his own team.  Granted, on a team that starts four potential lottery picks for this year’s draft, not being the best doesn’t mean a whole lot; nevertheless, the guy I’m watching and who I believe was the most singularly dominating SEC performer in several years was Demarcus Cousins.  In a year in which he wasn’t even expected to be a candidate for Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year… hidden by characters such as Wall, USC’s Devan Downey, UT’s Tyler Smith, MSU’s Jarvis Varnardo and Vanderbilt’s AJ Ogilvy, Cousins snuck up on people.  Or at least he snuck up on folks as much as a phenomenal, freak-beast at 6’10” 260lbs can.  He’s arguably the most athletic big man in amateur basketball and turned into a double double machine while dominating the best post players in the SEC.  The only real downturn for Demarcus is that the most physically mature player in the league was also the most immature.  He loved flashing his elbows and lost his cool on numerous occasions.  Regardless of his personality disorders, Cousins was the best player and the best newcomer in the league.  Runner Up (Both Awards) – Wall.

Sixth Man of the Year.  This was really somewhat of a thin award pool.  No sixth man really dominated in any tangible measure, so it ended up falling by default to Vanderbilt’s shooting wunderkind, John Jenkins.  The SEC leader in three-point shooting at 48.3% actually shot 50.7% from downtown if you remove the 0-7 performance against Georgia.  In the Georgia game, Jenkins played through a flu that hospitalized him for two days the next night.  Anyway, Jenkins eventually ended up starting seven games as his unreal stroke could not be left on the bench.  It goes without saying that he will not be eligible for an SEC sixth man award again.  Runners Up (Tie) – Chandler Parsons (Florida) and Zach Graham (Ole Miss).

Click through for the All-SEC Teams Read more…

InfoGraphics: John Wall and Tim Tebow (TheOnion.com)

March 29th, 2010 Comments off

The Onion has been king of satire for a very, very long time now.  Even in the age of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the Onion launched the superior OnionNewsNetwork.

One staple they’ve continued to run out is their mocking of The USA Today and its infographics.  After the jump, I’ve got two of their infographics from the Onion Sports Network, addressing those bastion of collegiate athletics: John Wall of Kentackalacky and The Lamb of God of Florida.

Click through to keep on keeping on. Read more…