"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair."
-Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
"Here lies Walter Fielding. He bought a house, and it killed him."
-Tom Hanks, The Money Pit
Column IX, Week X: "HOW THE HELL IS THE SPACE FOR THE OVEN 29 INCHES WHEN EVERY OVEN IS 30 INCHES?!?!?!" or "Vanderbilt Plays Arkansas in a Few Baseball Matches."
Vanderbilt: 28-10 (7-8 SEC) #12 USA Today, #18 Baseball America
v. The Arkansas People Who Wear Overalls Too Often: 23-15 (7-8 SEC) Unranked.
This week we play OH SWEET LORD, HOW IS THERE PAINT THERE?! WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF DROP-CLOTHS IF PAINT IS STILL EVERYWHERE?! In the past few weeks, we've lost two out of three to both Those Who Shall Not Be Named and a(ss) T(0) m(outh), respectively, and WHY WON'T THIS DREMEL SAW-MAX CUT ALL THE WAY INTO THESE COUNTERTOPS, AND DON'T SAY I HAVE TO GO BACK TO LOWE'S TO GET THE DREMEL MULTI-MAX BECAUSE I WILL PUNCH YOU RIGHT IN THE STOMACH!
While the Vanderbilt baseball team has quickly been eroding my confidence, they can take solace that another much more soul-crushing behemoth is pressing down on my chest like grim death: home repair.
More specifically, I'm getting my house ready to be listed. This is why I wasn't able to write any columns last week, and why this column will be light on insight, unless you want to glimpse the experience of having every minor repair turn into a dystopian hellscape, then HOW THE HELL IS THERE NO OUTLET BEHIND THE OVEN? WHAT VILE WIZARDRY IS THIS?! AM I IN THE MATRIX?!?! IS THIS HOUSE THE REMNANTS OF THE WARDENCLYFFE TOWER?!?!?!
Okay. I may have inhaled far too many paint fumes this week. So, in short, I'm installing a new dishwasher and oven, replacing a few tiles, replacing my front door (and door frame, so it's a pain in the ass), painting the ever-loving crap out of everything, and waiting for an electrician who never calls or shows up and there's nothing I can do about it because I have no earthly idea how to build an outlet or mess around with wiring without learning definitively whether or not there is an afterlife.
Okay. Baseball time. This Sunday, I went to the LSU v. Arky game to scout or something, and though Arky lost the first two, they pounced on LSU's lack of a third starter, with a first inning grand slam by Tommy Saxondale or someone with a name similar to Steve Coogan's aging former roadie/current exterminator character. He later parked another, but he's still hitting under the Mendoza line, so I'm not going to focus on that. Instead, I witnessed something amazing, and I'm going to tell you all about it.
Arkansas had lost the first two games of the series, and like that kid who says "My job" in The Mighty Ducks before him, Sunday starter Chris Oliver went-a-head-huntin'. Well, I can't prove this, but he did bean a bunch of people including one in the helmet. But here's the thing: Arkansas wasn't satisfied with concussing the LSU batsmen... they went after the fans, too. Around the 5th inning (it was a boring game, and everyone had stopped paying attention to such matters), an Arky batter (I think it was Tommy Saxondale this time, too) turned on one and lined a screamer into the left field bleachers about three rows in front of where I was sitting. Had it been closer to me, I like to think I might have caught it, but here's the thing: I know I wouldn't have taken it right off my right temple and then act like nothing happened and refuse all medical treatment like the young man who got skulled in front of me chose to do. Here's the deal. He was clearly on a first date, and in the split second before the ball shot off his dome, he had two choices: 1) Put his hands up to defend his brain from being scrambled, or 2) Stare a little harder down the shirt of his date. This king amongst men chose the latter, and probably died later that night from the screaming brain swelling putting intense pressure on his skull.
As for a team preview... Arky's kind of okay, but not great. There's really no one who stood out (again, the guy who was probably not named Tommy Saxondale was the only bat who flashed as dangerous, but he's hitting like .189 or something, so... yeah), but everyone was okay to solid, especially their pitching. Chris Oliver throws hard, and will bean at least 4 of our players, possibly killing two. They're Texas A&M. They're "Those Who Should Not Be Named." They're very meh. So they'll probably beat the ever-loving crap out of us.
Xavier Turner's in the midst of a 23 game hitting streak, we did just drop 19 runs on Empty S.U. on Tuesday, and we've still got the talent to put together a late-season run to Omaha, but... that's getting a lot harder to type with each series loss to aTm types.
At the moment, the best I can give you is this: everything is terrible and only gets worse the more you try to fix it.
Oh, and Corbin hasn't listed a Saturday starter yet. Might he be considering moving Fulmer to the rotation and Jared Miller back to the bullpen after a few lackluster efforts? If so, why hasn't he done this with Beede? I know, I know, I'm totally burying the lede, but I'm not ready to talk about this yet, and just looked down at my keyboard which is, you guessed it, now paint-covered. I'll come back to this next week, after some pretty serious thinking (*someone finish this quote properly in the comments section right now).
Oh, and a big thanks to VandyTigerPhD for filling in for me with last week's series preview, even if no one remembered to front page it, and he felt unending shame. You can read it now, though.
Friday: RHP Tyler Beede (5-4, 3.23 ERA) v. RHP Trey Killian (1-6, 3.00 ERA)
Prediction: Vandy 2 - Arkansas 315
Saturday: TBA v. LHP Jalen Beeks (5-2, 1.36 ERA)
Prediction: Vandy 5 - Arkansas 11,872
Sunday: RHP Tyler Ferguson (5-2, 2.88 ERA) v. RHP Chris Oliver (4-3, 2.41 ERA)
Prediction: Vandy 3 - Arkansas Eleventy Billion/Kill me now
Intoxicant of choice while attempting to watch these games, but more likely finding a leak somewhere and trying not to punch a hole in the wall with rage: Paint fumes in a non-ventilated house. I'm not recommending this... I'm just being realistic.
*Author's note: "Baseball, Bourbon, and Bad Decisions" will be a weekly column throughout the 2014 baseball season. Andrew VU '04 is a writer, educator, and ne-er-do-well living in the whirlpool of despair (Baton Rouge, LA) and is writing this column based largely on the fact that VandyTigerPhD is a large Italian man threatening his life if he doesn't hold up his end of the bargain. Throughout the season, the writer will use no advanced statistics, whatsoever, and will go purely on what he sees, instinct, and bourbon-fueled bluster. On occasion, he will have to sell his house, won't be able to write any of these for a week, and when he finally does grab an hour late on Thursday night, frankly, it won't be worth it.