Earlier this week, Christian penned a column titled: "What I Didn't Realize About Vanderbilt Baseball, and Why I am So Happy to be Proven Wrong." This prompted me to wonder what I thought about this team, and any predictions I might have made. So let's jump in the way-back machine and take a look at my first column of the season (please don't touch anything in the past, as if you do, it could have dire consequences!!!):
Baseball, Bourbon, and Bad Decisions
Column 1: "In Defense of Poor Reason" or "The Irrational Musings of an Oft Rational Man."
Meno: And how will you inquire into a thing when you are wholly ignorant of what it is? Even if you happen to bump right into it, how will you know it is the thing you didn't know?
Socrates: Man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know. [...]He cannot search for what he knows-since he knows it, there is no need to search-nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for.
Tonight, we play the Bisons. The David Lipscomb University Bisons, to be more precise. Bisons.
Full disclosure: I am equal parts grammarian and baseball fan. Judging by the comments on articles posted to this site, the large majority of you have been educated enough to have already noticed what's wrong with Lipscomb's team name. The elitist in you can't stand it. Can't stand that a supposed institute of higher learning would commit such a simple error, and then compound this by printing this error in large, blocked letters on the jerseys of those who represent the school in athletic competitions. That the administrators would continue to emblazon this on everything from their book store coffee mugs to their university web page. You mock them internally or externally (perhaps in the form of a blog post) each time our Commodores cross paths with a team of Bisons.
I open this way not to put down a institute of higher learning tied to religion, nor even to make the deduction that a place that willfully keeps an error in their most prominent possessive noun must be filled with common rubes who don't know any better, nor that such a decision is indicative of a "university" in name only. No, the internal accusation is simple: this behavior is irrational.
Here's the thing... so am I. I've dated more crazy than I can count, at least three times a year, I will go to the gym for a month, become somewhat pleased with the results, and then take two weeks off and be back to where I started, and most damning, I pick up the phone when my mother calls.
And, worst of all, I say things like, "This is our year."
In 2007, I declared to anyone who would listen that this would be "our year." The team was a beast, featuring the #1 overall pick in the '07 draft, Cy Young winning pitcher David Price, the #2 overall pick in the '08 draft, Pedro Alvarez, the #8 overall pick in the '07 draft in flame-throwing closer Casey Weathers, Ryan "Flash" Flaherty (a supplemental first round draft pick by the Cubs who now plays for the Baltimore Orioles), and a host of other supremely talented players. They opened the season as the consensus #1 ranked team, closed the regular season as the consensus #1 team, and tore through the conference tourney to win our first conference championship in I don't know how long. I was there. I was cocky. I was on the razor's edge, one hair from getting into a fight with a bunch of Mississippi State fans when I mocked their vocal grumbling over every pitch they thought was a strike (side note: of course they were wrong, and sitting directly behind home plate, I should know) by yelling in my best 3rd grade-reading-level-twang, "Hey umpire! We don't take kindly to your kind ‘round here!." I was so sure we would ride this train to Omaha...
And then David Price came in to close in Regionals and gave up a game losing home run to Michigan. Michigan?! Where people point to their hand to tell you where they're from. Where cold lives.
It was the same in '11. Last year, too. And you know what? Screw it, I'm saying it again! Our pitching is so deep, we're using Carson Fulmer in the pen. Sure we lost Tony Kemp, but we've got Kemp 2.0 in Ro Coleman. Sure we lost Yaz, but Brentwood's own Bryan "SEC Freshman of the Week" Reynolds is flat raking at a .600 clip with 2 doubles and 4 RBI in his first 3 collegiate games ever. Hell, even the loss of Rhett Wiseman (get off the ledge, he'll be back soon) didn't slow down our offense. We opened the season ranked 10th, swept the LBSU Dirtbags at their house (5-2, 6-0, 6-2), and are currently #4 on the ESPN Power Rankings. Of course, the best we could do was listen to those games, as LBSU is a third world country incapable of broadcasting anything but an increasingly depressed play-by-play announcer, but I'm throwing caution to the wind and calling it: This. Is. Our. Year.
Tonight, we play the Bisons. Tonight, we beat the Bisons.
Whisky to pair with watching us beat the Lipscomb Bisons: Bulleit Bourbon (look, another spelling joke). Neat.
Whisky to pair with watching us beat the UIC Flames: Koval Single Barrel Rye.
Vandy 11-Lipscomb 0 (Wednesday, 4pm CT)
Vandy 8-UIC 1 (Friday, 4pm CT)
Vandy 7-UIC 0 (Saturday, 2pm CT)
Vandy 15-UIC 4 (Sunday, 1pm CT)
Anti-Jinx Disclaimer: I literally knocked on wood over 10 times while penning this column.
*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.
So, I was clearly right about the "This is our year" statement, was underselling Bryan "The Aluminum Foil" Reynolds, and could not have been more right in my bourbon selections.
Where was I wrong? Ro Coleman was no Tony Kemp 2.0. Hell, he wasn't even a "poor man's" Tony Kemp. He did get better as the season progressed, but he was still lacking baseball instincts, especially on the base paths, where a man with his speed should never be caught stealing more times than he was successful (4-9 on the season). Get some summer league seasoning, young man.
I technically can count the amount of crazy I've dated, but I prefer not to, as my abacus is in storage.
I was also somewhat wrong in declaring it irrational to say "This is our year." Post hoc ergo propter hoc, I totally caused this National Championship. (*For those who don't speak Latin, trust that my tongue was firmly implanted in my cheek there.)
So there you have it. I say the sooth.