Vanderbilt's quest to repeat as College World Series champions is a big deal. So big, in fact, that baseball legends have taken notice.
I was lucky enough to talk with MLB and College Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield Friday morning to talk about the the upcoming College World Series. Mr. Winfield, who is in town thanks to his involvement with the Capital One Cup, took about 10 minutes out of his busy schedule to discuss pitching matchups, Dansby Swanson, Tim Corbin, and what the presence of alums like David Price mean to a program like Vanderbilt baseball. The full interview is below, but I've pulled some of the more interesting excerpts in case you're crunched for time.
Here's what the former CWS Most Outstanding Player had to say about the most recent MOP, Dansby Swanson:
I think he has a great shot at really being a special player...I know the Diamondbacks are a little short at shortstop right now, so the opportunity is going to be there for Mr. Swanson...He plays a key position and he shows all the tools and the intellectual capabilities to be able to be good at the next level.
On what the presence of David Price meant for this team at the Champaign Super Regional:
We talked in spring training, I told him that I had my niece and nephew attend Vanderbilt, so I've been on that campus and seen what they do. It means a lot to that program and it means a lot to those young men because it lets them know that if they're able to play at the next level, it's achievable. Somebody that went to their school can do it - I can do it, too.
And on whether or not Vanderbilt drew the toughest Game One assignment when they square off with Cal State Fullerton ace and All-American Thomas Eshelman:
Yeah, but it's like that! You make it to the College World Series and you're gonna face the best. And they go all out. Even the pitchers, they're not necessarily on a pitch count because every game means so much. It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be here.
Here's the interview in full. Fortunately, the audio is much clearer than yesterday's chat with Aaron Boone.