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Baseball Mail Bag #5: Answers To Questions from our Readers

Letters... we get letters... we get stacks and stacks of letters...

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Seen Around - February 2019 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows - Day 1 Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

After taking 2 of 3 from the Illinois State Gored Birds (nee Fightin’ Kevin Stallingses) and an 11-6 Keystone Kops-ing of Samford and Son, the Dores set their sights on SEC play.

This week, we visit scenic College Station, TX (yes, I am being sarcastic... the whole school looks like a military base and/or prison complex) to try to make aTm go aTm. Beware of Grode Jars, General Dog, and Braden Shewmake.

Onto the questions...

Question from Athanatos504:

Why does college baseball not have an injury report? Is it better for student safety to not have an injury report? I could see it either way.

Also, it is a bit early, but the pitchers continue to have frequent control issues. Why is that and who is the most consistent arm on this staff right now?

...and a similar question from Vandy Exile:

Other than “because he can,” why does Corbs have to be so tight-lipped about players who are not in the lineup and apparently either injured or suspended? Would it be so difficult to put out a short statement saying, “(Fill in the blank) is suspended for violation of team rules/policies/whatever”? Why doesn’t anyone hold his feet to the fire? (You can take these as rhetorical questions.)

Oh man, I have wanted an injury report for so long. Corbs is as tight-lipped as a frigid Bill Belichick w/r/t injuries. Short of a handshake with Tommy John, we literally never know anything. Kyle Smith ran face first into a brick wall, and got a concussion and a “misaligned eye” in the process, and we only found this out about three years of one foot missed swinging strikes later. Similarly, this year, Chinfante got his bell rung when he took a knee to the melon on an awkward slide into second, and we don’t even get a whisper as to what might be wrong with him. I had to write “likely concussion,” because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

If I ran college baseball, the third inning would be the beer inning teams would be required to tell the media who is injured, what the injury is, how severe it is, and how long they project him to be out. You know... the common courtesy of an injury report, so we don’t all sound like medieval barbers trying to divine their damned humors!

Do us a courtesy, you crumb bums! This is all of us at Anchor of Gold holding your figurative feet to the fire, con sarn it!!!

As for Athanatos504’s second question, Jake Eder and Tyler Brown have been our most consistent pitchers in the pen, and Mad Dog Raby has been the most consistent starter. The others? Pretty mercurial thus far. Luckily, some transcendental hippy told me “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Hence, all we need to do is travel about three hours to the East and steal their hobgoblins. They’ve got little minds a-plenty in Chugger Land.

Question from ask_thedoctor:

We speak frequently on AOG about the structural disadvantages Vanderbilt has with regard to athletics, for good reason. The best argument that Vanderbilt has come up with to entice students is “The City. The Degree. The SEC.” campaign—the fact that we’re in Nashville and that our degree has merit north of the Mason Dixon Line and west of the Mississippi River (not that there are any conference schools on the other side of the Mississippi that we recognize). What other structural advantages does Vanderbilt athletics have could ADMT lean into to better our brand for recruiting and a fan perspective?

I follow the baseball team loosely, just due to y’all’s coverage and to brag to other SEC fans that we have some athletic merit on something not associated with bowling, tennis, or golf. What four teams this year do you peg as the most and least important on our schedule, and why should we make it a point to tune in?

I’ll address this from the perspective of Vanderbilt Baseball only, as is my wont (and I also would rather not think of the Basketball teams for a while... for health reasons). We actually have some pretty damned great advantages when it comes to baseball. You should hear the rest of the SEC complain about our “cheating” with Opportunity Vanderbilt—the financial aid game changer that allows for true need blind admissions (not so much for Aunt Becky to cough over half a million to get her ridiculous daughters onto our rowing team).

Obviously, Opportunity Vanderbilt is a phenomenal thing, as it allows excellent students who otherwise could not afford Vanderbilt to attend. On the baseball side of things, it allows us to (potentially) offer more money than some other schools can. Division I College baseball coaches are only allowed a paltry 11.7 athletic scholarships for their whole team. For players whose families are eligible for Opportunity Vanderbilt aid, we give them that, which opens up some scholarship money to spread around to the rest of the players.

It is a structural benefit that few schools but us can offer (Stanford and Rice come to mind, but I’m no college counselor, so don’t hold me to this).

If the other SEC schools wanted to commit billions to creating a true need blind admissions process, they could do this, as well. Gauntlet thrown.

*Note: I find it particularly hilarious when LSU and UGA fans bring this up, as if we are cheating, when you only need a B average and to remember to spell your name correctly on the ACT for their in-state kids (which is damn near their entire baseball teams) to get a full scholarship (due to their TOPS and HOPE scholarships, respectively), and then only need to maintain a 3.0 GPA in Sports Management or some such nonsense to keep said scholly. Come at me.

That and we have the most alumni currently in the MLB, so you literally get to work out with David Price, and the best facilities and sports tech money can buy (#PitchingLab). There’s a reason we’re the baseball equivalent of Bama football when it comes to ‘crootin’.

Tune in for diamond dominance. We’re pretty pretty pretty good.

As for your “top 4” questions... we’re in the SEC. It’s the premier college baseball conference, and it’s not particularly close. All conference games are important—even when we play The Chuggers, as it is important to remind them how much they suck.

Question from ConquerAndPrevail:

As much as I love the #1 ranking that the VandyBoys have received thus far, how actually do baseball rankings work? Or stated differently, does it matter if the team loses midweek games? Or doesn’t sweep a weekend series?

Baseball rankings follow the medieval practice of Trial by Ordeal. Each team nominates one knight to serve as their champion, and said knights must slay an increasingly impossible series of foes to determine which of them are truly favored by God. Since the 2005 season, The University of Tennessee baseball team has chosen to have its knight thrown off a cliff, falling twelve stories to a certain death on the rocks below. Not one has survived this trial, but I applaud them for their consistency (see above).

Teams can opt for the “Sports writers and/or rankings websites subjectively judge your worth relative to the worth of other teams via the process of watching some of the games” option, as well, but there is no honor in that. As for the midweek game question, I covered that last week, so click here and read. My answer has not changed.

Question from Dann:

Hi, I’m a longtime fan of the VU program...been following for quite a while...any news on Martin? Is he injured?

All we know (and know is really relative here) is that there has been some sort of “internal issue” (loosely translated, some discipline concern that’s being handled in house). Not an injury. Corbs has not said a word to anyone on this subject. See above regarding the lack of injury reporting. Nobody tells me nothin’…