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2021 Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #12: Answers to Your Questions

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

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Preparations For Prince Philip Funeral Windsor photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images

Question from Athanatos504:

I have many questions, so just choose any you’d like to answer.

1. Will our Big 12 brethren in College Station have a new coach next season?

2. Will LSU have a new coach next season?

3. If L’v’lle fails to make a regional, how happy would Infante be?

4. Do you support automated ball/strike calls instead of umps?

5. Why does Leiter have such a hard time in the first inning?

Yes, those are many questions. I will answer all of them, though as quickly as humanly possible, and I will not edit for typing errors, inconsistencies, or accuracy.

...and GO!

1) Yes. They fired Childress after one bad season, though he’s been the best baseball coach they’ve ever had. College Station is a shit town which thinks its beautiful; aTm is an average university which thinks it’s Yale in the classroom and should win everything all the time always on the athletic fields. Presumably, they like being disappointed.

2) I would have said no a few days ago, but after losing to Ugga yesterday—and possibly seeing the NCAA Tourney chances go up in smoke—I could absolutely see Paul Mainieri get shit-canned from the Gumbo Factory.

3) And there are those who say his chin grew three sizes that day...

*Note: Louisville beat Clemson 15-10 yesterday and plays the Atlanta team of former Diamond Dores today. At this point, I would be shocked if the Cards don’t get a tourney bid.

4) Yes and no. I 100% support a system in which the robots aid the human umps on balls and strikes (possibly via electric shocks to the testicles, as umps have brought this on themselves), but am leery of anything that could bring Skynet into existence. In short: yes on the robot umps, but only as a tool to help the human umps not make egregious calls like the strike that should have given us the sweep against the Blue Balls and the dirt scraper against Dr. Jones in Oxford.

5) Gypsy curse.

Question from Chasrad:

When are you going to answer the previous questions? Did I miss something? Anxiously awaiting…Will the Chugger’s coach be hired away by Auburn, LSU or some other team, preferably not in the SEC?

Well, I was going to answer the previous questions previously, but then more questions came in, and... well, I’ll let Newman explain:

As for your second question, I have an inkling that The Chuggers d-bag coach Tony “The Calf” Vitello will be leaving the SEC to join BIG XII expatriate aTm in College station.

Question from Johnny ‘10:

Any update on LeNeve? By far the worst thing to come out of Saturday’s game if he’s hurt. Where on earth is Ethan Smith, and will we see him pitch again?

I’ll let the new sports guy at The Huslter answer with all the recent injury updates:

One of the biggest storylines for the Commodores entering the tournament will be the team’s health. After a late-season shoulder injury to Carter Young, Troy LaNeve—who had emerged as a force in the middle of the Commodore lineup—injured his foot attempting to catch a ball at the warning track on Saturday against Kentucky.

Young leads the Commodores in both home runs (14) and RBIs (47) but an MRI revealed structural damage to his left shoulder.

“Carter is day-to-day right now,” Corbin said. “If he can do anything at all—we have to turn in the [tournament] roster [Monday night] by six o’clock—I would include him, but it probably is the back end of this [when he is available].”

LaNeve, on the other hand, is trending in the right direction. Corbin said he has “greatly improved” since injuring his foot on Saturday but is still day-to-day.

Vanderbilt’s pitching staff has also been hit by the injury bug throughout the season. Sophomore Sam Hliboki’s season ended in early May due to Tommy John surgery and Corbin ruled out freshman Miles Garrett for the season last week due to a stress fracture. Junior Ethan Smith has also not pitched since April 3 after contracting COVID-19, but Corbin is optimistic that he will be available this week in Hoover.

“Smith—he is throwing right now—has felt really good the last three days,” Corbin said of his reliever. “If he is available, it’s going to be low volume because he just hasn’t thrown a lot.”

Question from Volundore:

Understanding that baseball, like basketball, is a postseason-driven sport and the final narrative of the season will be determined by how things go there…

Would you deem the season to date:

A) An overwhelming success

B) A moderate success

C) A thorough mehening

D) A moderate disappointment

E) A flaming dumpster, inhabited by the “This is Fine” Dog, floating down the Cuyahoga River, which is also on fire

Are you more or less sanguine about their chances for postseason success than you were, say, a month ago?

I’ll go with: B) A moderate success.

I’m only slightly less sanguine (hat tip for the excellent word choice), and only because of injuries (see above question). With Doolin and Hliboki shaking hands with Tommy John and Miles “Kilometers” Garrett out with a season ending stress fracture, our otherworldly pitching depth is now, well, worldly. With Ethan Smith on the mend, we certainly have enough arm talent to win it all, but certainly will not be as dominant as we could have been. As long as Mighty Carter Young returns to full health (and Troy “LaLeave” LeNeve returns to his power hitting ways), we should certainly have enough offense and defense to get the job done.

As I said at the beginning of the year, quite literally every team in college baseball would trade all the strengths on their team for the 1-2 punch of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. After a one week rest for Jack, both Jack and Kumar have gone to K-Castle. We can absolutely win in Omaha, but, of course, have less margin for error in the bull pen.

Question from Shoogymgshoogs:

If Louisville makes the tournament will they be our 2, 3, or 4 seed?

They will make the tourney. They will be a 3 seed. They damn well better not get sent to Nashville.

Question from RocketCityVandy:

So, unfortunately I can’t ask my question regarding the ump from Saturday, because otherwise my FBI reader might have more information for his file.

So instead, I’ll ask: Given the projected fields for the Regionals, who do we want to meet there?

Besides true love? I’ll go with quite literally anyone but Louisville, as I’ve already seen the film Groundhog Day too many times.

Real Answer: Radford. It’s always fun to put up 20+ runs and have the game be effectively over before the first inning ends.

Question from Lsmsrbls:

Which vegetable do you most associate with each baseball team in the SEC tournament?

They’re all towns who think ketchup counts as a vegetable. We’re, umm... carrots or something.

I do not understand this question.