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2021 Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #14: Answers to Your Questions

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


Question from DoreJam:

How much more over the top could IT’s home run trot have been??

Not much. I.T. first watched it, then slowly backed away, then threw his bat triumphantly, and then soaked up every last second of that Grand Salami trip around the bases, jumping up and down and high-fiving Corbs, ending with a devastating stomp of home plate. I have no notes. Instead, let’s all watch it, but set to classical music:

Question from AspenVU:

Why was that game started so late last night? A very long layover did not help Atlanta. The game was not on real TV. Lots of follow up games start 55 min after prior game. Might not be an answer to find out there, but I’m sure it’s common sentiment?

I honestly don’t know. As you said, it wasn’t an ESPN mandate. It wasn’t a late change due to weather, either. I think they just decided this was the right time for both games. Had I been scheduling, I’d have gone with 12pm CT and 6 or 7pm CT. There’s really not much more to say here, though.

Question from Stress Fracture:

1. Who starts in LF?

2. Batting order. With injuries it is hard to know availability, but is Bulger better lower in the order and have Vaz/Laneve or Noland 2nd??

I’ll answer both at the same time, as they both depend on the bruised hand of 2B Tate Kolwyck. If Tater’s out for Supers (which I hope is not the case), Noland stays at 2nd defensively and Gonzo at 3rd defensively. Beyond that, Tater being out defensively might prompt Corbs to go with Vaz in LH and LaNeve at DH so as to improve the defense (*note: LaNeve will be in the lineup, and in a prime position in the lineup, from here on out, regardless of defensive positioning).

If Tater’s back, he’ll be at 2nd, with Noland likely at 3rd (unless ECU has a stud LHP and Corbs wants Gonzo in there for the platoon advantage). As such, I have to think if Tater’s back, Bulger’s relegated to pinch hitting duties. Corbs would most likely DH Gonzo then.

I really liked the look of Vaz at LF and 2nd in the order (as he’s a lightning bug on the base paths, and was doing a Tony Kemp impression in the field). If Mighty Carter Young is back to full health (or close enough so as to be an effective switch hitter), he’s got to be the #2 guy in the lineup. If not, and if Tater’s not fully back to health, either, I would put Vaz in the 2 hole and in LF, and bat LaNeve LaCleanUp.

In short, do not expect a static lineup, or the same lineup 1-9 written in Sharpie each game of Supers. Injuries have forced Corbs to play around, but our depth gives him the ability to do so and keep the lineup humming.

Question from RocketCityVandy:

Possible quick overview of the other supers, when finalized? How we expect it to turn out, etc.

As this answer could quickly hit 1000 words if I’m not careful, I’ll go Hemingway’s Iceberg on it (“For Sale: Baby Super Regionals; Never Worn”) and give you a quick answer.

As I’m writing this during the 10th inning of a 3-3 game between Old Dominion and Ol’ Virginny, I’ll start with their Super Regional (and laugh that no matter what happens, as it will be played in Columbia, SC, home of the South Cackalacky Game Penises).

*Update: UVA walked it off with a HR in the 10th to advance to Supers.

South Cackalacky Game Penis Regional

Dallas Baptist University vs. UVA

Winner: UVA in three games.

Arky Regional

Arky vs. NC State

Winner: Arky in three games. Kevin Kopps will somehow pitch 21 innings and 300 pitches.

Long Fedora Regional

Texas vs. South Florida

Winner: Texas in two. This one’s a pretty big mismatch.

Witness Protection Regional

Texas Tech vs. Stansbury

Winner: Tech in three games.

Cowbells vs. Catholics Regional

Clanga vs. The Notre Dame Fightin’ Catholics

Winner: Clanga in three games.

Zona Regional

Arizona vs. Ole Piss

Winner: Ole Piss in three games. That Ostrich with arms, Doug Nikhazy, will pitch Ole Piss to a Game One easy victory, and that Elk with no knee ligaments will Kirk Gibson it late in Game Three. You just know this is happening. Don’t fight it.


Chuggers vs. Gumbo Bengals

Winner: Gumbo Bengals in three games. Listen, you know the Chuggers are the superior team. I know the Chuggers are the superior team. Still, this is Mainieri’s retirement party, and logic need not apply. There will be eleventy billion dingers hit in this band box of a mullet-luge stadium. It will be gross. Tony “The Calf” Vitello will make an ass of himself. The fans will be quite literally the worst. Won’t matter. Mainieri goes to Omaha because of course he does.

Nashville High Seas Battle Regional

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. ECU Pirates

Winner: Diamond Dores in two.

Question from ShoogyMgShoogs:

When will Kopps need TJ and why is it before this season is over? I’m so glad Brown told Corbin Maldo had 1 batter in him. Protect the kids’ arms.

As I said then:

Dave Van Horn has managed the ever-loving hell out of this season, but can anyone explain to me bringing in your all-world closer in inning #3???

*Note: He threw 4 IP Saturday and 2 & 1/3 IP Friday. His velo is currently way down, as well. Just lunacy.

Beyond that, my assumption that bringing in Kopps in the 3rd meant he was in for the duration proved correct. He threw 7 IP (89 pitches) on Monday, 4 IP (71 pitches) Saturday, and 2 & 13 IP (24 pitches) Friday.

If I were to tell you any pitcher threw 184 pitches, and beyond that, threw about 50 warmup pitches three separate times over the course of 4 days, your eyebrow would surely raise, and your shoulder and elbow would likely experience phantom pains. It’s not okay. Even in the postseason.

Pay attention to Kopps’ usage rate and velocity drops in their Super Regional series against NC State. I fully expect him to be out there for multiple innings in at least two games, and wouldn’t be shocked if he throws the bulk of Game 3 (if necessary). I do not agree with it at all, regardless of how effective he was yesterday. You just can’t put a kid’s arm in that much danger.

Question from Chasrad:

Potentially 5 SEC teams could reach the CWS. Has this happened ever? Any conference?

*Answer from Parlagi:

I can take that one. 4 teams is the most, and it’s happened 5 times.

The SEC got 4 teams in 1997, 2004, 2015, and 2019. The ACC had 4 teams in 2006.

The 4-team conference only won the CWS twice (1997 and 2019).

Question from Parlagi:

I can’t imagine how many Oregonians these drunk LSU fans have already eaten. What color roux do you think they used?


*Note: VandyTigerPhD made that gif years back when I repeatedly referred to the Western Carolina University Catamounts as “the Western Carolina University Kanamits.” Replace WCU with LSU in your own heads.

Question from Megan’s 7 year-old Nephew, Dean:

I’m submitting this on behalf of my 7-year-old nephew, Dean, who is a huge Vanderbilt baseball fan!! He records every game and rewatches over and over, then we hear the game commentary as he replays the game with himself in the yard.

“When there is a strike out, why does the catcher always throw the ball to first base?”

Go Vandy Boys!!

Normally, after a strikeout, the catcher will throw it to 3rd base so the defenders can “whip the ball around the horn” triumphantly. I can only assume the original intent for this was to keep the defenders locked in after just standing there doing nothing for the duration of the at bat ending in a strikeout. As with anything else in baseball, it became tradition. It was briefly disallowed due to Covid-19 precautions related to touching surfaces, but those precautions were lifted when the science came in to change the recommendation.

Now your nephew might just be asking about why a catcher might have to throw to first after a strikeout to complete the out. That happens due to a rule holdover from Cricket—the sport baseball spun-off from similar to how football spun-off from rugby. In Cricket, there is no foul territory, so batters run no matter where the ball is hit, and also run if they miss a swing, but the man behind them doesn’t field the ball.

In Cricket, the goal is to knock over one of the wickets (sticks lined up right behind the batter—a precursor for baseball’s home plate). The goal for the batter, then, is to keep the wickets safe from being knocked over.

As such, though baseball added in foul territory and replaced the wickets with a plate and strike zone, they kept the rule that all pitches not caught by the catcher would be a “live ball,” and, as such, runners could advance (unless they were fouled/foul-tipped by the batter). As long as first base is “open” (no runner is currently on it), the catcher must “complete the play” by throwing out the runner at first if he drops the ball, or the ball gets away from him in any way.

Hopefully that answers things for your nephew.