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Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #8: Answers to Your Questions

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

Postal strike vote: majority in favor of strike Photo by Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Question from VU1970:

Is there something about the nature of baseball that isn’t widely understood? Even the MLB playoff teams get swept once or twice in the course of a season. And losing 17-1 isn’t more meaningful than getting beat 2-1 or 4-3. Our winning percentage right now in SEC conference play is .722, as opposed to UT’s .444 record in conference.

The short answer is: emotions. The long answer is: emooooooooooooooooooootions.

You’re also right that many view baseball like it’s football, and... well, it’s not. It’s a high variance sport. 4 seeds have won the CWS. Teams from Mississippi have won the CWS and then fallen into that bottomless pit with Ozzie Smith.

Heck, when I was 10, my Little League team lost the Championship game when the worst player on the opposing team hit a 3 run HR in the 6th. I think that kid had maybe one other hit that year, and it was of the “pitcher slipped when trying to field a sac bunt” variety.

*Note that my town’s Little League required everyone on the team to get in the game for either 2 defensive innings or one AB minimum. It was a fine rule, in theory, but in practice, it amplified the bullying, as the shitty players knew they were resented by the good players. Paradox!

However, this week was bad, and it was against the freaking Buttchuggers. While I think people were overreacting a bit (as we really should have won game one), we did then completely fall apart in the next two. That’s... really shitty. We could have ended their season. Instead, we jumpstarted their shriveled black hearts. That alone is significant reason to be pissed, as I hate those wine-stained ass-bags. Regardless, as long as we flush that week and get back to playing championship ball against The Jamaal Mashburn Wedding Jerseys today, I’m not all that worried.

Question from Dinard’oh, JoshuaJohnson98, Jerry_Palms_Sphincter, & Your Uncle Mike:

Corbs is a good man. Molds his players into good men. Respects the game, loves his country, takes pride in his school. I like his chances against any great opponent.

My question is, does he have the ability to transform and deal with teams that play with malice in their hearts? Can Tim Corbin find the raging fire to destroy teams that hate him? Or am I asking too much of the man?

Put simply, does coach hate Tennessee enough, or is this his most glaring deficiency?


Why can’t we beat Vitello?


The fuck?


Just what in the Sam Hill was up last weekend?!?!

That’s why I love you guys. Both the previous question and this series of questions seem to be polar opposites, but both are perfectly cromulent positions to take after this weekend. The word of the day is... paradox.

Corbs does seem to have problems playing teams comprised of and coached by irredeemable dirtbags. Short of cloning Carson Fulmers who will have no problem with glaring death stares through their skulls until their heads explode and Julians Chinfante to unhinge their Luke Smiths through nothing other than natural charisma, I’m not sure how we compete with that. You have to be gentlemen off the field, but it’s okay to let the hate course through you when playing the literal worst people in the world. So, umm... bring in Carson Fulmer as a graduate assistant coach? That would be a good start.

Question from Saminator:

Hitting and a bit of “bad luck” recently aside, we are obviously having our pitching depth seriously challenged. What is the injury status if any for Grayson Moore, Hunter Owen, Andrew Dutkanych and Colton Regen? Why does it seem like we get even less information with each passing year than we, as fans used to? Far as Dutkanych, doesn’t it seem a little maddening that we aren’t trying to realize something out of his potential during this stretch of games?

Moore and Owen are back. I expect Owen to start Saturday, as he is listed in the probable starters. The Duke is getting closer to returning. No clue on Regen.

I know many don’t get this, but what Corbs has been doing regarding resting certain pitchers when they get arm fatigue, and being extremely careful not to rush them back, is 100% the right move. Yeah, it might cost us a few SEC games, but we want to be healthy for a postseason run. Further, we sell ourselves effectively as the ethical college baseball superpower. Look at MLB injuries this year. With pitching technology getting to the point where pitchers can know exactly how to amp up spin rate or mess with the shape of their pitches, combined with the Driveline style “amplify your MPH past the point where any tendon can hold” pitching culture, arms are exploding at unprecedented rates.

The selling point of Vanderbilt to elite baseball prospects is:

  1. Elite coaching.
  2. Elite facilities.
  3. Elite education.
  4. Elite results (both in terms of CWS appearances and MLB preparedness).
  5. Elite ethics.

In short, the promise is we will do things the right way, and prioritize the kid’s future over the present. No other school can offer that and compete for championships regularly.

As for the information gap, it’s actually better recently than it was in the past, as Aria Gerson is relentless. Give her a follow on the bird app, and/or read her in the local fishwrapper. While Adam “Sparky” Sparks was fine, Aria keeps me much more well-informed, even on the injury stuff that Corbs has traditionally been Belichickian about. In the past, we quite literally knew nothing about injured players. Now, we know some things.

For example:

Question from RocketCityVandy:

So, I trust Corbs to do what’s best for the boys, even if it’s not what we want as a fanbase. I’m more than willing to leave them in his hands, because I know I’d have no idea what to do with them anyway, so I won’t ask about that.

Do you have any recommendations on how, as a fan, to move past this... whatever the hell this was? Fortunately we get Kentucky at the Hawk, so that’s small favors, but after that we’re on the road against Bama, Louisville (spits), and Florida, which won’t be an easy stretch.

I yield the floor to Senator Blutarsky:

Question from Aspen VU:

Why did Maldo pitch in extras?

Yes he choked in 9 th, but he’s not a 4-5 inning pitcher?

I thought we had all these great recruiting classes of pitchers?

While I agree with the commenter “BBrealist” who replied to this question with...

Choked? If you know the game you wouldn’t say that. Did you see the pitch the kid hit to tie it? You have to tip your cap to him. Also, most other fields 2 of those homers were fly-outs.

...I also think it’s more than fair to question why they went to Maldo in the 8th to begin with. It was game one of a three game series. Bring him in for a two inning save and you burn him for the series. You have to trust at least one other reliever enough to get a hold. Now I know games 2 and 3 were blowouts that left us all like Colonel Kurtz whispering “The horror, the horror.” Not sure that happens if we don’t give them life on Friday to begin with. Also, you can’t know the future and whatnot. What I’m saying is this: this team will not advance far in the NCAA Tourney if we don’t trust at least one more reliever to be a back of the bullpen stopper. Though he hasn’t had the best season, Schultz could be that guy. So could Reilly. Hell, so could Prancetown Transfer Jack Anderson. By bringing in Maldo in the 8th, you’re not only burning him for the rest of the week, but also, you’re telling the rest of the pen that you don’t trust them. That’s not a recipe for success.

As for leaving him in for extras, I don’t get that either, but that was mostly because we were low on starting pitchers with Owen and Moore out. It wasn’t great, but the problem happened before extras, decision-making-wise.

Question from shoogymgshoogs:

What brand of dumpster is on fire right now? Do they make flameproof dumpsters?

That’s a common Waste Management dumpster made by Metalwerx, Inc. right there.

Side note: when Googling stuff about dumpsters, I found this particular nugget of information that should explain this past weekend succinctly:

In 1935, George Dempster invented the first version of the dumpster. Dempster and his brothers John and Thomas owned a construction business in Knoxville, Tennessee. They had a problem keeping up with the amount of construction debris they were dealing with on their job sites.

Of fucking course the dumpster guys are Chuggers.

Question from WestEndMayhem:

Folks, I’m straight up not having a good time right now?


Question from SuicideDores:

What’s up with Mr. Manager? Since Corbs decided to give a bullshit answer, feel free to speculate wildly.

[Woody Allen trying to be suave voice]: Wildness and speculation are my various breads and various butters.

I don’t really need to speculate all that wildly, though, as all three of Holton, Owen, and Futrell have missed starts due to fatigue this season. Corbs and Brownie, quite correctly, have prioritized pitcher health for the postseason over a few games here and there. As long as Holton, Owen, and Futrell are healthy and peaking in the postseason, this team has a chance a grabbing the brass ring. If not, well... you saw what happened when Cunningham has had to start on SEC weekends, right?

Question from jessecuster44:

It’s completely unacceptable for a program as good as Vanderbilt to lose 7 straight to UT - and only two of those games were competitive.

We all love Corbin, but this isn’t good. At all.

The pitching was bad, the hitting wasn’t good, but at what point do we start to consider that Corbin may be culpable in this mess? I am viscerally ready with a torch and pitchfork.

...and there’s the emotions I was talking about earlier. There are no Corbin-specific torchforks. We’re building the man a damned statue if he ever decides to retire (please don’t, Corbs; live forever you glorious man!).

All I can offer you is this:

Question from BarnDore1950:

If we split the next four SEC series we end up 19-11 for the conference. Assuming we win at least two in the tournament, is that enough to host a regional and a super ( if we make the super)?

19 wins will definitely be enough to be a Regional Host, and has traditionally been enough in our conference to be a National Seed. I want more than that, though. Let’s get back to playing championship ball this week against the Wedding Jerseys and put some distance betwixt this past week and... well... everything.