Some Joy in Mudville
Vanderbilt was eliminated from the NCAA baseball tournament on Sunday. It was a heartbreaker of a loss – a 2-run homer in the bottom of the ninth – to cap a tough season. I was upset about it at first; I was angry that we lost the way we did, sad that so many of our players will be lost to graduation or to major league baseball this off-season. Then I picked up the sports section of the New York Times Sunday edition last night, and it totally changed my mind.
The front page featured a picture of Vanderbilt’s star player, Pedro Alvarez, an NYC high school product who will likely be among the top three players drafted in the MLB draft on Thursday. It made me remember how lucky we Vanderbilt baseball fans have been over the last few years. We’ve had front row seats for the birth of a great program. Before 2004, it had been 24 years since Vanderbilt went to an NCAA baseball tournament. Since then, we’ve been four times in five years, and spent the majority of last year ranked #1 in the country. My disappointment with the way this season ended shows just how lucky we are. It may be hard to appreciate right now, but only fans of a great baseball team get to feel this kind of disappointment.
Thanks to all the players who have been a part of the program these last few years, and thanks especially to Coach Corbin and his staff. We didn’t make it to the top of the mountain this year, but I can’t wait to watch us try again next spring.