There are times in the off-season when baseball players become frustrated with the long workouts and conditioning because the season seems so far away. Yet when we lace up our cleats and step on the field on opening day, we remember the reason we endure the long winters. All of the determination and effort pays off by knowing we are prepared to succeed throughout the season. Last Friday in San Diego, my teammates and I shared this feeling, and we couldn’t have been more excited to begin the season.
Despite inclement weather that shortened one game and delayed another, we were very successful in San Diego, winning all four of our games. Our starting pitching was very strong in all four games, especially on Sunday, when Taylor Hill carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and Grayson Garvin was perfect through six innings. Tony Kemp was a spark plug for our offense, getting six hits and stealing four bases. It was also great to see Mark Lamm and Navery Moore, two relief pitchers who have overcome Tommy John surgery, pitch strong in their appearances out of the bullpen.
After taking a redeye flight Monday morning to return to Nashville, we arrived back at Vanderbilt and went straight to class to catch up on our studies. We now shift our focus to our game Wednesday against the Belmont Bruins. After playing Belmont on Wednesday, the Stanford Cardinal come to Nashville for a three-game series this weekend at Hawkins Field. We opened our 2009 season in Palo Alto with Stanford winning two of three games against us, and I’m sure these three games will be as highly competitive as they were two years ago.
I hope everyone has a great week, and hopefully you all will be able to tune in Tuesday night to watch our basketball team beat “that other Tennessee team” (Vandy vs. UT, 8:00 central, ESPN).
Until next week– Go ’Dores
P.S. On the flight to San Diego, I was able to read Buster Olney’s How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer. We have been fortunate enough to meet Coach Meyer twice in the past few years, and Olney’s book depicting Coach Meyer’s life before and after his tragic car accident is both heartfelt and powerful. If anyone gets some free time, you should definitely check it out.