Last week was another strong one for us, as we defeated Middle Tennessee State in the midweek, 9-1, and won all three games against Alabama. Curt Casali, the SEC Player of the Week, was 6-14 with a home run and 10 runs batted in during those four games. Anthony Gomez continued his hit streak this week, pushing the total to 28 games and counting. Tony Kemp made the catch of the year in college baseball on Sunday. Down 10-6 in the top of the 8th inning, Alabama was rallying and had the bases loaded with two outs. The next ball was lined down the left field line, and Tony dove/jumped/flew in the air as he landed on the warning track with the ball in his glove. It was definitely Web Gem/Sportscenter Top 10 worthy, but the camera angle didn’t help his case. (VIDEO LINK).
Anyways, every Tuesday and Thursday, Connor Harrell, Sam Selman, Gomez and I eat breakfast at Pancake Pantry on 21st Avenue in Nashville. There is no better way to start the day than to enjoy some buttermilk pancakes or French toast from the Pantry. After ordering and talking about the usual stuff—politics, world peace, etc.—we somehow started talking about the topic of the blog this week. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, so we all threw out ideas. However, Connor won the Play of the Year award at our Black and Gold Banquet last night for his squeeze bunt in the NCAA Regionals last year, so we decided to let him choose the topic. We all wanted him to give a speech last night, but since he chose not to, we thought he could make up for it with a solid blog topic. His choice? Nicknames.
Nicknames in baseball are just as common as sunflower seeds and bubble gum. Everyone has a nickname. Everyone has many nicknames. No one is known solely by his first name. With us, it gets to the point where a parent or professor will mention someone’s first name and we won’t even know who they are talking about. Nicknames can originate from a first or last name—i.e. Westy, Go-Go, Yaz—but the true nicknames come from elsewhere, such as an older teammate or a person’s appearance. For instance, last week I referred to Curt Casali as Mr. President and Tom Selleck.
Here are some of our nicknames, with a little bit of background:
Curt Casali: Mr. President, Tom Selleck, Old Man River
- Jason Esposito came up with the Old Man River comment. Not bad Espo!
Will Clinard: Weatherman Willie, Cutter Clinard, Sid
- Willie is an aspiring meteorologist. I’ve never seen someone get so happy when it starts storming. He’s always got one eye on the Doppler in case we have to tarp the field.
- Sid actually came from a movie reference his freshman year, but the name stuck.
Grayson Garvin: Garv, Carvin’, Johnny Olerud
- Lamm gave Garv the Johnny O nickname in the blog a few weeks ago, and its still going strong. Garv even put on an Olerud-type helmet the other day for ground balls.
Conrad Gregor: Rad, The Gregor, The Dancing Bear
- Doesn’t “The Gregor” just sound like a villain from Pirates of the Caribbean or something?
- The Dancing Bear comes from Rad’s performances in square drill in the fall. It always takes the freshman a little while to get the hang of it, but as you can tell nicknames don’t easily go away.
Connor Harrell: HD, the Power Outage
- Connor just wouldn’t be Connor without his Heavy Duty truck
- A picture of Connor bunting just happened to be on the front page of Baseball America’s website earlier this year along with a headline for an article titled “Power Outage.” I’ll give it to him he’s got some pop, but nevertheless the nickname stays.
Taylor Hill: T-Bear, The Grape Ape
- T is known for two things—eating and sleeping. And when he sleeps, he hibernates.
- Our strength coach Gabe Teeple gave him the nickname “Grape Ape” because of an old cartoon character. We’ve never seen it, but we don’t mess with Coach Teeple so we just agreed.
Bryan Johns: BJ, Johnsy, Waka Flocka Johns
- Johnsy is a huge hip-hop fan, especially Waka Flocka Flame (what a name by the way), so we did a little editing and came up with Waka Flocka Johns
Mark Lamm: Lammy, Lammbo, Cowboy, Grandpa
- Lamm is from good ol’ Loretto, Tennessee, and from what I was told when I was a freshman, that’s where cowboys come from.
- The cowboy is also the resident 5th year senior on the team, so its customary for him to get the grandpa and wheelchair jokes (I think his freshman year was 2003).
Joe Loftus: Lofty, The Don Loftus
- Lofty is known for his video games, and a few years ago he had some mafia game that he played. His character was known as the Don, and he ran things, so Loftus immediately was known as the Don
Since this list would get really long if we talked about everyone this week, I’ll save some for next week. But Connor HD refuses to let me turn this in without writing about my nicknames. Since he’s Mr. Play of the Year right now, I told him to have at it:
“While I’ve been so blessed to have earned the nickname ‘Power Outage,’ I thought it would only be fair if Drew ‘D Answer’ Fann had his nicknames published for the world to see as well. I’m not sure who originated ‘D Answer’ [ed’s note: former Commodore pitcher Nick Christiani] but the name has stuck because Fanner just seems to have the answer to every question; sports, politics, you name it. Drew has become so attached to the name that he actually let Gomez shave ‘DA’ in the back of his head last spring. Glad you’ve been so accommodating, Drew. Unfortunately, I often find myself skeptical as to whether or not his ‘answers’ are always the truth; we let it slide, though.
Drew Fann: Fanner, D Answer, Fannswer, Fannchise
Speaking of HD, he had a little run in with the Hawkins Field wall Friday night, so Corey Williams and I went out to investigate later in the weekend. Looks like the criminal is still at large…
Tonight we travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee—easily the greatest city in the world—to play Middle Tennessee State. After that, we’ll load up the sleeper buses and head to Columbia, South Carolina, for a weekend showdown with the South Carolina Gamecocks. They swept us two years ago when we played in Columbia, and as the defending College World Series champions, they are once again one of the top teams in the country. It’s going to be three great games.
Until next week—Go ’Dores