Athletics


JUNE-JULY 2007 ARCHIVE

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TUESDAY, JULY 31- 1:35 PM

Some of our staff recently went to the Donelson YMCA to participate in some Kids Day activities. Children were given Commodore t-shirts and posters and also tried on some of the football gear that our players wear on the field.

Check out some pictures from the event -- GALLERY

And Kids ---Be sure and sign up for the NEW AND IMPROVED COMMODORE KIDS CLUB! Enjoy free admission to select basketball games, special events and prizes, and an official Kids Club Card and T shirt. Sign up today for just $25! For more information, click here or contact Jason Silvers at jason.m.silvers@vanderbilt.edu.

And finally, here's another video of the day... and yes, it could be worse than yesterday's post. I'll let you decide. This footage is from El DeBarge and was the featured track in the hit movie Short Circuit. Best part of it is that I guess actor Steve Guttenberg was too cool to make the video shoot, so he appears as a cardboard cutout. Anyone think he'd jump at the chance for new work today??!! (Sorry, Steve.. you're still a legend in my eyes)





MONDAY, JULY 30- 11:40 AM

Well, I'm back from vacation.

Actually, I've been back for a few weeks and have not updated the blog.

I enjoyed my time in Vegas... and may share a few random pictures later this week.

There have been a lot of great things going on at Vanderbilt. I've been spending most of my time lately preparing our content schedule for the upcoming season. We have some great things planned, so be sure to stick with us.

One of my main focuses this year will be to display more "personality" on the site. In some upcoming video features, you'll see some of it. We'll have sit down interviews with offensive coordinator Ted Cain and defensive coordinator Bruce Fowler. We've also been shooting some behind-the-scenes segments with George Smith and Bryant Anderson.... and chronicled our trip down to SEC Media Days with Earl Bennett and Jonathan Goff. I think you'll enjoy seeing some of the guys in a different setting.

And football practice officially starts a week from today. We'll start to beef up our content for fans hungry for preseason news. If there's something you'd like to see, let me know.


View USA Pictures of Shan Foster


Some other things going on:

USA Basketball may have had a slow start at the Pan Am games with two early losses, but the squad rebounded for three straight wins to finish in fifth place. The key factor to the turnaround? Shan Foster. It's simple math --- Shan started the last three games, which were all victories. In those wins, he averaged 11 points in 34 minutes per game. Shan summed up his experience playing in Brazil on USA's site:

I got a chance to meet some great players, play with some guys that are going on and be hall of famers. They're a lot of great players here. It's a great experience overall, coming to Brazil is a great honor. Not too many people can say they came to Brazil and to play on a USA Team, and to represent not only my country and school, but my family as well is a great experience.

And fans, now is your chance to vote on which design will be printed on the promotional t-shirts that are thrown at our sporting events for the 2007-08 athletic year. Voting ends this Sunday, so click here to make your voice heard!

Finally, here's one last video to get your Monday kickstarted. This is a classic from the late eighties. I am in an email chain with friends from high school and last week's theme contained link after link to Rick Astley's best videos (and yes, he had more than one great video). One thing's for sure.. this guy had some great dance moves (I could probably learn a thing or two from Rick). Check him out in his most popular video (below). You'll thank me later.



Have a great Monday!



ON VACATION

I am on vacation this week in Las Vegas... so the blog won't be running.

Since I'll be in Vegas, I thought I'd leave you with a picture and quotes from one of my favorite all-time movies, Swingers.

I have seen this movie at least 100 times. The critically acclaimed film opened in 1996 and didn't get much play in the theatres. Once it hit video, though, it became sort of a cult classic... and also boosted the careers of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau.

If you've seen the flick, you may remember some of these quotes.



----------

[on the way to Las Vegas]

Trent: They're gonna give daddy the Rainman suite, you dig that?

Mike: Do you think we'll get there by midnight?

Trent: Baby, we're going to be up five hundy by midnight!

Mike: Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!

Trent: Vegas baby! Vegas!

Mike: Vegas!

----------

Trent: Double down.

Mike: What? I can't.

Trent: You ALWAYS double down on eleven.

----------

Trent: 18's good... 12... 16

Dealer: 21

Trent: I'm telling you, baby. You always double down on 11.

Mike: Yeah obviously not always.

Trent: Always baby.

Mike: I lost, okay. How can you say always?

----------

Mike: You shouldn't be sorry, you're a winner. I'm the loser. I'm the one who should be sorry.

Trent: Baby don't talk that way.

Mike: Can we just go, please, can we go?

Trent: Baby look at me, look at me. You're money, and you know what else? You're a big winner tonight.

Mike: I want to leave.

Trent: You're a big winner. I'm gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who's the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh? Mikey, that's who. Mikey's the big winner. Mikey wins.

----------



FRIDAY, JULY 6- 1:12 PM

Friday is finally here.

Some quick notes for the weekend:

Derrick Byars starts NBA Summer League action today at 3 p.m. CT as the Sixers take on the Spurs. Summer League is filled with first and second year players as well as other free agents looking to make a roster. Byars has been nursing an injury, so I'm not really sure how much he'll play. Matt Freije will also be looking to make the Denver Nuggets' roster (Thanks Will for the edit). For all your summer league info --- click here.

Also, the Team USA/Japan series is now tied at one after Japan took last night's game 3-2. Fans can watch the next three games online starting tonight at 6 p.m. CT. Go to the schedule page and look for the video link to the right of each of the games listed below.
Friday at 6 p.m. CT
Saturday at 6 p.m. CT
Sunday at 4 p.m. CT



To the right is another fan picture I received earlier this week from Ricky Richardson.

His niece's travel softball team sports Vanderbilt gold in support of the Commodores. The team finished second in the state tournament this past weekend in Hendersonville... and they're also preparing for the upcoming world tournament in Ringgold, Ga. Ricky mentioned that they always remember to remind the one UT fan on the team that "it's good to be gold." Maybe she can be converted into a Commodore fan! Thanks for the picture, Ricky.

And remember fans... email me your pictures during the summer and they just might end up in the blog. It could be anything from you with other fans wearing VU gear in public, or maybe a room decorated in black and gold, or a summer family get together, or whatever. I'd love to see it.

Email me at brandon.barca@vanderbilt.edu.

Finally, good news is that I go on vacation all of next week. That's right -- I'm headed to Vegas with my parents. I don't get to see them as much as I'd like so this will be a great way to spend quality time with them. I was actually born in Vegas (my dad was stationed at Nellis when he was in the Air Force). I haven't been back to the city since, so I really don't know what I'm in for. Just looking to have a fun time before everything kicks back in for the fall.

Since I'll be on vacation, the blog will be shut down all of next week.

Be sure to enjoy your weekend.



THURSDAY, JULY 5- 10:46 AM

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July.

While browsing the web last night, I came across some pictures of some of our 'Dores playing for Team USA. Steven Goldburg, who serves as the auxiliary coach on the squad, took the photos, so I asked him to write some comments about how the team spent their Fourth yesterday.

So here they are...

It's been awesome having the opportunity to work with Team USA again, even though Coach Corbin isn't coaching the team this summer. We've had a pretty successful two weeks leading up to the team going to Brazil for the Pan-Am games.

We played our first game against Japan as well as our first game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park last night for the 4th of July. The city of Durham held their fireworks show at the stadium after the game so the crowd was unbelievable. We started off with around 5,000 to 7,000 fans and had a packed house of over 10,000 by the end of the game. We ended up taking the opener, 7-2.

Prior to the game, it was a special moment for the guys as they entered the locker room. They saw their name plates on the lockers next to an American flag with camouflage jerseys sporting "USA" across the chest in honor of our troops. Here's a picture with Ryan Flaherty just before taking the field.



The stadium had big renovations since last summer which included a nice scoreboard being installed into the wall --- the "Blue Monster." Flaherty's position and place in the line-up has changed recently for Team USA --- he's been leading off and playing second base. This is his picture on the new scoreboard in the opening inning.



After the game and a great fireworks show, we were just hanging out on the field for a little while and the Vanderbilt crew took a picture with some of the other SEC guys. From left to right: Me, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty, Justin Smoak, Cody Satterwhite, and Mikie Minor. The other two SEC guys, Logan Forsythe and Lance Lynn, were busy signing autographs.



We're off to tour Hendrick Motorsports today before our game in Kannapolis tonight and then we finish off the series with Japan with three games back at the Durham Bulls stadium this weekend.




WEDNESDAY, JULY 4- 10:58 AM

Happy Fourth of July to all!

Just wanted to post a few news articles plus a video of the day.

You can always view our listing of Vanderbilt web links in our Around the Web section.

Tucson Citizen --- Allen leaves UA for Vanderbilt

PhillyBurbs.com --- Byars out to prove critics wrong

Courier Post --- Sixers' Byars ready to work

ESPN.com --- Price wins Brooks Wallace Award

And don't forget- tonight you can watch Team USA's game against Japan online starting at 5 PM CT --- Watch

Finally, the new Transformers movie is out in theatres. I think I need to see it, even though Michael Bay has the reputation of damaging good films. The new release had me reminiscing about one of the greatest things about the original --- Stan Bush's rocking theme... The Touch. If this doesn't get you fired up, nothing will. And I really hope this song appears in the new flick, too. That alone would be worth the price of admission.





TUESDAY, JULY 3- 12:10 PM

Just returned from a wedding weekend in Atlanta.

And no, I didn't tie the knot.

Happy to say good friends Jay and Courtney are now officially married and vacationing in Mexico. Always nice to see two people that love each other get married and take that next step in life. Best wishes to them! ((by the way -- the groomsmen pitched in to buy him a Playstation 3 ... you're never too old to play video games.... never.)



Changing subjects, there has been a lot going on since I last posted.

**First, Derrick Byars was drafted by Portland and traded to Philadelphia last Thursday night. Derrick will be jumping into summer league action starting this Friday in Las Vegas. Other notables on Philly's summer squad are Thad Young, Rodney Carney, and Shavlik Randolph (Gerry McNamara is also a summer invite). For more 76ers summer league info, check out this link for game times, the complete team roster and more. Plus, here's the NBA's official summer site.

**For all those doubters out there that said Vanderbilt couldn't make a big time hire under the department's new structure, the acquisition of Greg Allen from Arizona is more proof of quality hires showing that athletics are here to stay in Commodore Country. Looking forward to seeing the continued success of the women's golf program here on West End.

**For those that followed NFL Europa... Yes, it just folded after the title game.. but good news out of Denver is that the Broncos have signed former 'Dore Bill Alford. Alford will be reunited in the Rockies with some guy named Cutler.

**Team USA continues through the summer. Starting Wednesday, USAbaseball.com will webcast games until July 8. So for those going through summer baseball withdrawal, you can check out Pedro, Flash and Minor on your computers. Look to the right side of the USA Baseball schedule page and you'll see video links titled "350k" next to each game being broadcasted.

**Football single game ticket sales started yesterday (all games except for Alabama). Season tickets are soaring right now.. already at 9,600 --- which is 40% ahead of last year at this time. The Alabama single game tickets are being delayed so Commodore fans have more time to purchase season packages consisting of eight great home games this fall. It's nice to see the Commodore Nation's continued support of the program. For ticket information, click here.

Well, that's it for the day. Here's one last video clip that already has over a million hits on youtube. It's called "Dramatic Chipmunk" and has been labeled as the best 5 second clip on the internet. You can decide for yourself. Enjoy your 4th!





THURSDAY, JUNE 28- 9:38 AM

One of the things I enjoy most about Vanderbilt events is the tailgating.

Not only the tailgating, but the relationships that are built from tailgating.



Daniel Stockton sent me this picture the other day of "Ole Commodore I." Daniel is one of several loyal fans that get to the events early and set up shop... This gang was the driving force behind the creation of Vandyville. You'll see them just outside the football and baseball games rallying Commodore fans together for pre-game chatter and wonderful meals from the grill.

Well, "Ole Commodore I" has officially been retired, making its last run at the NCAA baseball regionals. OCI served fans for three baseball and two football campaigns at the VandyGold and Commodore Bullpen Club tailgates... and cooked over 5,000 hamburgers and too many chicken legs to count.

As sad as this may be, Daniel assured me that it wasn't the end of tailgating. Look for "Ole Commodore No. 2" coming this fall in Vandyville at football games!

Two other quick notes:

Don't forget -- the NBA draft is tonight at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. You can listen to Wednesday's interview with Derrick Byars and also watch a new highlight video by clicking here.

Finally, I'm on Day 10 of the weight loss program. I started at 227 pounds and the goal is to drop to 195 ... so 32 pounds in 90 days (September 19 to be exact).

I had my first weigh in yesterday. Glad to say I am at 218 now --- down a total of 9 pounds. This is typical for my first week though, especially since I am not eating fast food 2-3 times a day... and not drinking soda, which has been replaced by several bottles of water each day. The true test will be to see if I can last past a month. The odds are against me, but I won't go down without a fight!

Well, that's it for the day. I will be traveling to a wedding in Georgia this morning.. so there will be no blog for the rest of the weekend. Looking forward to seeing Jay and Courtney on their special day. I have the honor of being an usher... not really sure what that means or if people really need help finding a seat, but I'll be all smiles!



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27- 6:28 AM

Good Morning Commodore Fans.

Times are always a little slower in the summer when there are no athletic events going on.



At the end of last week, I wrote about visiting Vanderbilt's baseball camp to catch up with the team and to get an inside look at what happens at these youth instructional sessions. The counselors kept mentioning the sliding drill that was going to take place (last Friday)... and after learning that the drill included a big slip 'n slide, I decided to revisit camp to see it for myself. Afterall, who didn't love a slip 'n slide growing up?

Well, I finally put the video footage together so you can see what it was all about. The main question on the day was whether or not Coach Corbin was going to participate in the sliding action. You'll have to watch this five minute feature to see if he goes through with it.

Watch Slip 'n Slide Video

And here are some additional photos I took of the sliders:

View Photo Gallery

Also, check back to the front page of the site later today for an audio interview with Derrick Byars. I had the opportunity to speak with him just before he jumped on a flight from California to New York for Thursday's NBA Draft. Derrick has always been a class act as well as a fine representative of the university. It's always nice to see good things happen to good people... which is why I'm looking forward to watching where he ends up. The draft is Thursday night on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.

Finally, if you haven't already, you need to check out this feature interview that CSTV did with Pedro Alvarez detailing his life growing up.. it also discusses why he decided to attend Vanderbilt rather than signing a contract with the Major Leagues after graduating high school... plus comments from his parents and video of his hometown.

Watch CSTV's Alvarez Feature.



TUESDAY, JUNE 26- 11:35 AM

Happy Tuesday to all. Last week, I ran into some football players while filming footage at baseball camp.

The guys were working the Gatorade stations, so I thought it would be a good chance to catch up with them during their down time. I was able to track down Earl Bennett and Brian Stamper.

Watch these segments to find out if they ever had dreams growing up to play on the diamond instead of the gridiron. (and you'll see two completely different answers)

Earl Bennett Interview

Brian Stamper Interview



MONDAY, JUNE 25- 3:10 PM

I spent Saturday at Riverfront Park to watch the big Flugtag event.

What is Flugtag you might ask?

Here's what it says on their website:

Flugtag, which means "flying day" in German, challenges the everyday creative genius to build a human-powered flying machine with four close friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers. Teams piloted their crafts off the end of a 30-foot ramp in hopes of achieving flight and entertaining the crowd.



Simply put... people make these man-made aircrafts and try to see how far they can fly them off an airplane-like launching pad. Only catch is that they eventually come crashing down into the river about 30 feet down. How they crash was the most entertaining part in my book.

Sounds silly, but for a guy like me... it's simply entertaining (yes, I know, it doesn't take a lot to amuse me).

This was a big event because Flugtag only makes a couple of stops in the U.S. every year... and the Nashville event was the first one in the south since Miami in 2004.

There were 29 different teams... even T-Rac from the Titans had an aircraft (as pictured to the right). And let me tell you.. there were not only interesting machines (the Cuban Cigar was a winner in my book), but also the outfits that some of them wore while handling their vehicle were classic (as you'll see in some of my pictures).

Around 80,000 people packed downtown to view the festivities. And it was so hot outside it was uncomfortable. In fact, I didn't make it through the entire event.

Well, enough with the chatter... here are the pictures.

View Flugtag Picture Gallery

And if you want to see the final results, click here.

Finally, stay tuned to the blog this week... we'll include video interviews with Earl Bennett and Brian Stamper.. I ran into them at baseball camp last week and was able to ask a few random questions. Also, look for the baseball sliding video before the end of the week.

And don't forget... the NBA Draft will be aired live on ESPN this Thrusday at 7 p.m. ET. Can't wait to see where Derrick Byars ends up.

Have a great week.



SATURDAY, JUNE 23- 7:15 AM

We posted women's basketball camp videos and photos on Thursday afternoon. If you didn't get to see it, then you should check it out.

"Spirit Day" always takes place on the final day of their youth camp.

Campers wear crazy outfits, paint their faces, and do many other things to show their Commodore pride.

Director of Basketball Operations Jusitn VanOrman explains all the hoopla in this video.

Spirit Day's First Place Winner

The winner of the competition is pictured to the right. A very impressive hair-do indeed! That style was very similar to the way I wore my hair back in seventh grade. Those were the days I had to copy the popular 90210 cuts of Brandon and Dylan (except I didn't end up with Brenda or Kelly as my girlfriend). Back then, it only took half a can of hair spray to make it work, so there was no way anyone could run their fingers through my hair. All that probably damaged my locks, which can only explain my hair loss today.

By the way, the second season DVD of Beverly Hills, 90210 is on store shelves as I type. Do yourself a favor and drop everything you're doing. Go pick up a copy (or just watch reruns on Soap Channel 120 on Comcast).

And you can view more pictures of the campers that dressed up for Spirit Day here.

Also, basketball student-athlete Christina Wirth interviewed a bunch of the kids to find out if they enjoyed their camp experience. A really fun video that reminded me what it's like to be young -- You Should Watch It!

It was funny to see how shy the kids were when first approached.. and then once one kid was on camera, then everyone wanted to be on video. They kept asking what station it was going to be on, so I told them NBC's Nightly News. I hope they weren't disappointed! A big thanks to Christina for leading the video. She did a great job.

You can view more women's basketball camp photos by clicking here

Have a great Saturday.. I am planning to check out this Flugtag event at Riverfront park.

Don't know what to expect, but it should be a good time.



FRIDAY, JUNE 22- 1:58 PM

Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday so far.

I just came back from baseball camp... as you might know, today was the final day of the first session of youth camp. And if you watched my videos from the other day, then you know today featured the slip 'n slide drill. I took some good footage of the activity, so check back at a later date to see if Coach Corbin participated in the fun.

Now, I receive fan photos from time to time and always like to post them in the blog (so keep sending them!). Sierra Nielsen is a Vanderbilt student that is spending the summer interning for a business in Nebraska. She decided to make a trip to Omaha last week to see a familiar face (only some guy that won the Dick Howser Trophy and was drafted number one overall by Tampa Bay).

So I will let her take over the blog to explain the photo she sent.



Here is the photo from last week of David and I from Game 2 of the College World Series in Omaha.

It might not have been the best idea for him to sit in the General Admission area of the park (haha). It didn't take long for the men sitting in the row in front of us to realize who David was.

Before I knew it, I had turned into his autograph assistant! The kids in the crowd immediately ran off to buy baseballs for him to sign.

It's weird to see him become such a celebrity... He's still just David to me ... a sweet, playful and always humble good friend.

Everyone in the crowd was so excited to be at the game with David Price, the #1 pick in the draft ... I was just excited to be enjoying the game with a good friend.


Thanks again Sierra for sending the email.

Fans, email me your pictures during the summer and they might just end up here. It could be anything from you with other fans wearing VU gear in public, or maybe a room decorated in black and gold, or a summer family get together, or whatever. I'd love to see it.

Email me at brandon.barca@vanderbilt.edu.

Have a splendid weekend and check back for more random updates!



THURSDAY, JUNE 21- 5:23 AM

Today is officially the first day of summer. And summertime can mean only one thing at Vanderbilt. Camp time.

I spent a few hours at Wednesday's Commodore Baseball youth instructional session. And you couldn't have asked for better weather out at Hawkins Field.

The most enjoyable part of camp is watching our coaches and counselors working with hundreds of kids on the basics of the game. The coaches put a lot of time into planning and implementing the activities.... and Director of Baseball Operations Mike Calitri is the man that organizes it all from day one when registration began months ago.



In addition to the coaches, several student-athletes worked as counselors including David Price, Carter Hawkins, Adam Cronk, Parker Hanks, and Steven Schwartz (may have missed a few). Also, some of our football players manned the Gatorade stations (check back for football videos sometime in the next week).

So, I thought I'd post a few additional videos from camp for the blog. And please note that one of the recurring themes that came up was Friday's sliding drill. I'm kind of curious to see what this actually is after hearing all the guys talk about it. I'll try to grab some video of it plus maybe I can learn a few tips of mine own. Of all the holes in my game growing up, nothing was as bad as my sliding technique. I could never remember to keep my hands up which led to several jammed wrists.

This first video shows the autograph line for David Price following the morning activities. Price was kind enough to (1) stay for almost thirty minutes signing items for fans and (2) spend the entire camp working with kids on the fundamentals of the game he loves to play. After being drafted number one, he could have easily been doing other things with his time but chose to spend it at camp. And can you imagine being a kid and having the nation's top collegiate player helping you with a variety of drills? Well, thanks to some camp counselors, here are some interviews with kids as they wait in line for his autograph.

CAMP VIDEO: Price's Autograph Line

Carter Hawkins is also working as a counselor. Here is a video of him with two campers. Carter told me that he is currently enjoying some down time before he looks to start a career in baseball management. If you remember from a previous blog, Coach Corbin said to look for Carter to be a GM for a big league team one day.

CAMP VIDEO: Hawkins

Director of Baseball Operations Mike Calitri gives the 411 on camp...

CAMP VIDEO: Calitri

Listen to coach Blake Allen's thoughts on what camp truly is...

CAMP VIDEO: Allen

Parker Hanks and Steven Schwartz both look forward to Friday's sliding drill.

CAMP VIDEO: Hanks and Schwartz

One camp counselor thought it would be a good idea to send his group of kids on a mission to tackle Carter Hawkins. Did the kids succeed?

CAMP VIDEO: Operation Tackle Hawkins

Here are some great photos taken by Neil Brake at Wednesday's sesssion.

PHOTOS: Neil Brake's Camp Gallery

And some additional photos I took for the blog.

PHOTOS: My Blog Pictures

Finally, in case you missed it, some additional interviews with Coach Corbin and David Price that are free to view after you register for Commodore Nation All Access.

VIDEO: Corbin and Price Camp Interviews

Hope to spend some time Thursday at the spirit day portion of the Vanderbilt women's basketball camp. Check back for footage.



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20- 8:15 AM

Good morning, Commodore fans.

Couple of good stories from the last 24 hours...

TIMEOUT WITH BOBBY JOHNSON
Football head coach Bobby Johnson recently spoke with The Tennessean's Bryan Mullen about beating the Vols in 2005, Law & Order and his uncanny resemblance to comedian Steve Martin. Article

MORE WHITE HOUSE CONTENT
We added some new content last night. Kaitlin Reynolds submitted an awesome blog on her experience visiting the White House (a must read) ... plus we posted video of ESPN2's interview with Josie Earnest and Christine Luce... and we round things out with some snapshots from the road in Washington. Champs

SOCCER RELEASES 2007 SCHEDULE
Hard to believe our fall sports are just around the corner. Vanderbilt's 2007 soccer schedule includes nine home games including contests against 2006 NCAA tournament teams Tennessee and Kentucky. Schedule

I am going to try and grab some camp footage with some of our student-athletes during the next few days --- since camps have taken over the McGugin area of West End. Also, be on the look out for a couple of Will Matthews' features over the next couple of weeks to add to our summer content.

I leave you with a video of the day.

The video is in honor of Bob Barker and the end of his run as host of one of the best game shows ever. When I was young, I remember Grandma cooking grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch as I sipped down a Capri Sun and watched ol' Bob on the tube.

The games on the show never got old (plinko was my favorite -- click for more games). Rod Roddy had the best voice on television (Come on down!) until he passed away in 2003. Plus, my dad's name is Bob Barca... and I always wanted him to be on the show since his name is almost exactly the same as Bob's.

Anyway, the video has a small blooper from last Friday's final episode.

And we also discover that Canada loves Bob, too.



Don't forget --- Help control the pet population... have your pet spayed or neutered.



TUESDAY, JUNE 19- 11:41 AM

Every year this happens. And today is the day.

I have decided to get back on the bus and start my program to get back in shape.

Now, those that know me will quickly laugh this off as just another two weeks of dedication and that's it. And they have every right to..... as history has proven.

Getting fit the Screech way... or maybe not.

Well, I think I am really going to try for the long haul this time around. Especiallly since the latest VH1 Celebrity Fit Club season just ended. No more episodes where Screech revolts against the rest of the cast--- who took everything way too seriously. VH1 ate it up and turned the weight loss show into a series about Screech and his new persona as the bad boy of b-list celebrities who really still think they're celebs. I was waiting for an episode where they would have an intervention with the former child star.. and VH1 would bring in his ex-Bayside crush Tori Spelling.. as well as everyone's favorite principal Mr. Belding.. and even a surprise appearance from Miss Bliss -- which would eventually break him down to tears. But it didn't happen.

Anyway, back on track... I have my 10 year high school reunion in September (Kingsport!) and it's just far enough away (three months to be exact) that I can get back into shape the right way without using the ol' crash diet. It will be rough and tough with several bumps in the road, but I will need to find a way to buckle down and commit to being healthy both physically and mentally for my own well being.

The diet plan for now ---

1) Eliminate soda for water

2) Eliminate fast food for actual meals

3) Eat breakfast every morning

4) If I am going to snack, make sure it's somewhat healthy

5) Allow one off day a week if needed

6) Exercise regularly -- mostly cardio

So there.... I will track this once a week with weight updates.

Encouragement is always welcome. Here's the first weigh in:

DAY 1 ----- 227 LBS (start weight)

The goal is to try and drop to 195 ... so about 32 pounds in 90 days.

We will see.



MONDAY, JUNE 18- 11:06 AM

Good morning, Commodore fans.

I receive some cool emails from time to time from fans across the world.

Last week, Andy Lutzky, a Vanderbilt graduate and former intern in our media relations office, sent me an email with a picture to update me on his career.

Who Ya Wit??!! (Alford and Lutzky)

Now, this wasn't just your typical, ordinary photo he was passing along.

Andy currently works in Berlin, Germany, as the U.S. PR Director for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe. He also spent last year as an intern for the San Francisco 49ers.

When you work in sports, you travel from time to time and end up crossing paths with familiar faces. This was the case when his Berlin Thunder hosted the Frankfurt Galaxy. Frankfurt's starting corner is none other than former Commodore football player Bill Alford.

Alford is the starting cornerback for the Galaxy, who will host the NFL Europe Championship game (known as World Bowl XV) this Saturday. They will take on the Hamburg Sea Devils (7-3) for all the marbles. This will be Frankfurt's league-record eighth World Bowl appearance. For the season, Alford has 22 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass defenses. Check out his player profile by clicking here.

And Alford isn't the only Commodore playing in Europe.

Andrew Pace was a safety on the Rhein Fire. The Fire just concluded their season with a 4-6 record. Pace had a successful season --- through nine weeks, he jointly led Rhein with two interceptions while registering 41 tackles to rank third on the Fire defense and also forced one fumble and defended five passes. Read more about Pace by clicking here.

Thanks to Andy for emailing me the photo.

And for anyone out there actually reading this blog, please feel free to email me your pictures during the summer and they might just end up on the site. It could be anything from you with other fans wearing VU gear in public, or maybe a room decorated in black and gold, or a summer family get together, or whatever. I'd love to see it. Email me at brandon.barca@vanderbilt.edu.

Have a great week and check back for more random updates!



THURSDAY, JUNE 14- 3:28 PM

Here's a new video from CSTV.com.

Evan and Matt from CSTV's "Going Yard" toured a bunch of collegiate baseball parks around the country this spring and combined all of their experiences on the road into a season-ending music video full of highlights. If you look closely, you just might notice two Commodores in the video.

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO

To watch more videos from the "Going Yard" guys, check out Evan and Matt's blog on CSTV.com -- click here. (you can find their blogs from previous months on the calendar on the left side after clicking the link). They did a really good job of capturing the essence of the college baseball experience.



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13- 12:58 PM

Well, I've taken about a week to recharge my batteries.

Looking back, it's been a terrific athletic year dating back to the early stages of planning last July. One thing working in sports brings is little rest. So I will spend parts of June and July taking time to unwind so I am fully refreshed for another great athletic season this fall.

In my blog during the summer, I will spend some of it on Vanderbilt related information, and some on just completely random stuff.

Like today's post.

I spent last weekend venturing up to Alexandria, Virginia (just outside of Washington D.C.) to attend the wedding of two good friends of mine - Ben and Andi.

Taking the trip was exciting to me for several reasons. One, I was going to see two special people get married while also having the chance to catch up with some old college buddies I hadn't seen in awhile. Two, I was going to get two days off where I didn't have to be worried about having a laptop attached to my hip. And best of all, it was time to enjoy life with "good people" and not work.

Of course, things never pan out that way.

The trip started off on a bad note... which would impact the entire weekend. Two nights before leaving, I attended a cookout at my brother's house here in Nashville. Good eats plus some throwing of the pigskin and even playing some Bocce ball in the back yard. The next day, my body began to breakout from some sort of allergic reaction (later I put two and two together and figured the rash break out was due to my back yard activities). Not having time to run to the hospital as I was preparing for a 6:30 a.m. flight the next morning, I decided some Benadryl and cortisone cream would do the trick to have me squared away by sunrise.

Too much Benadryl will make you lose your mind!

That was not the case.

My body was still irritated when I arrived at the airport, so I popped two Benadryl on an empty stomach and headed to DC. When I landed less than two hours later, I took two more Benadryl. Let's just say that wasn't a good idea. Benadryl makes you drowsy, really quick. And that's just what happened (especially since I took more than the required dosage in that time frame).

I was out of it for the morning rehearsal as well as lunch with the guys... and then had to miss out on nine holes of golf because I was sleepy as well as agitated at my breakout for not going away. A smart man would have gone to the doctor immediately, but you have to remember I was out of town and didn't have a car, etc.

The next morning, I decided that it was finally time to find a doctor. I should have figured the hospital emergency room was a long shot... arrived there and they said it would take three to four hours. I didn't really have that time since wedding pictures were scheduled for the early afternoon. After running around for another hour and a half, we finally found a quick care building to run into.

And what a relief. They gave me some steroids to make the swelling go down plus some other medication.

Once the wedding hit, I felt like a new man. Finally had time to enjoy myself, instead of focusing on the irritation every other 30 seconds, which can fry your brain.

So, the end of a long story... I was able to enjoy the final 12 hours of my time there before flying home. So not all was lost.

Plus, it was a beautiful wedding. Ben and Andi are perfect for each other... something we all knew from the beginning. It will be fun to watch them grow in this new stage of their lives.

Some other random notes from the trip:

>> I flew US Airways. I almost always go with Southwest, but they didn't have a flight into Reagan, so US was the cheapest. I had assigned seats and for some reason wasn't thinking when I asked for aisle seats when I first purchased the tickets a few months ago. Bad choice considering I had nothing to lean on to take a nap (especially when I was medicated), plus I had the drink cart hitting me every time when I nudged to the aisle to get some zzz's (just like the movie Wedding Singer).

>> US Airways didn't have any snacks. Not peanuts. Nothing. Oh, and by the way, in a blog a few months ago when traveling with the men's basketball team, I mentioned my love for roasted peanuts on flights --- you know, they are a necessity when flying (over the dry roasted version). Found out that Southwest is in fact adding it to there food handouts (or has already done so). Simply amazing in my book.



>> The night before the wedding, we found out that a high school prom was being held in our hotel. This could only mean trouble (plus, it helped me theme the weekend as "Prom it up!"). I was on a mission to find out what their special song was for senior prom.. only to find out they didn't have one. Is this not normal? At my senior prom (even though I didn't go), the song was "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger. I guess no final song is better than choosing something by Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. By the way, Seger's greatest hits album is full of good tunes when you're riding around town or on vacation this summer.

>> In case you wanted to know, Ben and Andi's first dance was to Brad Paisley's "The Little Things". Great choice.

>> There were several Vanderbilt graduates attending the wedding. It truly is a small world. I was introduced to several groups and had some fascinating conversations with them on the state of the Commodore sports program. And you know what --- each person wanted to talk about the successes during the past year --- starting from baseball being number one to our national title in bowling. Some of these guys had graduated 10 years ago and still haven't been to Hawkins Field since it was built, yet they were still following the day-to-day activities of the team. Just a good feeling all the way around from fans which was nice to observe.

>> When I returned to Nashville, I had to find my car in the long term parking lot. I made special note of where I originally parked it, so I would find my vehicle in no time upon returning. The last thing you want to do when you land is to spend 20 minutes searching for where you parked... you just want to get in your car, head home and get some rest and relaxation. It wasn't that easy. I spent 15 minutes searching from lots F2 to F5 to find it. I even convinced myself it wasn't in F2 - that's how I ended up all the way in F5! As I wandered around the lot, I was approached by a shuttle driver who explained that I could have an airport van help me find my car if needed. Of course, being the stubborn male that I am, I wanted to finish this journey on my own --- so I felt like I accomplished something. Well, I finally did --- after it took another 15 minutes of looking around. My car was hidden next to a Ford pick-up truck that hung out of the back of the space, covering the tail end of my car. Looking back, you think I would have learned something from the Seinfeld episode where they lose their car in the mall parking garage (but I didn't).

Anyway, that's it for the day... be sure to bookmark this page and check back from time to time during the summer with updates. We are planning some summer content for VUcommodores.com right now, so it may be slow right now, but we'll pick it back up soon!



TUESDAY, JUNE 5- 5:45 PM

Well, there's not too much to say right now. Things really didn't hit me until this morning when I woke up and realized that I wouldn't be preparing for another weekend series preview.

Everything just hurts right now. I guess it just hurts more than normal because of all the great people associated with the program... from the coaches to the student-athletes and their families to all of our loyal fans that packed the stands this weekend to make Hawkins Field like no other for four days. Those that have been around Vanderbilt Baseball long enough know that we are all one big family. And we are one big family with a sore spot in our hearts for these kids.



When I was notified about a final baseball press conference scheduled to take place this afternoon, I wasn't sure what I would do. I felt I needed to capture something for all the fans out there that are having a tough time getting through this week.

Then it rang home about how much the team was talking about the fan support over the last few days and I thought it would be a good idea to let you see just what you meant to them.

So, here is a video thank you from Coach Corbin and the team ---- to you, the fans.

Video: Thank You, Fans



MONDAY, JUNE 4- 4:17 PM

Well, we're only two hours away from the seventh and final game of the Nashville NCAA Regional.



Here's a picture of the line that's already started to form outside Hawkins Field as fans try to grab the last few remaining tickets to tonight's do or die game with second seeded Michigan.

As you already know, the crowds have been phenominal all weekend... especially the new edition of the right field bleachers. Rod Williamson touched on their impact in his post-game column last night (click to read).

So, I thought I'd grab some video last night of some of the great interactive fan cheers that are taking place in the stands for people that are out-of-town and have heard all the buzz.

First --- some back-and-forth chants between the right field fans and the chairbacks.... feels like a soccer match.

Video: Black and Gold Cheer

The middle of the eighth inning can only mean one thing....

Video: Sweet Caroline

The right field bleacher gang helps the 'Dores with their inbetween inning stretches....

Video: Right Field Bleacher Exercises

And in case you missed Casey's video on outfield calisthenics from earlier this week, here it is again:

Casey Weathers' Instructional Video





SUNDAY, JUNE 3- 3:22 PM

No time to panic after the loss to Michigan. There's still a lot of baseball left to be played. We've been down before and shown the ability to rebound. I have faith in these guys, and I know you do too.

Since the theme of Coach Corbin's post-game press conference last night was about staying positive and finding a way to bounce back.... I decided to share some other great examples of people that never lost their faith. There are a million of these, so feel free to email your own personal favorites.

THE NEVER GIVE UP LIST:

Did Thorton Melon let the team down when they needed his triple lindy to win the diving competition?



Did Cameron stay in bed when Ferris needed someone to skip school with -- and ultimately wreck his dad's Ferrari.



Did the kids at West Beverly sit down quietly when school officials weren't gonna let Donna Martin graduate?



Did Harry let Lloyd down when he wanted to venture after Mary to Aspen (California?) ... where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano??



Didn't Frank Stallone once sing "It's Far from Over" even though his career is pretty much over?



Did Uncle Joey ever give up on his Bullwinkle impression even when it became tired and old?



Did Johnny Drama give up on finding a tv pilot? (Victory!)



Did Cartman ever give up his pure hatred of Kyle?



Did Marty McFly ever give up on getting his Delorean back to the future?



Did Louden Swain ever give up his vision quest to be a high school wrestling champion?



Did Frank the Tank give up on his fraternity brothers when Dean Pritchard tried to shut them down?



Did Lloyd Dobler give up courting Diane Court even if it meant playing Peter Gabriel's music?



And did Jason Bateman give up acting after starring in Teen Wolf Too?



I think you get the point. We could go on forever. Just remember --- Nothing is over. And I still believe.

(Thanks to EJ for assisting with this list.)



SATURDAY, JUNE 2- 5:15 AM

Another thrilling game that came down to the last at-bat.

Should we be surprised?

Even though Friday's NCAA matchup went down to the wire like so many other ones this year, we've come to expect this team to find a way to win, no matter what it takes to succeed. And that was the case once again as we edged underdog Austin Peay.



And I tell you what... the crowd was magnificent. I mean, unbelievable. It was top notch all the way. Everyone anticipated that Commodore baseball fever would reach this level some day. What we saw from the black-and-gold faithful under the Friday night lights was nothing short of special. The fans really rose to the challenge and provided a crazy atmosphere. I stepped out on the balcony in the eighth just to hear the crowd responding to "Sweet Caroline" and it was music to my ears.

I remember when Coach was interviewing with LSU about this time last year, and one of his main concerns was gameday atmosphere and making Hawkins Field a rowdy environment for the opposition. Well, I think the Regional home opener proved that our fans are more than capable of making our diamond electric.



Hope you are able to check out our post-game coverage. Neil Brake and Paul J. Levy took some great snapshots of the record crowd. One photo I really liked in their gallery showed fans tailgating on top of the 25th Avenue garage. That should tell you just how big this program really is!

Extensive Post-game Coverage

And here is some extra footage that didn't make it in the press recap including some great quotes from Coach in the post-game press conference and also a video clip of the final play.

Video: Final Play of Austin Peay Game

Video: Who Needs Tickets?

Video: No Cruising Here

Video: Austin Peay Press Conference

Finally, here are some photos I shot on the side Friday. Two notes ----

1 -- 104.5 the Zone set up a live remote just outside the stadium and had guests including Coach Corbin as well as Chancellor Gee.

2 -- Former American Idol and current country star Josh Gracin performed the national anthem. He was really laid back and easy going, and didn't have that high priority attitude that can sometimes sour one's opinion of celebs. Plus, he didn't make us sort out all the green M&M's.

Barca Blog -- Photos from Regional Day One

Well, it's time to crash. It will be another long day of work... need to rest up for Saturday's game against Michigan. I am sure UM will have revenge on their minds after we beat them twice in the Georgia Tech Regional last year.

Have a great day and we'll be seeing you at the ol' ballpark.





FRIDAY, JUNE 1- 4:42 PM

CSTV just posted a video of David Price explaining the art of the pick off move... check it out -- CSTV Video



FRIDAY, JUNE 1- 12:58 PM

We just added some video highlights in All Access of Vanderbilt's SEC Tournament title run in Hoover last week. Sign up for free to watch!

Watch Video



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