June 15, 2014
CWS Extras: Packing for Omaha | CWS Extras: Bubba the Fungo Coach
Offutt Air Force Base Photos | CWS Central
The day after a game is always better following a win. Just hours after opening their College World Series stay with a 5-3 win over Louisville, the Commodores awoke at the DoubleTree downtown Omaha Sunday with a little more energy in their step.
By taking care of business against Louisville, the Commodores advanced to the winner's bracket where they will face UC Irvine at 7 p.m. Monday. The moment, the stage or the crowd didn't seem to faze the Commodores, who played a near mistake-free game against the Cardinals. "Most difficult game in this tournament. Most difficult game," Tim Corbin told his team after the game.
With one win under their belt, the team enjoyed a more low-key day Sunday. At 1 p.m., Vanderbilt practiced at Bellevue East High School just 15 minutes from their hotel. The high school is the same one the Commodores practiced at in 2011.
In the afternoon, Vanderbilt's players and coaches were treated to a tour of Offutt Air Force Base, which is located in Bellevue, Neb. Offutt Air Force Base is the home of the 55th Wing and more than 50 partner units, including the U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Weather Agency. The team toured an E4-B plane - aka The Doomsday Plane - and checked out the base's tactical unit.
Commodores about to check this out... pic.twitter.com/W7RLaEepYY-- Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 15, 2014
Since Vanderbilt arrived in town on Wednesday evening, representatives from Offutt Air Force Base have been there every step of the way to help answer questions and make the team feel at home. All eight teams in the College World Series have team hosts, and Vanderbilt's is the base.
The group was the first to welcome the Commodores to Omaha by greeting the team as they deplaned, and Sunday they made sure the team received a memorable experience.
The base has played a key role in American history. Among its jobs is to provide ongoing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance work. During the Cold War, personnel from the base were airborne 24 hours a day. After the September 11 attacks, Offutt Air Force Base was the location for one of former President George W. Bush's first strategic meetings. The base also constructed the first two bombers to drop atomic bombs.
After the tour, Vanderbilt's players were treated to a dinner on the base with Air Force personnel.
Sharing a Hotel
Vanderbilt is not the only College World Series participant staying at the DoubleTree downtown Omaha. Texas Tech is also in the same hotel, as the Commodores. Flags of each school are hanging in the lobby and merchandise racks are split 50/50 between the Commodores and Red Raiders.
The two teams are on opposite sides of the bracket. The Red Raiders lost their first game of the CWS Sunday to TCU. The only way Vanderbilt and Texas Tech would meet in Omaha would be in the championship series.
The hotel is in a prime location downtown, affording its guest the opportunity to walk to TD Ameritrade Park as well as to Old Market, the primary business district downtown.
The Commodores will face UC Irvine at 7 p.m. Monday on ESPN2. The winner of the game will have a bye until Friday, while the loser will play an elimination game Wednesday.
During Vanderbilt's stay in Omaha, VUCommodores will provide fans with a variety of videos that fall into a category we like to call "CWS Extras." Recently, ticket manager Eric Jones, or EJ as he is known by Vanderbilt staffers, caught up with baseball equipment manager Garrett Walker and pitcher Steven Rice at the College World Series.
Watch Walker's video to learn how many stitches it took to sew on each College World Series jersey patch.
Also, Rice reveals his nickname, Bubba, and why his velocity is no longer up to Vanderbilt's standards.