May 22, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT
What’s soft, has buck teeth and is credited for Vanderbilt’s big turnaround in baseball this season? Of course it’s Rally Beaver. After a slow start, the Commodores have rallied in a big way in the second half of the SEC baseball season, claiming the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament. Vandy won five of its last six series, including four straight: the last one a sweep over Mississippi. Since beating Belmont on April 11 the Commodores are 16-6, outscoring opponents 120-80.
The catalyst? One could point to Anthony Gomez (.385, 20 RBI) or pitcher Sam Selman (6-0 over his past seven games). But the Vanderbilt players prefer to credit Chance the Rally Beaver. That’s the stuffed beaver toy named by freshman pitcher Brian Miller, who even goes with the team on road trips.
Players said Chance needs water and constant affection. Miller has a tale about how he found a live, injured beaver on the side of the road and nursed him back to health. Now the bucktooth animal is repaying Vanderbilt in comeback victories.
Don’t buy it. Miller, an Independence High graduate, got the stuffed toy from his mom.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “Rally Beaver? Wow. I’m not too sure about the Rally Beaver. We’re not Oregon State. Once I leave here, I’m going exactly to that huddle and find out what the Beaver is all about.”
“We pull him out about the sixth inning every game,” junior pitcher Will Clinard said. “Ever since we started that, I think our winning percentage is out the roof. … You can follow him on Twitter if you want to.”
Of course Rally Beaver has a Twitter page (285 followers since it was created on Sunday), so why not stop by and say hello?
Photo courtesy Rally Beaver Twitter page.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
What you missed while re-reading your commencement program …
- The New York Times would like to bring back tug-of-war and dueling pistol to the Olympics.
- The Tampa Bay Rays will have their revenge, in this life or the next.
- At the 2008 Olympics, the U.S. cyclists snuck candy bars to the U.S. gymnasts at the Olympic Village.
- Reds fans catches two home run balls in same inning, and gives both of them away.
Meanwhile, in the Atlanta Braves bullpen …
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found