They say confession is good for the soul. So here today, I am publically confessing that I am an addict. That’s right I am addicted to following every bit of news I can get on the Auburn Tigers. Now at first glance that wouldn’t seem to qualify me as an addict; not at least until one reads Webster’s definition of addiction: “to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.”
My wife has told me that at times I am too obsessed with what goes on in Auburn sports. I have to say, it’s been hard to admit the truth. But she’s right; I need to spend less time wrapped up in everything that happens with the Tigers. Don’t get me wrong, Sherry is one of the most ardent Auburn fans I know; she just wants me to not allow so much of what happens on the Plains to affect my wellness.
On reflection, I guess I can see her point. When Auburn is struggling and having a poor season, I hang on every bit of news I can scrounge up about the Tigers. When Auburn is going through a coaching change, I hang on every bit of news I can scrounge up about the Tigers. And when no coaches are on the hot seat and all is well on The Plains … you guessed it, I still hang on every bit of news I can scrounge up about the Tigers. Every year I promise myself I will slow it down, I will ease off, I will not be so enslaved to Auburn Sports.
Since it is New Years (and Auburn is not in a bowl game) I thought what better time to make the resolution to stop being so obsessed – that I regularly skip meals and lose sleep to read or write about the Tigers.
After all, the New Year is a time to make a fresh start, a time of reflecting on changes needed. It’s a time to be resolute, to determine to make those changes for the coming year.
While there are several things I need to resolve to change in my life, I realize I need to pick one and concentrate on fixing it before I move onto other areas. Noted writer Frank Ra (author of the New Year’s resolution book “A Course in Happiness”): recently told CNN News, “”Resolutions are more successful when shared with whom you share the path of maintaining your resolution.”
Therefore, I would like to share with my friends here at Track ‘Em Tigers, that I will be a changed man in 2013. I will get my obsession under control. I will not surrender myself to habitually follow every tidbit of information about who Gus Malzahn will hire to complete his coaching staff.
I will not stay up late to listen to Coach Flo’s Tigers continue their winning streak. I will not follow every move of the men’s team, looking to see if Coach Barbee can keep his seat from getting warmer. I will not follow what Juco players Malzahn is close to signing, I will not follow what 17-18 year old high school students are committing, decommitting, or taking visits to other schools.
Hey wait, National Letter of Intent (signing) day is just 36 days away. I can’t realistically make that resolution – not now. I mean there is not much point in making a New Year’s Resolution till after we see how Auburn does on national signing day. Besides, every Auburn fan knows it’s important to see where Malzahn’s first recruiting class will rank nationally.
I’ll wait till Feb. 6th. No wait, we need to see if the Basketball teams make it into the post season and oh yeah we have to see how Malzahn’s first spring game goes too. And don’t forget, the Baseball and Softball Teams have challenging seasons ahead of them. And a big question looms out there for Coach Pawlowski. If he doesn’t get his Tigers into the NCAA this year, will he be back to coach in 2014?
Then there’s the swim team, equestrian, soccer, and volleyball. And that’s not to even mention summer workouts with the annual question of who will be chosen as Auburn’s starting quarterback. And I can’t swear off my obsession at the end of summer camp because the 2014 football season will begin. So I’ll guess I will have to wait till after the football season to start work on my resolution.
No, I can’t do that then either. I have to see if the Tigers get into a bowl game and then see if they win, and then see if they are ranked in the top 25 in the final poll. And then I can make that resolution. That’s it. That’s when I’ll make the change … next year. There will be plenty of time to think about that then.
Right now, the football team is not settled and we are in the middle of basketball season. I’ve got to stay focused - Can’t let up now.
War Eagle …. Go Big Blue!
“Everything came together this year. It all happened a lot faster than I thought it would.” That’s how former Auburn Baseball great Hunter Morris responded Monday when he heard that he had been named the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player.
Hunter plays for the Huntsville Stars and oh what a year he has had. He led the Southern League this year in hits (158), home runs (28), RBIs (113), slugging percentage (563) total bases (294), and tied a Huntsville record for doubles in a season.
He was the fifth Huntsville player to be named the league’s MVP, putting his name along such greats as Jose Canseco.
Morris was drafted in 2010 by the Milwaukee Brewers after a stellar college career at Auburn that saw him being named SEC Player of the Year, after leading the conference in hits, homers and slugging percentage.
The honor is particularly special for Morris as he grew up in Huntsville and played high school ball at Grissom before becoming an All-SEC player at Auburn.
“It really is a great honor,” Hunter said. “I couldn’t be more excited … this has got to be one of my biggest personal goals to achieve in my career.”
Congratulations Hunter. You continue to make us all proud!
Former Auburn slugger Hunter Morris has been tearing it up in the Southern League. He was named the Milwaukee Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Month for the second time this season.
The Huntsville Stars 1st Baseman is leading the Southern League in hits, doubles, RBI’s, and total bases. His has 13 extra bases hits, has hit seven homeruns, and his .307 batting average is the third best in the league.
He was also honored as the League’s Player of the Week last week and the Player of the Month in April.
Of course this recognition shouldn’t come as a surprise as Hunter led the South Eastern Conference while at Auburn in home runs, hits, slugging percentage, and total bases. He was a First Team All-American pick and the SEC player of the Year in 2010.
Derek Varnadore became the first Auburn player taken in the 2012 Major League Draft on Tuesday. The Auburn senior was drafted by the New York Yankees in the ninth round.
The right-handed pitcher was 4-7 with a 4.93 ERA in 2012. He was the 2011 ace with a 3.68 ERA and a 6-3 record. He had 137 strike outs in his two years at Auburn and held opposing batters to a 2.72 batting average.
Varney was picked in the 17th round last year by the Florida Marlins but he decided to come back and give Auburn one more year.
Sophomore Ryan Tella was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 11th round. The sophomore out fielder was one of the top hitters in the SEC finishing fourth in the league with a .360 batting average. An All-SEC Second Team selection, he finished among the conference leaders in seven different offensive categories.
So far the Tigers have lost three top signees to the MLB draft. Colin Rodgers, a left-handed pitcher from Baton Rouge, La., was the 100th overall pick of the Kansas City Royals. And on Monday Outfielder David Dahl and infielder Addison Russell were drafted in the first round.
Dahl, an outfielder from Oak Mountain High School, was the 10th pick by the Colorado Rockies and Russell, a shortstop from Pace, Fla., was the 11th pick by the Oakland Athletics.
Both of these guys will most likely sign to play professionally while Rodgers may wait till July 13 to decide on signing with the Royals or coming to Auburn.
Auburn is now tied with Arkansas (second place) in the SEC for having at least one player selected in the MLB Draft every year since 1975. Georgia is at the top of that list with their streak dating one year longer to 1974.
As an Auburn Baseball fan, this is always a happy and at the same time, a frustrating time of the year.
While it is always good to see seniors like Derek Varnadore achieve their dreams of signing a professional contract, it’s also frustrating to see good players snatched up before they finish their college careers.
I just hope Tella will follow Varney’s lead and come back another year. Lord knows we need him.
The Auburn Baseball Team failed to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament Monday.
Last year the Tigers had a good RPI but fell one win short of earning a berth. This year the Tigers had the wins (31-28) but had too high of an RPI (56) to make it in.
The Tigers were one of the bubble teams that didn’t get chosen for the 64-team NCAA field.
There were eight SEC teams (Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss) to make the field.
Auburn had to deal with an unusual amount of injuries during the season but even so, they had their chances.
In the end it appears the pre-season prognosticators got it right.
Auburn was picked to finish 11th in the SEC and they ended the season 10th.
Auburn’s Ryan Tella was named today to the All-SEC Baseball Team. The sophomore from Fremont, California was placed on the second team by a vote of the Conference Coaches.
The Centerfielder had a .973 fielding percentage and was the leading hitter on the league’s top hitting team with a .360 batting average.
He was among the league’s leaders in several categories including being fourth in batting average, fourth in hits (85), fifth in triples (4), sixth in on base percentage (.448), seventh in total bases (120), eighth in walks (35), and third in stolen bases (17).
Congratulations to Ryan and War Eagle!
It was no secret that the Auburn Baseball team had a tough assignment in today’s SEC Tournament opponent – South Carolina. The Gamecocks are the two time Defending National Champions.
Nevertheless the Tigers gave the Carolinians all they could handle as they were eliminated 5-3.
“I’m really proud, first of all and foremost, of how our team competed today,” said Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski. “I thought they battled all three games of this tournament. Today was another battle for us. I thought (Caolina’s ace) Michael Roth threw the ball extremely well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have many opportunities.”
South Carolina had a 5-1 lead in the fifth but the Tigers battled back closing the gap to two runs. The Plainsmen had two runners in scoring position in the seventh and the eighth but couldn’t bring them home.
With two outs and runners in scoring position in the eighth, Ryan Tella hit a double and scored on Justin Bryant‘s single, bringing Patrick Savage to the plate as the tying run. Savage then hit a deep fly to the left field gap that was chased down by the Gamecocks’sTanner English to end the threat.
Auburn finished the season 31-28 while South Carolina’s record improved to 40-16. The Gamecocks continue the hunt for the Conference Tournament Title and will probably be picked to host an NCAA Regional next week.
Auburn has enough wins to qualify for the NCAA Tournament but with an RPI of 57, they are a team that’s on the bubble.
The Tigers will go home to await Monday’s announcements of which teams will receive bids to the Big Dance. ESPNU will broadcast the NCAA Tournament Selection Show at 11am CST.
The Auburn Baseball team got some good news and some bad news on Saturday.
The Good News …
The Seniors got to finish their last game on Hitchcock Field with a 5-4 victory over the No. 2Florida Gators.
The Tigers did it with good hitting, good defense, and a strong outing by right hander Derek Varnadore who made his first start since April 20th.
Varnadore (4-7) allowed four runs and struck out three batters in seven full innings of work.Justin Bryant picked up the save.
It was a great night for the eight seniors who all have a big win as their last memory at Plainsman Park.
Auburn’s record is now 30-26 and the Tigers will play in their third straight SEC Tournament on next Tuesday. It’s the first time since the 2003 season for Auburn to make three consecutive SEC Tournaments.
The Bad News …
Auburn’s opponent for Tuesday’s game – The No. 2 Florida Gators – a team that held the Tigers (the SEC’s top hitting club) to just 5 hits in the series first two games.
Mississippi State’s wins over Kentucky this weekend coupled with Florida’s series win, has Auburn going into the tournament as the No. 10 seed and therefore having to play the No. 3 seed – Florida..
Florida (40-16) will have a lot of motivation. Saturday’s loss to Auburn knocked them out of winning the SEC Eastern Division Title and cost them a first-round bye in the tournament.
You can bet the Gators are looking forward to meeting the Tigers again on Tuesday afternoon.
And if that wasn’t enough. the Tigers are bracketed against teams that they hold a 2-10 record against. But These Tigers are capable of doing it as they showed on Saturday.
It just depends on which Auburn team shows up in Hoover …
The one that was held to five hits in the first two Florida games or the one that took two out of three against No.13 Arkansas and then beat the No.2 team in the land .
Game time on Tuesday is at 4:30 p.m. Lets do it again boys.