Sunday, July 13, 2008

Commodore Banter (7/13)

We've got a bunch of links to pass along on this beautiful Sunday afternoon so take some time and click through them if you're not at the beach or out playing golf...

In just a few minutes, former Vanderbilt closer Casey Weathers will compete in the U.S. Futures Games at Yankee Stadium, which showcases the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations.

Weathers, the No. 8 overall pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2007, also has a chance to earn a spot on the Olympic squad, which will be officially announced on July 16, the day after the Major League All-Star Game.
Vying for a spot in the Team USA bullpen is another 2007 first-round pick, Vanderbilt product Casey Weathers of the Colorado Rockies. Working in short relief as a setup man, though he profiles as a closer down the road, Weathers sported a 2.29 ERA in 35 games for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers and had fanned 40 in 35 1/3 innings while limiting Texas League batters to a .184 average.

The Sacramento Bee also has a cool feature on Weathers and former Sacramento City College teammate Ryan Mattheus. After a couple of years apart, both Weathers and Mattheus are pitching for Double-A Tulsa and will take the field today as teammates in the Futures Game.

"It's kind of crazy how our worlds have collided," Mattheus said. "We run together every day, we play catch together every day. He's a good friend of mine."

Speaking of old teammates, Weathers' former partner-in-crime David Price picked up another win on Saturday. He allowed one run on six hits, while walking three and fanning four in seven innings to improve to 4-0 since being promoted to Class AA.

Yesterday we took a look at Derrick Byars and Shan Foster's summer league performances, but don't forget about Matt Freije, who scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including 3-for-4 from downtown, in 22 minutes off the bench for the Bucks. The former Commodore also had five fouls so stop hacking, Matt.

Also, in case you hadn't heard, former Vanderbilt forward Ross Neltner is off to Turkey, where he'll play for Bursa. Neltner said that the "money is good," and that he receives a furnished apartment and a car. Should be a blast.

Is one foot back on the 3-point line a step forward for NCAA hoops?'s Andy Katz answers that question and draws some interesting conclusions. Since the women kept their line at 19 feet, 9 inches, there are going to be two 3-point lines on most courts, which could cause problems for players and officials alike.'s Chris Low takes a look at some of the Southeastern Conference freshmen (both true freshmen and redshirt freshmen) who could make the biggest impact this fall and has three Commodores on the list.
Brandon Barden, TE, Vanderbilt: Originally signed with Virginia Tech, but transferred after a semester there. A quarterback in high school, Barden was impressive as a scout team tight end a year ago.

Jamie Graham, WR, Vanderbilt: A redshirt freshman, Graham was a defensive stopper on the Commodores' basketball team last season. He'll move from defensive back to receiver in football and should be one of the most explosive athletes on the team.

Tristan Strong, LB, Vanderbilt: With Marcus Buggs now trying to make an NFL team, there could be a spot at outside linebacker for a freshman. The 220-pound Strong is a leading candidate. analyzes the Vanderbilt-South Carolina match-up in week two and makes the following prediction: Gamecocks 28, Commodores 10.

Chicago Bears coach Darryl Drake said rookie wide receiver Earl Bennett has been impressive (scroll down to the bottom of the interview).

Vanderbilt outfielder Alex Hilliard has some pretty cool parents. The Hilliards recently spent 26 days vacationing in New England, attending every one of Alex's games for the Holyoke Blue Sox in the NECBL.

"Before the Hilliards left for home, they hosted a Louisiana-style dinner for both teams after one of our games. It was a wonderful time. In this business, you get attached to the parents as much as you do to the kids," said Barry Wadsworth, general manager and chief operating officer of the Blue Sox.'s Seth Davis shares some SEC thoughts, including Arkansas' Patrick Beverley's trash-talking with LeBron James.

With football players, commitments come earlier than ever, writes The Tennessean's Maurice Patton.

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