THE WILD CARD FOLDS- So, yeah, remember the other day when I mentioned the Garrett Bush might be a wildcard in the pitching rotation? Scratch that. Thanks to an anonymous tip on that post, nobody refuting that statement, and a good number of folks confirming it unofficially; I feel safe in saying that Garrett Bush, Ryan Welke, Jordan Neese, and Phillip Rossi are no longer members of the team. Chalk it up to scholarship limits or whatever, but I wouldn't expect to see them in an Auburn uniform again. Bush is the only odd one out of the group because for a guy with his tools (and even being asked to play for the Cape Cod League this summer) to not be asked back tells me there was something else going on. Whether its attitude, not fitting into the "system" or whatever.
OH WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN- Lost in all the celebration this season was a remembrance of how Auburn actually started their fall from competitiveness. Thankfully, Joe Medley of the Anniston Star Reminds us:
The fall of 2003 saw then-Auburn president William Walker lead a four-man contingent on the “Jetgate” mission. Media discovered the clandestine meeting with then-Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino, and what many saw as a move to fire Tommy Tuberville was discovered before it could succeed.
Then came the spring of 2004 and the firing of men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis — with NCAA sanctions pending.
Long-time women’s basketball coach Joe Ciampi retired.
Ed Richardson had taken over as interim president and was purging people.
Baird was leading searches after athletics director David Housel — among those ensnared in the Jetgate uproar — announced in March that he would retire, effective the following January.
Oh, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was threatening to pull Auburn’s accreditation due to what it saw as too much trustee interference in athletics. Auburn was on SACS probation at the time.
Amid so much turmoil, Auburn wasn’t looking like the best place to coach.
Still, Richardson fired Renfroe after the 2004 season and sent Baird searching. Richardson made the move despite Baird’s advice to give it another year.
Predictably, Auburn struggled to make a hire. Proven coaches such as Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin and Virginia’s Brian O’Connor either turned down the job or declined to interview.
After firing a Baird assistant, Auburn settled for another in Tommy Slater.
I'll go on record as saying I never understood the Renfroe firing. I tried to support the Slater hiring. Yes, he could recruit (that was evident with that talent we had this year) but that couldn't make up for the other shortcomings of the staff. It's always good to remember how we got to the "dark ages" as we enter a pretty exciting time with Pawlowski.
STILL WAITING: Not a lot of movement in the "will-they-stay-or-will-they-go-pro" Department. Except for a few notes:
- Hunter Morris signed his contract and is on his way to Appleton, Wisconsin to start his Pro Career with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (and their nightmare fuel mascot above), a Low A affiliate of the Brewers.
- Cole Nelson still hasn't officially signed, but one blog has Cole listed on the roster for the Connecticut Tigers (Rookie A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers). Well, he had him on there and now he has him crossed out.
- No word on Brian Fletcher, but he and Morris were both named 2nd and 1st Team All Americans respectively.
OTHER MINOR LEAGUE NOTES:
- MIke Bianucci is still in the Rangers System, playing for SIngle A Bakersfield. He's improving so far this season:
- LF Mike Bianucci went 0-2 but walked twice and didn’t K. Bianucci is striking out once every 4.19 at bats with Bakersfield this year, a significant improvement over his 2.87 mark with Bakersfield last year.
- Two Former Tigers made the SIngle A All Star teams. Pitcher Brian Woodall will play in the Carolina-California Game:
- Pitcher Brian Woodall will represent the Visalia Rawhide (Diamond Backs Affiliate) out of the bullpen. In 21 relief appearances this year, Woodall has posted a microscopic 0.33 ERA while going 3-2 with five saves in six chances. His 13.17 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio is the highest in the California League.
- And Joe Sanders will represent the Asheville Tourists and play in the South Atlantic League All Star Game:
- The night belonged to Joe Sanders. Sanders justified his All-Star selection in a big way, blasting two monstrous home runs, and leading the Tourists to an 8-3 victory Monday night. Asheville was perfect in all phases of the game and put together one of their finest all-around performances of the season.
- Also mowegl from the Inside the Auburn Tigers Message Board, posted a nice rundown of Auburn Tigers in the Minors and Majors. It's a fantastic list.
If you followed the World Cup at all, you know about the Vuvuzela. The plastic horns which make a stadium sound like a hornets nest. Which got me thinking, now that the SEC has given Mississippi State a green light for the cowbells. I think Auburn should bust out the Vuvuzelas on defense. Just as long as they play this on the Jumbotron beforehand as a signal to start blowing:
Followed by this harmonious sound:
Oh, and Couldn't leave without giving you the best of the Wicker Man: