Welcome back to my weekly mailbag brought to you by [insert sponsor name here] and Red Cup Rebellion. Ole Miss baseball is on the cusp of a sweep of Auburn on this Sunday morning, so this mailbag will calm your anxiety and nerves.
I’m a little later on this installment of the mailbag than usual. I try to have it ready for the public on Thursdays or Fridays each week, but the STRESSORS OF EVERYDAY LIFE (editor’s note: prolly vidya games) kept that from happening this time around. No matter. I will answer your questions here, even some that have already passed. Should be a fun time.
Let’s dive in.
Leading scorer for the Rebs against Tech tonight? And how many homers for Ole Miss baseball this weekend?
— Mack Gordon (@MackGordon0) March 19, 2021
Shoutout to my good friend Thomas Mackenzie J. Gordon for being a regular contributor to my mailbag thus far. What does the “J” stand for, you might ask? No one knows. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Anyway, Ole Miss lost to Louisiana Tech last night in the NIT to finish its very meh season, and the Rebels were swept this week by Tech in baseball and basketball. Things you’d rather not see.
Since the leading scorer of this game can now be found by simply checking the box score, I’m going to answer Mack’s second question concerning home runs. With one already hit this weekend by Calvin Harris, I’m going to say four. The offense is struggling right now as a whole, but I think they find three more over these next two games against Auburn. Tim Elko? Kevin Graham? John Rhys Plumlee? John Macon Gillespie? All viable candidates for the long ball this weekend.
Can we expect that Jarkel Joiner woke up today and chose violence for the tech game?
— John Riley Wilbanks (@JohnR5522) March 19, 2021
I actually didn’t watch a second of the basketball game last night because I felt like I knew what was coming. To answer your question (also shoutout to JR for being a regular contributor), no. However, I did wake up and choose violence as a result this morning after the loss. To that end, I will be at Swayze Field enjoying the sun today and hoping for no more pain.
Baseball has the same issues they had 5 years ago and it’s starting look all too familiar. Some great wins but again having issues even winning a series. Much less 2 of 3
— Louie 2 Putt (@midwestColonel) March 17, 2021
This isn’t exactly a question, but it provides some talking points.
I think there is something to be said about Mike’s style of coaching. I think he’s an excellent baseball coach (20+ years in the SEC will illustrate that), but I think even he would admit that a few years ago, he had to alter some of his coaching style. Kids today can’t be coached the same way kids 20 years ago were coached, and I think that Five has taken the appropriate route there.
As far as the series winning goes, I think we (myself included) have a tendency to live and die by every win and loss in baseball season like it’s football, clouding our vision of the bigger picture. Baseball season is a slog and a roller coaster all in one. Losses will happen, and losses to teams you’re better than will happen. We’ve seen that already this season. Still, if you look at the picture as a whole, this injury-plagued Ole Miss team is still sitting in a good place at 9:22 a.m. on March 20 in the year of our Lord 2021. Three top-10 wins in Arlington and only four losses to this point is pretty good, and if you can make some noise in SEC play and hold up during the remaining midweek action, a national seed is certainly still there for the taking. It just takes playing the game and getting hot at the right time.
What. Happened. In. Louisiana.
— HottyToddy (@jenni_moyer) March 18, 2021
In short, a funk. Blame the gray jerseys all you want (I do think that there is some superstitious truth to the old adage “look good, feel good, play good”), but Ole Miss ultimately just did not show up at the plate. The pitching from Mallitz (outside of the first inning) was fine, but the pitching after him was not fine, per sources.
Some nights in baseball, you just get beat. You don’t have your best stuff, and you can’t hit. Tuesday was one of those nights. It’s not a season-ender by any means despite the weeping and gnashing of teeth that came as a result, but it did show some things that need to be remedied moving forward for the good guys.
Why do I keep believing?
— The Varsity (@OleMissGraduate) March 17, 2021
Because, Varsity, it is human nature to believe, I believe (see what I did there?).
We find things to latch onto and hope they’ll turn out for the best in this thing called sports, and oftentimes, they do not. But that’s okay. We’ll still be back, and, one day, when it’s all said and done, we’ll look back on our time as Ole Miss fans and wonder not only “why?” but, “how?,” “when?” and “to what extent?” I’m told those are questions that signify adverbs in a sentence by the fine folks at Schoolhouse Rock, but they also apply to our sports fandom.
Fear not, Varsity. More pain is always on the horizon with fleeting glimpses of what we wish and hope would be to come. That’s why we keep coming back, and that’s why we always will.