Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oxford Education: Mississippi Rebels

■ About the the nickname "Ole Miss"
There is a valid distinction between The University and Ole Miss even though the separate threads are closely interwoven.

The University is buildings, trees and people. Ole Miss is mood,emotion and personality. One is physical, and the other is spiritual. One is tangible, and the other intangible.

The University is respected, but Ole Miss is loved. The University gives a diploma and regretfully terminates tenure, but one never graduates from Ole Miss.
■ Commons opponents: Mizzou and Ole Miss have only one common opponent from the 2009 season:
Mississippi lost, 15-11, to St. Louis U on 3/24
Missouri's Johnny Wholestaff defeated SLU at Busch Stadium, 19-6, in 4/1. is the official website for Mississippi athletics:

Schedule/ Results
Team BA: .315
Team ERA: 4.18

Media Guide
■ As I discovered last year, Clarion Ledger sports writer Rick Cleveland has a Blog that is always entertaining and informative, and his regular columns are always a good read.

■ Ole Miss' ace pitcher is unlikely to pitch in this Regional
Bittle still resting (American Chronicle, 5/25):
It's wait-and-see also for the Rebels' All-America pitcher, Scott Bittle. Nothing has changed since Wednesday ,when Birmingham physician Dr. James Andrews diagnosed Bittle with a strained anterior capsule and prescribed rest.

"We feel very confident that he will throw eventually, and we hope it will be in the next week or so or sometime this season for us," Bianco said.

Life without Bittle: Can the Ole Miss staff really handle it? (Clarion Ledger)
On paper, even without superman Scott Bittle, this Ole Miss baseball team appears to have a good pitching staff. Even with two rough games in Hoover, the Rebels have a 4.18 ERA as a team. But there's been a disturbing trend among the Ole Miss starting pitching since Bittle went down with his shoulder injury on May 3. To put it bluntly, it just hasn't been very good
. . .
Total: 48 innings (averaging 5.33 innings per start), 35 runs, 32 earned: Starters ERA in nine games: 6.00, Record 5-4.Needless to say, that's not very good. Notice that only once during that stretch did a starter pitch into the seventh inning.
Bad news outweighs good for UM (
Worst of all, gone, most likely, is senior ace pitcher Scott Bittle. As you've read in this space before, Ole Miss is a really good college baseball team without Bittle. With him, they are much, much better.

Which brings us to today's literally million dollar questions: What in the heck is an anterior capsule? And how serious is it when said capsule is strained?
. . .
So I called good friend Gene Barrett, an orthopedic surgeon at Mississippi Sports Medicine, and asked for a definition in layman's terms.

"That's hard," Barrett said. "The capsule helps hold the ball in the socket of your

I thought the labrum did that. A labrum tear is what ended Boo Ferriss' pitching career.

"Actually it's the labrum and the capsule that hold it in place," Barrett said. "The capsule is fibrous, gristly looking stuff that can get stretched or strained."
■ How deep is Ole Miss pitching? Consider that they were 16-2 in midweek games, which says a lot about the success of their 4th and 5th starters. has some smack talk on their board:
Rebel_richman: What are you whining about? Our regional is as easy as we've ever had and UC Irvine has a very difficult regional that they could struggle with

jeddreb: My high-school stadium was bigger than theirs, lol.
Ole Miss Spirit is an active message board. A few recent comments:
moixca: We couldn't have asked for a better matchup...The Regional is a cakewalk and our National Seed pairing is A) Overrated as hell and B) likely to be upset in their regional because it is a beast. This is the year, no big name team to be intimidated by... we should seriously sweep our way to OMAHA

LoneStarReb: Mizzou has been a tough team in the Big(flop)XII this season. they have had some upsets! We need to watch for them!

supertone: Easy draw for Mizzou. Much better than hoped for. This could be a cake walk to the CWS for ole Mizzou.

Red Cup Rebellion is an Ole Miss blog with a sense of humor:
• Kyle Gibson is a beast on the mound(10-3, 3.47 ERA). I've heard reports from team managers in Columbia that Gibson struck out Mizzou alum Ian Kinsler during a simulated game. Kinsler was swinging with a wiffle ball bat and was drunk. And yes, Gibson was throwing coffee can lids, but still wow, what an arm.

• There's only two players with batting averages over .300 with Greg Folgia leading the team in nearly every offensive category. Folgia is majoring in General Studies, which is by far the most popular choice for the learning disabled but physically gifted.
Blue Springs grads put in same NCAA baseball regional (
Missouri features three Blue Springs High School graduates – pitcher Nick Tepesch and infielders T.J. Schieber and Austin Holt – as well as one Blue Springs South grad, pitcher Ryan Gargano

Ole Miss features one Blue Springs graduate, pitcher Kyle Barbeck.

Barbeck, Tepesch and Schieber were teammates in the 2007 team that claimed the Class 4 state title with an 11-3 victory over Wentzville Holt in the championship game. Schieber and Barbeck each pitched in that championship game and Schieber and Tepesch each had an RBI.

■ Police Blotter: SS Tim Ferguson

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