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Hate Tennessee All You Want, They Don’t Care About Your Feelings After Another SEC Sweep

There aren’t many teams that can take on the role of the villain like this Tennessee baseball team has and pull it off successfully, and college baseball has taken notice.

The Vols (31-1,12-0) broke an all-time SEC record on Sunday afternoon for the best start in conference play, winning 12 straight games to start the season. After crowd-pleasing wins on Friday and Saturday, Tennessee took care of Missouri 4-3 on Sunday to sweep the Tigers, winning its 10th series of the season.

The thing is, this team doesn’t just win. They win AND make opposing fan bases hate them in the process.

The big secret is that this group doesn’t care what others think of them. They will go on the road and give opposing fans a reason to throw obscenities at them. Between the ‘Daddy Hat’ and the fur coat that every home-run hitter receives as he walks into the dugout, these guys play with swagger.

Saturday night in Knoxville was another perfect example. When Jared Dickey hit a shot to center field, Luc Lipcius, who was on second, ran for home to finish off the play. But rather than step on the plate like most base runners, Lipcius decided to dodge the catcher and then touch home plate with just his fingertip, a throwback to the movie The Benchwarmers. Based on the social media reaction to the many videos of the play though, you would’ve thought the Vols had disrespected someone’s mother.

Lipcius was asked after the Sunday finale about all the hate this team receives from the college baseball world, and he said they embrace it.

“It’s fun to have a target on your back. You’re either with us or against us. If you’re against us, we couldn’t give..uh..one heck about you. If you’re with us, you’re riding and dying with us.

“People haven’t liked us ever since we’ve been good,” Lipcius added. “They’re used to us being the people that lie down for you. Now that we’re here, it’s ruffling some feathers. People really don’t like it. I think the style of ball we play too, a lot of emotion, it gets under people’s skin. Let them do whatever they want, we’re gonna keep winning.”

The only people that this squad cares about are the ones clad in Orange and White, who pack the stadium every night. And there’s a reason they do — their team always gives them a thriller. For example, in the Saturday night contest, Jordan Beck stepped up to the plate with his team trailing 4-3 and jacked a monstrous grand slam. The fans went crazy and the Vols then had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Beck called this team “very dangerous” during his postgame press conference with the SEC Network crew, but he also elaborated further about what makes this team so special.

“Resilient, we’re a super talented team, as you can see, and we got some young guys that just don’t fear people. I think it’s a good recipe with our old guys, and our pitching staff is amazing. So I have no doubt that if they get a couple runs that we can come back. It’s just a fun team to be a part of.”

This Tennessee baseball team is like the old ‘NWO’ crew in professional wrestling. You know, the ones who strolled into the building behind their leader, Hulk Hogan, and just laid waste to everything in their way. I know you remember the swagger of that group who walked into every arena without a care in the world. This is exactly what Tennessee baseball is right now. They are a team that doesn’t care about your feelings and will try to humble you over the course of nine innings.

Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

I can see why opposing coaches wouldn’t like their antics. They don’t fit the narrative of what baseball “should” be. Opposing coaches in this league don’t like the trash talking, fur coat strutting, pink ‘daddy’ hat wearing, confident Tennessee baseball team. They also don’t like that their head coach Tony Vitello enjoys the ‘bad guy’ role as well. He even dishes it out from the dugout himself from time to time. He knows how much work these young men have put into their craft, so he lets them take on their own persona.

If you put everything we just talked about into a blender, you’re going to get a team like Tennessee. They aren’t not everyone’s cup of tea and they don’t care. They’ll undoubtedly take another loss sometime soon, but don’t expect it to dampen their swagger. This team is playing with unwavering confidence right now, and if you stand in the way of their goals, they won’t politely ask you to move aside. They’ll just run right through you.

This is what the ‘NWO’ would look like in college baseball, only they’re wearing Orange and White.

Written by Trey Wallace

2 Comments

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  1. I confess they are a bit full of themselves on the field, and in the dugout, and in post game interviews, and they aren’t afraid to let everyone know what’s what. That wears thin. The thing is, they back it up. I saw them play Vandy, who is the top program in the country with typically the most talent in the nation year in year out. Not in that series. The only problem is baseball is a LONG season that has ups and downs, so you hope they aren’t spending their clip all up front. I think they’re talented and experienced enough that it won’t matter, but we’ll see if they can keep this level of play up.

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