Spending random weeknights or unintentionally extended weekends in Memphis is one of many time honored Ole Miss Rebel traditions. Being coaxed into wasting your money on a Diver at Silky O'Sullivans, downing a pint or ten at the Flying Saucer, and stuffing your fat mouth with Neely's barbecue spaghetti - along with making a general ass of yourself, much to the disdain of most of Memphis' denizens - aren't any more foreign to we Rebels than a trip to Graceland Too* or a burned roof of the mouth courtesy of a fresh stick of fried chicken. The city's strong Ole Miss ties are enough to make us feel welcomed, while it's strong(er?) Memphis State**, Arkansas, and Tennessee ties make us feel like the obnoxious foreigner in a strange, neon-lit land. In that sense, our Rebels are both welcomed and reviled, both at home and out of place, in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Rebel baseball team, however, won't likely get to partake in these subtleties and nuances, nor the revelry and idiocy, as they make the trip up across the Sardis dam and up I-55 to the Bluff City to take on a hapless yet still dangerous Memphis Tigers team in AutoZone Park.
At 6:30 PM tonight, SEC PotY Alex Yarbrough and his Rebel squad will hit the field against a Memphis team which is 17-23 on the year thus far. This should be a relatively easy win, but in baseball and against Memphis, nothing is a sure thing. Largely, these Tigers ain't all that talented, but that doesn't mean that there aren't talented players on the team. Adam McClain leads the team with a .378 batting average, while Eli Hynes has 10 home runs and 35 runs batted in. As a club, though, Memphis is only batting at a .280 clip, giving this bloggeur optimism for the pitchers we're likely to throw into a figurative fire (it's not a very hot fire, but it's a fire nonetheless) tonight.
Speaking of, we're starting Tanner Bailey tonight. He's never started for the Rebs, though he has held his opponents to a .125 batting average over 14.1 innings of relief thus far on the season. Memphis will be starting Germantown native Michael Wills, who holds a 2-1 record through eight starts. His ERA is 4.60 and his opposing batting average is .273.
If you're in Oxford and have nary an obligation tonight, make the trip up yonder to see the game. You won't regret it. Unless we lose, that is, because you'll probably regret it then. Regardless, this one night foray into the Volunteer State should, itself, prove more enjoyable than the upcoming weekend in Mississippi's College Town and their 25 super-duper fun things to do, many of which involve "time" in some fashion - so if you're gonna road trip to watch this baseball team any time soon, go ahead and make it now.
*Paul McLeod isn't dead. This is the best news I've heard in a while.
*Deal with it.