ABC Mailbag: Baseball’s MVP, an inter-sport triathlon, The Bachelor, BBQ sandwiches, football and more

Each week on The B&B Show (a radio show I co-host on Bulldog Sports Radio) we have a segment we call ABC, which you’ve seen me mention if you follow on Twitter.

It stands for Ask Bob Carskadon and is, basically, a radio mailbag of some serious and many non-serious questions sometimes but not always relating to Mississippi State sports.

Every Tuesday, we ask for questions on Twitter (tweet them to @bobcarskadon) and now, every Wednesday, I’ll pick some good ones to answer here on the HailState Beat. (PSA on those tweets: if a twitter profile is locked, people who don’t follow it can’t see its tweets, even if they are mentioned in the tweet.)

Keep in mind, as always, opinions and views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of MSU, though sometimes they very well may.

Daniel Black @dblack97: Who do you think will be the MVP of this year’s baseball team?

SGCJBAYSVZEKLKB.20130615233817Bob Carskadon: The easy answer is Wes Rea, though his value may be less measurable than others. The first baseman has become the father of the team and a coach on the field and his defensive prowess is tough to match across the country. Jonathan Holder enters his third season as one of the best closers in the country while Ross Mitchell went 14-0 last year despite being a reliever.

The semi-dark horse here, and the guy I’ll go out on a limb and pick, is junior pitcher Brandon Woodruff. If he has a season like Chris Stratton did two years ago, that’s your MVP.

Jake Ewing @JakeTheSnake511: Who’s your pick to win the job behind the plate?

Bob Carskadon: This might be the toughest question, honestly. John Cohen talked at length about his four catchers on Monday and basically his conclusion is the same as mine: no clue. He said each of them has something they are the best at, be it hitting, throwing, communicating or leadership abilities. If you combined all four, Cohen said, you’d have a first round pick.

That said, this is a battle I’d expect to go several weeks into the season. If I’m picking now who ends up as the guy by season’s end, I might go with Daniel Garner who has one of the best bats on the team. But we’ll see all four guys this weekend and there really is no favorite. Each has as good a chance as the others.

Will Gilmer @gilmerdairy: Which two spring sports do you predict will finish with the highest national rankings?

That Guy @thatguy1878: Do you think this could be the biggest athletic spring ever? Seems like everybody is ranked.

Bob Carskadon: I’m putting these questions together for obvious reasons. Mainly, it’s worth pointing out just how strong MSU’s spring sports are.

Baseball is ranked as high as No. 2, men’s tennis and men’s track are both Top 10, women’s tennis entered the rankings for the first time in a while a few weeks ago, women’s track is moving up quickly and may break Top 10 before long, the highly-ranked women’s golf team made it to the NCAA Championships last spring, the ranked men’s golf team had it’s best season in history and made it to an NCAA Regional last spring and the softball team is coming off back-to-back tournament appearances and has it’s best team in Vann Stuedeman’s three years.

Impressive list. But which two finish the highest? Baseball is ranked highest now and finished last season with the best ranking, so that’s one choice. The problem now is picking between five other likely Top 10 finishes. I’ll go with men’s track, who placed second in one of the season’s biggest meets last weekend, ahead of several teams ranked higher than them.

syrup2That Guy @thatguy1878: What ethnic food is your favorite?

Bob Carskadon: Mmm, tough choice. I’ve recently found a love for maple and meat-based Canadian fare, though the spice of Thai and Indian food is tough to beat. And especially now when it’s cold, the heavy German cuisine is tempting. But if I’m honest with myself, I eat Mexican more than any of the rest. Tex-Mex, to be sure, but flour and corn-made carbs, cheese, rice and grilled meat and vegetables are love on a plate.

That Guy @thatguy1878: If we had a triathlon between Dak Prescott, Craig Sword and Wes Rea where each had to do stuff from the other sport, who wins?

Bob Carskadon: I love this question, though it’s extremely difficult. Sword may have the most pure athleticism and speed of the group, but Rea is the only one who we know is SEC-caliber in two sports, both baseball and football. Though Prescott’s size might make him a great first baseman and he can almost certainly dunk.

If I were setting up power rankings before the events (and what each would do in said events certainly is of importance to this hypothetical competition) I’d rank them 1. Wes Rea 2. Dak Prescott 3. Craig Sword.

BHDFFYJSFCHUGPX.20131121195821Daniel Camp @Stoli_Dan: Who most likely takes Nickoe Whitley’s place as the pivotal defensive playmaker?

Bob Carskadon: In terms of timely tackles and interceptions, I think the easiest answer is rising junior corner Taveze Calhoun, who became a star over the course of 2013 for MSU.

If we’re picking a safety, I think Justin Cox merits consideration. His switch from corner to safety seems like a good fit and his athleticism back there could easily lead to plays similar to ones we saw from Whitley for so long.

Junior college guys, of which Cox is one, often make big jumps from year one to year two. If he improves the way Darius Slay did from 2011 to 2012, watch out.

Daniel Camp @Stoli_Dan: Is Evan Sobiesk the assumed field goal kicker next season?

Bob Carskadon: Yes, but with the announcement this week that running backs coach Greg Knox will take over special teams, I’m leaving more wiggle room than I would have in that answer. Previously, special teams duties were split amongst the coaches. Now, with one person in charge, I’d imagine some changes will be made both in personnel and scheme.

I certainly feel comfortable saying it’s Sobiesk’s job to lose as he enters his sophomore year, and I’d guess he keeps it.

Abigail Stricklin @AbigailS12: What are your thoughts on The Bachelor? Carskadon: I have very few as I’m not a regular viewer, but doesn’t that whole setup seem strange? You’re going on dates with 12 girls at a time who all say they’re in love with you after only knowing you for two weeks, so I don’t exactly have high hopes for their emotional stability. I’m likely not the one to come to for dating advice, but I can’t help thinking those are relationships doomed from the start.

Adeola Adebiyi @HumblyPSIrving: What is the ideal ratio of slaw to pork in a pulled pork sandwich?

Bob Carskadon: As those in the resulting twitter conversation said, give me 0:1. Coleslaw has no place on my BBQ sandwich. At the very most, I could be talked into some fried onion strings, but pulled pork is one of the few sandwiches that doesn’t need anything other than meat and sauce between two pieces of thick bread.

@msubulldawgman: What song gets your heart racing before a baseball game? Will you have a Valentine Friday?

Bob Carskadon: I’ll have more on walk-out songs (and my own pick) in the near future, but in the pre-game time as the stadium fills and the teams warm up, few tunes fill my heart with warm nostalgia like Cheap Seats by Alabama –

As for Valentine’s, I’ve got a lovely date planned with just under a dozen of ESPN’s finest videographers and directors. If you haven’t seen on Twitter, the Worldwide Leader is sending a team down to film a commercial on the Left Field Lounge this weekend. I’m escorting them around the game on Friday, so wave us over if you see us near your trailer. They’re looking for some interviews and video of what the lounge is like and I’m sure they wouldn’t say no to a bite to eat.

JGEJMJOOLEKJHHT.20130618053516Gus Brand @gbrd90: What was your reaction to the final hit of the first Oregon State game, that in any other dimension was a home run?

Bob Carskadon: I was in the dugout at TD Ameritrade Park for this one and I thought that ball was gone, gone, gone. As soon as it went in the air I thought to myself, ‘Oh, man.’ It went high and far and surely it was about to be a home run. Hunter Renfroe was running underneath it in the outfield, but I figured his eventual jump at the wall would be as pointless as every other leap falling short of a home run.

But then he stopped and turned at the very last second and somehow the crushed ball fell just short, landing in Renfroe’s glove instead of the bleachers behind the wall.

In any other park, that ball was a home run. That catch is certainly one of the highlights of the season. The reaction in the dugout went from dead silence as the ball sailed to unfiltered euphoria when he caught it. Very fun moment.

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