Joe Fisher did not know what he was going to say in the event Vanderbilt’s baseball team won a national championship on Wednesday.
Likewise, he had no idea what he actually did say when the Commodores defeated Virginia 3-2 in the decisive game of the 2014 College World Series on Wednesday.
“After the game people were asking me what I said, and I had to tell them I didn’t know. I couldn’t remember,” Fisher told the Nashville Post. “… I spent a lot of time thinking about it, hoping not to screw it up. I didn’t really decide what to say, but I tried to say to myself, ‘I’d better keep this simple because if I don’t then I’m going to get emotional and I won’t be able to finish it.’
“I was really just kind of focused on trying to be as simple, direct and straight-forward as I possibly could to explain what just happened.”
That’s why his call of Adam Ravenelle’s game-ending strikeout of Daniel Pinero won’t make any anthologies of athletic poetry. The words themselves don’t exactly leap off the page:
One-and-two the count to Pinero.
Swing and miss, strike three!
Dreams do come true!
The Vanderbilt Commodores are college baseball’s national champions.
What he did, though, was vary his volume, pitch and passion, emphasizing a few key words to drive home the point that this was a memorable moment in Vanderbilt athletics history. In particular, he hammered out those last two: national champions.
In a way, Fisher had been building to that moment for some time.
He has been the play-by-play voice of Vanderbilt football, men’s basketball and baseball for 16 years and for some of those the real challenge was to feign enthusiasm more than it was to reign it in. Four times in the last six years, though, he was on the mic when the football team played in bowl games, three of which they won. Two years ago he called the men’s basketball team’s victory in the SEC tournament championship game, its first in 62 years.
“Years ago I thought, ‘Boy it would sure would be great if I had an opportunity to do one really meaningful game – oh, to get to a bowl game, oh, to get to the NCAA Tournament,’” he said. “Now it’s kind of expected.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’ve sort of been in the golden age for Vanderbilt athletics and I would have to say that’s correct.”
Wednesday night, he got his crowning moment.
“I guess when you win a national championship you’d have to put it up there,” Fisher said. “I’ve had some great ones — Shan Foster’s senior night; Worth Scott’s home run years ago; Jay Cutler’s touchdown pass to beat Tennessee — but never one that had this much on the line.
“It certainly ranks up there.”
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