The Vanderbilt University baseball team is currently competing in the 2019 College World Series, and one Commodores fan’s enthusiasm is drawing national attention. Preacher Franklin is one of the two fans called the “Vandy whistlers” and their chirps have been heard at Vanderbilt baseball games for years. At least one College World Series official, however, would like them to stop.
Franklin told The Tennessean that he was warned three times by a tournament employee to stop whistling during Vanderbilt’s College World Series game Sunday and that if he didn’t quiet down, he could be ejected from the ballpark after complaints from others watching the game in person and on TV.
Here’s what Franklin told The Tennessean:
“They can’t throw me out for whistling for our (Vanderbilt baseball players), like I always do,” said Preacher Franklin, one of two Vanderbilt fans dubbed the Vandy whistler. “But (the tournament employee) said people around me were bothered by it and people watching the game on TV were calling and complaining.
“He said, ‘Whistle like that one more time and you’re going to be thrown out of here.'”
Frankin has attended Vanderbilt’s previous College World Series appearances in 2011, 2014 and 2015. As The Tennessean notes, the College World Series stadium guide lists “noise making devices of any kind (i.e. bells, whistles, horns, etc.)” as banned items. But whistling produced naturally is not listed as a prohibited action.
Here’s more from The Tennessean:
Franklin said the man that warned him three times on Sunday to stop whistling wore a TD Ameritrade Park shirt and had a plastic credential around his neck. Another Vanderbilt fan, Matt Byrn, said he sat two seats away from Franklin and witnessed all three warnings.
“He was definitely an official employee of TD Ameritrade Park. He had an earpiece in, a walkie-talkie and a badge around his neck,” Byrn said. “And I heard everything the guy said. He told Preacher that people weren’t enjoying the game because of the whistling, so he needed to stop whistling.
“Preacher told the guy that he would try to hold it down as much as he could. The guy came back a third time, maybe in the sixth or seventh inning. That’s when he told Preacher that if he didn’t stop whistling, they would escort him out of the park.”
The 2019 College World Series bracket is down to seven teams after Texas Tech eliminated Arkansas Monday. There are two games on Tuesday; Louisville faces Auburn in an elimination game at 2 p.m. ET while Vanderbilt takes on Mississippi State at 7 p.m. ET — a game where Franklin plans to keep whistling, according to The Tennessean.