If you were in the 141.8 square mile vicinity that is Omaha, NE you probably heard the cheers of the Vandy Boy fans– and probably the whistling of one fan in particular. Preacher Franklin, also known as one of the two Vandy Whistlers, (the other is named Jeff Pack) is the man behind what some consider the most annoying sound in college baseball; besides the sound of the BBCOR bats.
Franklin says he does it because it gets the boys motivated during the game.
“It’s gets the boys excited and up because it irritates the other team and fans,” Franklin said.
Besides the players, the whistling also gets the crowd into the game.
For those of you that are annoyed by this energetic fan’s passion for Vanderbilt baseball, there is nothing in the rulebook that says fans cannot whistle. TD Ameritrade Park also does not allow artificial noise makers; something Franklin does not use to great the whistle sound. It’s all him.
Franklin has also received complaints and threats from other fans about the whistling. During the SEC tournament someone put a bounty on him, wanting someone to cut his tongue out, according to Franklin. He has also received “nasty” text messages on his personal phone because his number is public for his vinyl siding business.
Franklin has also been threatened by ball park personnel when he travels, most recently by TD Ameritrade Park staff. During Sunday’s game against Louisville, Franklin said he was threatened three times by park security to stop whistling or be removed from the park due to complaints they were receiving by callers watching the game and by fans in attendance. Franklin said he kept cheering for his team and stayed for all nine innings.
TD Ameritrade Park has yet to comment on the incident.
When Franklin is not rooting for the Vandy Boys, or being threatened by opposing fans or park security, he’s putting up siding or watching NASCAR. As a Darrell Waltrip fan, Franklin has made replicas of his cars. He will also take pictures with fans during and after games; he is known as a Vanderbilt treasure.