Ivy Leaguers in Indians clubhouse discuss uncommon path to pro ball

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When the Indians pitcher-catcher duo of Tanner Anderson and Ryan Lavarnway are on the field together, there’s no lack of brain power.

“Most of the times I just tell him, don’t shake me off. Just throw what I tell you to throw,” Catcher Ryan Lavarnway joked with his teammate Tanner Anderson in the dugout on Friday.

“When we’re on the same page,” Tanner chimed in. “It’s lightning.”

Both Tanner and Ryan boast Ivy League educations. Lavarnway has just one semester to finish at Yale, and Anderson has a degree from Harvard and it’s no secret that going from the Ivy League to professional baseball, is not a common course.

“I have had to answer the question, ‘Why did you go to Yale?’ more than anyone should have to answer that question who went to Yale,” Lavarnway joked.

But there were two reasons Tanner and Ryan chose Ivy Leagues; opportunity in the classroom and opportunity on the field.

“I alaways had great grades and I always wanted to play college baseball and play pro but didn’t get a lot of opportunities,” Lavarnway said, “So when Yale called, how could I say no?”

Anderson felt the same way and after working to get his grades up, it was a no-brainer to go to Harvard.

“They were like hey instead of just pitching you can come out and play position and pitch,” the Tribe pitcher said. “So I was like alright, I’m in.”

Tanner majored in history of science, Lavarnway in philosophy, and though degrees from Harvard and Yale are solid back up routes after baseball, neither of the Tribe players want to to use the knowledge they gained from those degrees anywhere, but the baseball field anytime soon.

“You kinda can’t let yourself think that way though because if you start thinking a lot about plan B, you stop thinking about plan A, which is the most important thing right now,” Anderson said.

“Once I have a Yale degree and a world series ring,” the Yale product said. “Hopefully some doors will open.”

So until then, the once rival players in college, will continue to bring the intellect on the field, while enduring being the brunt of the friendly clubhouse jokes.

“They’ll try to instigate a little bit, out of no where,” Anderson told us in the dugout. “They’ll just be like ‘Yale sucks!’ and we’ll kind of look at each other and be like, ‘Nah. We’re not doing it.'”

The Indians face the Mudhens Saturday night at 7:05.

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