STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- In the old days coach Matt Senk would try to avoid showing recruits the baseball field. Among the quirks of Stony Brook's home diamond was a small slope down the rightfield line that meant players sitting in the dugout could only see above the uniform letters of the rightfielder. First basemen chasing foul pop-ups with their heads turned toward the ball would often trip on the unexpected downhill.
The surprises began with the very first pick of the 2012 MLB draft -- when the Astros selected Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa instead of the widely expected choice, Stanford righthanded pitcher Mark Appel -- and didn't stop there. Here's a quick look at the winners and losers from the first round and the compensation round.
This is the 66th year for the NCAA Division I college baseball championship, more commonly referred to as "The Road to Omaha." It's a nod to the city that has hosted the College World Series for the past half century. At least "The Road to Omaha" is the phrase used by 63 of the 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament. For Creighton, it's "The Road to Home." The Bluejays play their home games at Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park, site of the CWS. That wouldn't make it any less special being one of the eight teams that will play for the national championship. Here's a few things to watch for as this year's journey begins:
Five things to watch for this season in college baseball:
Moments after securing last year's national championship for South Carolina, the Gamecocks second title in a row, pitcher Michael Roth said, "The fans will be talking about a three-peat, but we're happy for a repeat. We'll talk about a three-peat come next year." Next year is here and so is talk of the Gamecocks joining USC (which won five titles in a row from 1970-74) as the only schools to win three straight national championships.
I had the chance to be part of the Frozen Diamond Faceoff on Jan. 15 in Cleveland as the Michigan Wolverines beat the Ohio State Buckeyes 4-1. I was there covering the game for FS Detroit and it was my first opportunity to witness first hand the phenomenon that has grown during the decade since the original CCHA event in 2001 -- dubbed the Cold War -- at Spartan Stadium between the Wolverines and Michigan State.
DALLAS -- Already the most fascinating team in baseball -- everybody from Albert Pujols to the Securities and Exchange Commission is checking them out -- the Marlins aren't done yet. Having added shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell, the newly named, newly outfitted and newly relocated Miami Marlins are prepared to push their payroll past $100 million if it means adding Pujols, according to a team source.
You might not have known this -- I didn't know it: Tony La Russa has won more games than any coach or manager in any American sport the last 60 years. Now, this is obviously not a fair comparison when it comes to other sports. Baseball teams play so many more games.
Five cuts on the Division Series:
They will go down as the most thrilling 129 minutes in baseball history. Never before and likely never again -- if we even dare to assume anything else can be likely ever again -- will baseball captivate and exhilarate on so many fronts in so small a window the way it did September 28, 2011.
When you think of Milwaukee -- and most of you never do -- what comes to mind? (Or would, if you ever did?) Beer, of course, and if you're old enough Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, and perhaps Alice Cooper in Wayne's World saying: "It's pronounced Mill-eh-wah-kay, which is Algonquin for 'the good land'." To which Wayne said: "I was not aware of that."
Sometime in the second half of the 20th century man persuaded himself that the triple is baseball's most exciting play, which is nonsense, for how many Bleacher Bums ever threw a triple back?
OMAHA, Neb. -- Half an hour after South Carolina won its second straight national championship, the game's winning pitcher -- and one of the enduring characters of the College World Series -- was playing in the dirt three days before he was to fly to the sandy beaches of Alicante, Spain, to study, in his words, "Spanish and windsurfing."
OMAHA, Neb. -- Imagine for a minute a plodding, power-hitting first baseman with a broken bone in his hand, who nevertheless launches home runs in batting practice to force his way into the starting lineup and then delivers a pair of hits that alone would have been the story of the night if not for the improbable way he wins the game with his legs. If that sounds like a superhero -- for a night, at least -- you weren't far off.
As if reaching the College World Series wasn't incentive enough, there was an added element for team's competing in last year's Super Regionals: playing at historic, 63-year-old Rosenblatt Stadium in its last turn as host of the CWS. This year it's about being among the eight teams to christen new TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha, Neb. There are plenty of other intriguing storylines across the country as the best-of-three Regionals begin this weekend, highlighted by South Carolina's quest to return to defend its title; the Dallas Baptist vs. Cal matchup assuring that a No. 3 seed advances; and the Texas vs. Arizona State series assuring that a program steeped in tradition makes it back once again.
Monday night's baseball draft is considered one of the best and deepest in years, but for the first time in three years, there's no sure No. 1 overall pick.
Five things to watch for as the MLB Draft gets underway Monday night in Secaucus, N.J.:
NEW YORK -- On a mid-May Monday, Braves catcher Brian McCann fielded a phone call from his brother, Brad. This event on its own is not remarkable -- Brad is only 14 months older and the two are very close -- but in this instance Brad, a former All-American at Clemson and four-year minor league player, shared some hitting advice for Brian.
To borrow a phrase from the suddenly talkative Mets owner Fred Wilpon, plenty of teams seem "snakebitten'' this year. There have been so many injuries this year, particularly to star players (Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, David Wright), that the Snakebitten Six teams, listed below, have to feel something's just not right.
Baseball's best prospects are starting to find their way onto major-league rosters as teams try to shore up weaknesses and/or find out exactly what they have before trading season. Within the past few days alone, perhaps baseball's best hitting prospect (Eric Hosmer) and best defensive prospect (Jose Iglesias) received their call to the majors.
While Rays scouting director R. J. Harrison was at a college baseball game on Friday night, a scout from a different organization approached and made a defeatist proclamation about the upcoming Major League Baseball draft: "Nobody's going to get anybody because you're taking everybody."
Although not everyone in baseball is sure that next month's first-year baseball draft is quite as talent-laden as the 2005 draft that included Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Jay Bruce, Clay Buchholz and several more future stars, this draft is indeed "very strong and extremely deep,'' as one scouting director said.
When the Tampa Bay Rays sent top starting pitcher Matt Garza to the Cubs for a few hot prospects in a seven-player trade this winter, folks barely noticed that a couple of intellectual outfielders were also exchanged in that same deal. Fernando Perez, an Ivy League product of Columbia, went to the Cubs, and Sam Fuld, the Stanford product known mostly for his lack of height and daredevil plays in the outfield, went to the Rays.
Related Galleries for the April 4, 2011 issue
There are more oblique injuries this spring than one would expect. I don't like saying that injuries are just "part of the game," though it's clear that traumatic injuries are unpredictable. I also don't like guessing, so I went to the leading expert in this area, Mark Verstegen of Athletes Performance Institute. Mark and his team have done more to emphasize the importance of the core than anyone, so I asked him: What's the deal with all these oblique injuries?
Related galleries for the March 14, 2011 issue
Change will be evident from start to finish during the 2011 college baseball season, beginning with the bats. NCAA-mandated restrictions have removed the ping and the pop from them, to the point that coaches are predicting lower scores and shorter games as pitchers dominate the hitters. The road to the national championship still leads to Omaha, Neb., but it detours downtown, where TD Ameritrade Park, built at a cost of $128 million, has replaced historic Rosenblatt Stadium. Expect to see some familiar faces during opening ceremonies of the College World Series, however. Half of the teams in the top 10 here reached Omaha last year.
When 20-year-old Los Angeles Angels infielder Brandon Wood walked into the clubhouse during his first spring training in 2006, it didn't take him long to realize the expectations the organization had for him. The former 2003 first-round draft pick looked up to see his locker placed squarely between two Angels legends: Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad. The message had been sent. Wood was fresh out of A-ball where in 2005 he smacked 43 home runs and was named the California League and Single-A offensive player of the year. Before the start of 2006, Baseball America ranked him the third best overall prospect behind Justin Upton and Delmon Young. The buzz was growing around Wood, whether he liked it or not.
A Florida International University baseball player has been charged with rape in the Bahamas. WSVN reports.
Los Angeles Angels are stunned and saddened over the hit and run car crash death of pitcher Nick Adenhart.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Five cuts from the Giants' 3-1 victory in Game 5 to win the World Series ...
ARLINGTON, Texas -- In Texas' visiting clubhouse, the lockers of the Giants' starting rotation are aligned in a row, and down that row the ball gets passed among four pitchers who have nothing and everything in common all at the same time.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants' Game 3 starter, is a left-handed pitcher, and Mitch Moreland bats left-handed, and Moreland didn't know if he would start in Game 3. He didn't know -- though he had some idea -- as of Friday, when the best that Rangers manager Ron Washington could do, after listing a number of players who would definitely play on Saturday, was say that Moreland "probably" would be in the lineup. Two nights ago, even though he was then the only Ranger who had hit with any consistency in his club's back-to-back losses, he really didn't know, and he didn't care. "We'll walk in there," he said then, referring to the Rangers' clubhouse, "and if I'm in the lineup I'll be ready, and if I'm not, I'll be ready."
This is only the second time in 90 years that two teams never to win a World Series for the city they currently represent will meet in the Fall Classic. The only previous time was in 1992, when the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves.
So this is what it feels like. This is what it feels like to watch the baseball team you have been following for 38 years reach its first World Series, dominating a long-time nemesis to get there. This is what it feels like to watch your alma mater knock off the No. 1 team in the BCS standings, whipping a longtime rival that only three years earlier had spoiled a dream season not once, but twice. And how was your weekend?
Thanks in large part to the good folks at SportsCenter, where hyperbole is an anchor's best friend, every modestly noteworthy achievement in the modern world of athletics must be classified as "historic" or "making history."
Major League Baseball and Fox are close to finalizing the earliest start time to a World Series game in 23 years. First pitch for World Series Game 3 this year, hosted by the American League champion, would be scheduled for approximately 6:55 p.m. Eastern time, according to baseball sources -- an hour earlier than Game 3 last season and more than 100 minutes earlier from as recently as 2007.
The college football season is underway and nobody cares in New England.
BOSTON -- The entertainment beast that is the National Football League -- where a stinking, meaningless week two preseason game was the most watched show of its week last month -- truly commands the American consciousness with the start of its regular season this week. And for the second straight September, baseball offers the resistance of a lack of pennant races and national narratives.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Peter King had to say about the Giants camp in Albany, N.Y. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
In the end, Bryce Harper and the Nationals needed each other too much for him not to sign.
Power prodigy and No. 1 overall draft choice Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed on a five-year, $9.9 million deal late Monday night, beating the midnight deadline for 2010 draftees.
Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the first round, agreed on a deal believed to be for about $5 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates, SI.com has learned. Taillon is a right-handed pitching prodigy from the Houston area and a big addition for the Pirates.
By his coach's recollection, when Alex Rodriguez debuted on the Westminster Christian varsity as a sophomore in 1991, he gave little indication that he was destined for home run-hitting greatness. Rodriguez was tall and lean when standing in the batter's box and smooth and slick while fielding grounders at shortstop. He primarily batted seventh and only hit about .270.
Making sense of the Cincinnati Reds as a contender can be tricky business, seeing that they appear not to have received the memo that this is the Year of the Pitcher. The Reds win games by bludgeoning teams in their bandbox of a ballpark and by beating up the four tomato cans in the worst division in baseball. Pitching? Their ERA is only middle-of-the-pack acceptable: 4.07, the worst of the eight playoff spot leaders today (Cincinnati leads the NL wild card).
The New York Yankees owner talked about his life's work, and about being a winner.
Living in New York and covering baseball for Sports Illustrated gave me an intimate perspective on the George Steinbrenner Yankees of the late 1970s and early '80s. Multiple assignments revealed the secrets, jealousies and rivalries that made the team's Bronx Zoo sobriquet seem sufficiently justified. Reggie Jackson may have been "the straw that stirs the drink," as he famously declared upon his arrival in 1977, but Steinbrenner was the master mixologist. His obsessive-compulsive hiring and firing poured the ingredients together, and his cocktail shaker management style brought it all to a froth.
ANAHEIM -- Here's what to look for in the Midsummer Classic tonight:
BALTIMORE -- As perhaps the most revered Baltimore Oriole in history, Cal Ripken Jr. remembers well what it took to get there. But before he was a Baltimore icon, before he was an Iron Man, even before he was an established big leaguer, Ripken was a 21-year-old rookie mired in a horrific slump and unsure of how to get out of it.
From All-Stars like Barry Bonds, J.D. Drew, Nomar Garciaparra and Robin Ventura to Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, future major leaguers are a regular part of the College World Series. Before Rosenblatt Stadium closes up shop next week, here are the 12 best pro prospects likely to join those players as big leaguers who first stepped onto the national stage in Omaha.
OMAHA, Neb. -- Much of the leadup to the 64th College World Series has been focused on Rosenblatt Stadium -- the site of the event since 1950 -- which will be put out to pasture when a new downtown stadium opens in 2011.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Chris Paul has no qualms about leaking trade secrets. The Hornets star holds (and funds) the CP3 Elite Guard Camp at a YWCA here in his hometown each summer -- this year he invited 17 of the country's best college players, and a North Carolina-heavy roster of 26 high schoolers -- with the express purpose of teaching them the tricks he uses as a point guard the NBA, because, he says, he wishes someone would have done it for him before he got to the league. While we watched Paul and Warriors rookie Stephen Curry, a former camper, hold court with a group of 16- and 17-year-old prospects on Saturday, Scout.com recruiting guru Dave Telep said, "Chris feels like it's his responsibility to do this for these kids -- and who else out there can you say that about?"
As the World Cup -- football to everyone outside the U.S. -- gets under way in South Africa, U.S. football grabs its own headlines more than two months before the season starts. Will pitchers keep dominating and making history in baseball? And who will step up in Game 5 of the NBA Finals? Here are some things to keep you looped in on the sports conversation this weekend.
With baseball's first-year player draft just five days away, the Nationals aren't saying who they will take first overall. But that's more about their own rules regarding caution and secrecy than anything else. By now everyone knows who the star of this mostly average draft is: 17-year-old slugging sensation Bryce Harper, a Sports Illustrated cover boy at 16 last June and a college superstar at 17 this June, two years ahead of his time.
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Five compelling storylines from baseball's annual First-Year player draft, and just the second to run in primetime.
MLB's first-year player draft begins with Monday's first round at 7 p.m. ET. The draft's key questions begin with the one player that everyone is talking about.
Armando Galarraga's perfect game that wasn't, and Roy Halladay's that was, headlined a history-making week in sports.
I got a letter once from a football fan in Baltimore who wanted me to know he hated -- HATED -- the fact that his city had stolen away the Cleveland Browns. He hated it because he remembered what it felt like to lose the Baltimore Colts. He hated it because he knew how much the Browns meant to Cleveland. He hated it because it was wrong, and he knew it was wrong, and if he could have somehow voted against it he would have voted against it.
When Steve Greenberg was trying to launch Classic Sports Network (CSN) in 1993, he and his partner, Brian Bedol, hit nothing but roadblocks. Neither had any experience running a cable network. Some people thought their idea to rebroadcast archival footage of big games was interesting, but nobody wanted to give them money. Then Greenberg went to see Herbert Allen Jr. at Allen & Co., the fabled investment-banking boutique.
The Nationals, who have the first pick in next month's draft, are now working to hire possible No. 1 pick Bryce Harper's college coach as a scout, SI.com has learned.
Word going around the game is that the country's consensus top amateur player, the already legendary 17-year-old slugging catcher Bryce Harper, who is being advised by Scott Boras, will seek to break last year's record $15.67 million bonus set by Stephen Strasburg after Harper is selected at or near the top of next month's draft.
RENTON, Wash. -- Still shocked at two things this morning: Jimmy Clausen out of the first round (despite the media storm clouds that said he wouldn't go 'til late in the round), and Cal defensive tackle Tyson Alualu with the 10th pick of the draft, to Jacksonville, when most NFL people had him with second-round value. "Stunning,'' one club official told me overnight about the Jags reaching for Alualu. "Almost fell out of my chair.''
Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor was found dead in a hotel room. Utah officials look into the cause of death.
Foul play is not suspected in the death of Colorado Rockies President Keli McGregor, whose body was found Tuesday in a Salt Lake City, Utah, hotel room, police said Wednesday.
Colorado Rockies President Keli McGregor was found dead Tuesday morning in a Salt Lake City, Utah, hotel, police said.
I only went to one Opening Day game as a boy. That was April 8, 1978. It was a Saturday. I was 11 years old. I remember it for a few reasons, one being that it was approximately 23 degrees below zero in Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I have often written about how cold Cleveland Municipal would get, even in the middle of July. The wind would howl off Lake Erie. The roof would cast this frigid shade -- there were places in the Stadium where the sun never shined, puddles that would not dry until the place was imploded. I'm not sure it ever felt colder in there than that day in '78. Wayne Garland, who started the game for Cleveland, would say that the baseball felt like a piece of glass in his hands .
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For weeks, the Braves weren't saying whether Jason Heyward, their rookie phenom, would make the team and be their Opening Day right fielder, but they couldn't fool anyone with this bit of late-spring silence. They need another banger in a lineup where the main anchors are their sweet-swinging catcher Brian McCann, their talented shortstop Yunel Escobar and Chipper Jones, an icon heading fast to the finish line. They need a spark. They needed Jason Heyward, and they would have needed to have their heads examined if they had sent him down.
Listed by themselves, without context or comment, the two transgressions can be easily ranked in order of severity.
This spring, SI.com writers are filing postcards from all 30 major league camps. To read all the postcards, click here.
The old slogan -- "Everything's bigger in Texas -- might be a bit of an exaggeration. After all, at least one thing was decidedly smaller in Texas in 2009: the Longhorns' ERA. In fact, 286 Division I teams posted bigger ERAs than Texas' 2.95 last year, and only one (Arizona State) had a smaller ERA.
Baseball America annually polls major league scouting directors to vote on the team and make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential. In the past, the preseason All-America team has been a predictor both of the first round of the draft and of team success. For example, 11 of the 15 college players drafted in the first round last June appeared on Baseball America's preseason All-America list -- eight of them on the first team. Among this year's All-Americans, Middle Tennessee State outfielder Bryce Brentz is the only player who appeared on every scouting director's ballot.
1. Doug Glanville, New York Times op-ed columnist: The most illuminating piece of writing on Tiger Woods last month came from a man once traded for Mickey Morandini:
BOSTON -- A Zamboni at Fenway? You sure that wasn't Yastrzemski? Merloni perhaps?
Stop right there. Before we allow you to read any further, we'll need to see some ID. A review of the year in sleaze -- oops, we mean sports -- in 2009 is a tale for mature audiences only. Some of the randy goings-on were mildly amusing: NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley got a traffic ticket last New Year's Eve in his haste to find a place for a little one-on-one time with a female friend. Others were deeply disturbing: retired NFL quarterback Steve McNair, a husband and father, was shot dead by a paramour in a murder-suicide.
The NHL rarely gets it right. Professional hockey is a consensus Number Four (and we don't mean Bobby Orr 4) whenever we get around to ranking sports that grip the American mind. Like Ringo, hockey is always the caboose, rarely taken seriously and unable to compete with John, Paul and George.
Economics is known as the dismal science, but not every economist is a pessimist.
The late, great ink-stained orator Mike Royko was the wise-guy voice of Chicago on myriad matters large and small, pitch-perfect in articulating his city's sensibilities and proudly unwavering in his disdain for all things New York.
PHILADELPHIA -- The biggest catchphrase in this World Series, besides instant replay of course, is short rest. Who's getting it? Who's giving it? Who's refusing it? Charlie Manuel did not ask Cliff Lee to pitch on short rest in Game 4 and the Phillies lost. Joe Girardi did ask A.J. Burnett to pitch on short rest in Game 5 and the Yankees lost. Both managers exposed themselves to criticism even though they made exact opposite moves.
Major League Baseball's umpires are all over the news after a spate of, er, questionable calls throughout this postseason. Despite larger postseason umpiring crews that include two extra umps in the outfield, it feels like an inordinate number of calls have gone the wrong way.
Brad Ausmus has tried holding his hands close to his body, and he has tried holding them further away. He has tried holding them high. He has tried holding them low. He has angled his feet towards third base. He has angled his feet towards first. He has experimented with every physically possible degree of knee-bend. "For awhile it looked like I was sitting on a toilet," he says. But no matter how Ausmus has contorted himself, he has never arrived at a batting stance from which he has been able to hit a baseball with any consistency. "At some point, around 2001," Ausmus says, "I cut the line and let the whale go free."
PHOENIX -- Opening day of the Arizona Fall League's 18th season, which kicks off on Tuesday, will feature the professional debut of college baseball's premier player at his position.
We come neither to bury nor to praise the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, despite its mausoleum feel and color scheme. The Dome will be in use beyond the Twins' final game this autumn, its Teflon roof inflated over Minnesota Vikings games until a) owner Zygi Wilf and his family strong-arm the Twin Cities into a sweetheart deal for a new stadium, or b) Minnesota loses its second major sports franchise to Los Angeles (we can just see it now, the L.A. Vikings setting sail on all those L.A. lakes).
When commissioner Bud Selig told us he had faith in the Washington Nationals back at his All-Star Game briefing, it was assumed he was being more hopeful than realistic. But Selig looks like he might have been on to something.
The last three years, Major League Baseball has implemented a signing deadline, ending the interminable holdouts that often plagued baseball's draft process. The draft still has plenty of problems, but that's another story. This draft is essentially in the books now that Monday's deadline has passed, with two fourth-year pitchers -- indy leaguers Aaron Crow (Royals first-rounder) and Tanner Scheppers (Rangers supplemental first-rounder) still unsigned but not subject to the deadline.
With or without Stephen Strasburg, when midnight arrived on Tuesday the Washington Nationals would still be in last place in the NL East, still own the worst record in baseball and still have more question marks than any organization in baseball. But now that Strasburg has agreed to a four-year contract worth more than $15 million, for the first time in the Nationals brief history, there is considerable cause for optimism. By signing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the Nationals not only made up for their failure to sign their top pick (pitcher Aaron Crow) a year ago, but also brought some much-needed legitimacy to a floundering franchise, some much-needed talent to a club hurting for star power and some much-needed hope to a fan base starving for a team that can, eventually, be something more than a pushover in the difficult NL East.
Guesses from a multitude of executives around baseball for ballyhooed/deified No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg's eventual signing bonus have ranged from $12 million to $30 million. Every estimate represents a record bonus.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Don Banks had to say about the new-look Lions in Allen Park, Mich. For an archive of all the camp postcards, click here.
Funny thing, just six years after Michael Lewis' seminal Moneyball came out there isn't really a small-market team that looks to be playoff bound. Yes, the Minnesota Twins are hanging in there, of course, because the division is so flawed and because the Minnesota Twins always hang in there.* The Florida Marlins have the lowest payroll in baseball and are only five games out. The Tampa Bay Rays are still in the chase.
Over the years, I'd seen Dave Sims' face pop up on my TV screen. One time he was covering track and field at the Seoul Olympics. The next, he was broadcasting college hoops in Syracuse. Another time I spotted him anchoring a local sportscast in New York, and one Sunday I swore I saw him reporting from the sidelines at an NFL game.
The championship trophy appeared behind the Rosenblatt Stadium backstop with LSU still needing three outs to claim it, but with a seven-run lead the bold Tigers fans in the first few rows starting snapping photos of the soon-to-be Baton Rouge-bound hardware.
OMAHA, Neb. -- Wednesday night's finale of the College World Series pits two of the sport's most storied programs -- Texas has six championships, LSU has five -- against each other to cap an Omaha fortnight that has lived up to the hype as the "Greatest Show on Dirt."
OMAHA, Neb. -- At the time, Mikie Mahtook probably wished he had the Golden Sombrero.
OMAHA, Neb. -- Having just thrown his 126th pitch of the night, a 2-2 curveball to strike out LSU's Leon Landry for the 5-1 (RECAP) win and tie the College World Series final, Texas starter Taylor Jungmann excitedly pumped his fist before leaving the dirt of the Rosenblatt Stadium mound.
Last week was about as big of a week as we get at Baseball America: Major League Baseball's first-year player draft and the College World Series. Talk about worlds colliding.
The low-down on all eight College World Series participants with detailed scouting reports from coaches who faced them during the regular season.
It's too early to grade the 2009 baseball draft, as none of the players chosen has even signed a contract, not to mention played a pro game. Most baseball drafts require at least three years to evaluate, if not five years when high school players are factored in.
What's more fun than playing scouting director? Playing scouting director 32 times. Baseball America's draft experts, Jim Callis and John Manuel, conducted a mock MLB draft in which they took turns making the picks for Tuesday's first round, factoring in the finances and needs for each team. So the player listed is the one that BA's experts think that each team should pick, not necessarily the one that they will pick. (Callis won the coin toss, so he gets first dibs on the best prospect in draft history and makes all the odd-numbered picks; Manuel has the evens.)
A Washington Nationals official pretended on Sunday not to know a thing about Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State pitching phenom who's expected to go first to the Nats in Tuesday's draft. "What's Tuesday? Who's Strasburg?'' he said, feigning ignorance.
The kids don't know what to do first.