The chants of fans approval and criticisms were not heard at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Save that for the NFL draft.
Ping pong balls did not determine the draft order.
Save that for the NBA draft.
Nor were there green rooms, specialized draft hats or tricked out Armani suits. Rather, this draft, the MLB draft, was headlined by some of the game’s greatest legends and a new class of potential major league ballplayers.
Cole, a right handed pitcher from UCLA, went first overall to Pittsburgh. Cole is said to have the best “natural stuff” in this draft class. It took more than that generic term to take Cole, though.
He stands at 6-4 and weighs in at 220 pounds. That large and powerful frame may have been the biggest drawing factor in the selection. It surely wasn’t his 6-8 record and 3.31 ERA from his last year as a Bruin. But, his 376 strikeouts in 322.1 innings through a 3-year career opened eyes. Add a mid 90s fastball and strong breaking pitches and Cole could be a unique pitcher in a few years.
Obviously Cole doesn’t have the flair of name recognition of the two No. 1 picks that preceded him (Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper). He will, however, be forever grouped with three other pitchers chosen directly after him. Danny Hultzen (Mariners), Trevor Bauer (Diamondbacks) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles) all are unique pitchers in their own way and have the distinction of being the only four pitcher chosen in a row to start the MLB Draft.
A decade from now, one of these pitchers will have at least one Cy Young trophy sitting on a shelf of their five story mansion.
I sure hope Gerrit Cole gets a space cleared off soon.
photo credits: pirateprospects.com
I couldn’t take it any more.
re paced by a six run 8th inning where they batted around. There was great production from top to bottom. Tim Hudson also pitched a gem. He surrendered just three hits in seven innings.
The 1970’s were a time of puffy hair, bell bottoms, disco and apparently some funky golf carts. Not to mention some pretty good baseball as the legends of the day took the field throughout this legendary decade. Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson and Carl Yastrzemsk
were just a few of the go-to names of this era. Perhaps the greatest
players came from Pittsburgh and Baltimore, though.
After being picked up by the Pirates with the No. 1 pick in 1996 he ended his career nearly 14 years later with a record of 70-75 and an ERA of 4.42. He had just one 10 win season in his injury laden career.
He left Pittsburgh in 2004 when he was traded to the Mets in exchange for Jose Bautista. Benson faltered even more with another elbow injury in New York and from 2006 on he spent time in Baltimore and Texas but never amounted to even the miniscule success he found in Pittsburgh. It was reported that Benson was toying with the idea of signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of 2010 but the 36 year old felt it was in his best interest to offcially retire from baseball.
I don’t blame him.
The dissapointing career might not totally be his fault, though. Perhaps the only mistake he made was the fact that he agreed to sign with the Pirates back in ’96. He was just another pawn in the losing chess game otherwise known as the Pirates in the MLB draft.
Let’s start back in 1992, the last winning season for Pittsburgh and look year by year at the first round picks for the Bucs.
1992: Jason Kendall
1993: Charles Peterson
1994: Mark Farris
1995: Chad Hermansen
1996: Kris Benson
1997: J.J. Davis
1998: Clint Johnson
1999: Bobby Bradley
2000: Sean Burnett
2001: John Van Benschoten
2002: Bryan Bullington
2003: Paul Maholm
2004: Neil Walker
2005: Andrew McCutchen
2006: Brad Lincoln
2007: Daniel Moskos
2008: Pedro Alvarez
2009: Tony Sanchez
2010: Jameson Tailon
Four of those players are on the current Pirates roster, four spent ever-so bried stints in Pittsburgh, three look to be major pieces in building the next wave of successful baseball in the Steel City, one had a fruitful major league career, one currently is sweeping the bullpens in Washington and the rest probably haven’t been heard from since draft day.
Even though the Pirates, as well as Benson, have been losers for nearly two decades there is something Kris has that very few others do.
A lingerie model.
photo credits: foxsports.com, si.com
Last spring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomed me with open arms for a glorious day.
The Pirates were taking on the Orioles in an interleague play game in which my Bucs were up 6-0 at one point. Final score: 9-6 Baltimore. I was harrased, made fun of and spat at. Well not spat at but I thought I would be.
Monday night was much more charming. After all I was in the Charm City.
The Orioles did fall to the Kansas City Royals 4-3 and the weather was a bitter cold 45 degrees with a heavy drizzle falling throughout the nine innings, but I did enjoy myself as a neutral fan.
Appearing in my National League hat I kept my loyalty to “real, stern” baseball in an American League town. I hate when someone wears an item of a team not playing to a game so I with held from any Pirates gear. My buddies Andrew, Bryan and Ryan were clad in their Orange hoping for some Orioles magic that never seemed to come. Andrew is my friend from WVU and with a name like Schuerholz you have to be a baseball fan, i’ll touch more on that later. Bryan and Ryan are friends of Drew’s who I have become close with over the years.
Bryan had a dang cool homemade poster. Based on the Sesame Street logo and the street running parallel to Camden Yards, Eutaw Street. Brian Bergeson took the hill for the O’s Monday night. Bryan gave Bergeson a cool nickname that completed the sign perfectly, “Big Berg.” No not Big Bird, Big Berg! Pretty cool if I do say so myself.
While I did cheer for the hometeam to appease my friends I had a much bigger reason to root on the Orioles. One of my favorite baseball players of all time dons the black and orange, Corey Patterson.
Corey and I have had a long relationship. Mostly just me with Corey but here is how that got started. He was on the cover of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly when he was drafted by the Cubs in 1998. I was impressed with this up and comer and made it gospel that I collect as many cards of his as I could. While Patterson never even came close to living up to his billing I made out like a bandit coming across nearly 30 cards of him. I think it is safe to say I am his biggest fan. It was great to see him play in person for the first time. He scored the only three runs for Baltimore and on Tuesday belted a solo homerun to spark a come from behind win for the O’s. Watch out boys and girls, Corey is back!
Here are some more sights and sounds (well just sights, because you cannot hear any of this blog) from a very fun night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Unique monument area behind the gate in center field. It honors the retired numbers of the Orioles. I like that it is outside the physical boundaries of the stadium so fans can enjoy it on non gamedays.
The bird mascot was just chilling on the ledge out of the pressbox. It is a kind of high drop. I was worried he would fall. But he must have much better depth perception than me as he was perched there comfortably for 2 innings. He is a bird after all.
If only players today could be as respectable as Cal Ripken Jr. He was one of my favorites growing up. I love how he will always be adored by the Baltimore faithful. But PNC, come on! I know you sponsor many East Coast baseball teams but you do the most good for the Pirates. WIth PNC Park you should be restricted to just Pittsburgh. However rumors are floating around that due to the Pirates poor play PNC wants out of their contract early.
Out on Eutaw Street there are about 25 baseball shaped plaques, like this one, marking where balls have landed over the years. There have been some pretty deep shots including one that hit the famed wearhouse behind right field. This one was hit by one of my favorite players of the 90’s, Mo Vaughn.
Exiting the stadium on the walk back to the car this church sign delievered a blessing message to its beloved baseball fans, escpecially those in the AL East.
The real reason I was in Baltimore was for the West Virginia-Towson game on Tuesday, no really that is the reason. I had an off day giving tours so I made the trip representing my other job at WVU as beat writer for the baseball team. It was cool to be at my first away game although the crowd was miniscule it was a great time for a handful of reasons.
Two, the game was free for everybody.
The Mountaineers need
momentum heading into their final series of the year in hopes of clinching a spot in the Big East tournament. I talked to the coach after the game and wrote my articles to be published in the paper tomorrow.
Three, it was great to see a college campus. I love checking out different universities to see how it compares and contrasts with WVU in Morgantown. Like I do on any campus with a statue of their mascot (ie Pitt and Colorado) I have to take it out for a spin. Although he was a little wet from the rain that was drizzling all day the Towson Tiger was a quality landmark on a very nice campus.
The Fourth and final reason why it was an awesome day goes back to the baseball inspired name of Schuerholz. I’ve mentioned before that Andrew’s uncle is John Schuerholz. Former general manager of the Royals and Braves and current President of the Braves. The baseball field at Towson University is named in his honor as he went to school here and played baseball.
Although small, the field is very nice and something the family and Andrew are very proud of. I enjoyed it too along with my grand two days in Maryland. I capped it off with a delicious crabcake. I only eat them when I am in Maryland, only because I know that any where else they will simply be mediocre. I only dabble with the best!