The Running Men

It’s midnight, and I’m on Cornado beach running sprints. A small ship is close to shore, beautifully decorated in multicolored lights.  To my surprise, the grunion are running tonight; this is only the second time I’ve seen them.

I’ve wanted to be here for weeks. Getting sick (swine flu?), however, followed by 14-hour days filled with player discussions, endless video clips and detailed statistical analysis doesn’t allow for much beach time.

Day One

The draft, finally.  We have the third overall pick and select the best high school player in the draft, Donavan Tate.  Tate runs like the wind, and he has a 788 on-base percentage.  He’s not only the best high school player in this draft, I doubt he’s ever met another person his age who’s as good an athlete as he is, at any sport, any place, any time.  Tate’s already turned down a full football scholarship to powerhouse USC, and we’ll be dangling $5 or $6 million to convince him to pass on his full baseball and football scholarship to top school UNC.  At UNC he’d not only be the stud baseball player, but also the football quarterback. No campus would be large enough to contain how big he’d be.

Donavan Tate

Donavan Tate

In the second round we take another high school hitter, Everett Williams.  When all is said and done, Williams is the only player in this draft who might turn out to be even better than Tate.  Tate runs like the wind, too.  He’ll get over $1 million if he signs.

Everett Williams

Everett Williams

Tate and Everett are lords of creation.  The only time I’ve ever felt like one was at the start of my second semester in college.  Terrified, I studied constantly during that first semester.  My first exam was an engineering statics exam, and I get a 95.  Unsure of how I stood, I went to speak to the class TA to discuss my mistake.  I arrive at his office; the line is the longest I’ve seen since Space Mountain at Disney World. More students join the line behind me.  I look at my test again for the hundredth time, then look at the two people standing next to me.  The person in front scored a 7, the person behind a 12.  I finally make it to the TA; the average score was a 22, and my 95 was the highest.  My mistake?  I left off a minus sign on a vector.  The rest of my classes that semester go similarly.  At the start of that second semester, I was a lord of creation.

Tate and Everett will make the same mistake that I made.  During that second semester I stopped comparing myself to the students in my classes and started comparing myself to the professors; Tate and Everett will soon be comparing themselves to Mike Cameron and Grady Sizemore.  I came up short, and they’ll come up short.  Eventually, maybe not, but for now, yes.

Day Two

At the other end of the spectrum, on the second day we draft college player Cameron Monger out the University of New Mexico.  Monger runs like the wind, too; he’s an 80 run on the 20-80 scouting speed scale.  Monger isn’t Tate; Monger isn’t Williams.  Over his three years to UNM he’s only gotten 40 plate appearances, and he’ll get at most $2500 if he signs. But don’t worry about Monger – he’s physics major with a 4.0 GPA.  If playing baseball doesn’t work out, he might be running a major league baseball team some day.

In the 30th round we take Wande Olabisi out of Stanford.  He runs like the wind; he’s also an 80 on the scouting speed scale.  Olabisi might get $1000.  But don’t worry about Olabisi – not only does he have a Stanford education, he was born in Nigeria to the royal family of the Urhobo tribe.  If baseball doesn’t work out, he might be running a major country some day.

Day Three

The talent pool has evaporated. We keep drafting down to the 50th round, until we’re taking players that have no talent, but who are related to someone who does.  In the 48th round they decide to take a D3 pitcher out of the University of Texas at Tyler, Brett Holland.  None of our scouts has seen him pitch, but through some hacking I’ve managed to obtain some information that no one else probably knows – Holland’s ground ball to fly ball ratio is 3 to 1, the highest of any college pitcher in the draft.  He was the strikeout leader for all of D3 baseball in 2008 and 2009 and was drafted by Oakland in the 49th round 2008 (but didn’t sign).  D3 schools award no scholarships; he’s unlikely to be a prospect.  But, he clearly has a decent breaking ball, some scout at Oakland liked him enough in 2008, and he strikes out the weaker  thletes in D3; he has a chance, a very small chance.  I get to announce the pick.  All of the other major league teams hear me read his ID number, name, position and school.  Here’s your shot; run, Brett, run.


I don’t run like the wind, but I run.  I run past the grunion; I run past the two fisherman illegally using buckets.  As I run I think about Keyvious Sampson, a high school pitcher we drafted.  His mother passed away two years ago, his father is  battling health issues; he can throw a ball 96 mph and struck out 126 batters in only 71 innings.  Will he sign?  Sampson  will be also be running like the wind, towards his future.

Keyvius Sampson

Keyvius Sampson


~ by secondhandparanoia on June 13, 2009.

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