Thursday, June 08, 2006
YOUR DESTINY IS TO BE ENSNARED IN THE GLORIOUS GOLDEN TENTACLES OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!!, or BUT, OTHER SPORTS ARE BORING!
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There is the mania of college football blogs standing up for the World Cup, which SMQ will address with all the arrogant, red-blooded scorn a former longtime youth soccer mediocrity can muster in due course.
First, though, there is the even greater, unfathomable mania of the Major League Baseball Draft, conducted in Bud Selig's secret lair 2,300 kilometers beneath Miller Park over three days in which apparently every person who has ever donned a cap and glove is rewarded with a chance to putter around the minors for a year or two.
SMQ notes this annual deluge of local talent from every corner of the fruited plain (and el llano de fruto), so tedious even Mel Kiper Jr. is nowhere to be found, only because a Southern Miss player was drafted Wednesday in the 46th round. This is notable and wrong because a) 46 rounds, for a sport that may employ more teams, but each at only half the number of players as another popular sport whose draft lasts only seven rounds, is way beyond overkill, and b) the pick wasn't a USM baseball player - the mostly successful Diamond Eagles had three players taken on Day One and others later on - but rather a full-time Southern Miss football player: backup receiver and sometimes quarterback Damion Carter was snagged by the Colorado Rockies as an outfielder. Apparently, D.C. played some high school ball in New Orleans, but hasn't been anywhere near the diamond in more than three years in Hattiesburg.
SMQ thought this selection was strange, as Carter's not even that great at the sport he chose, but today the ever-vigilant Wizard of Odds points to a Seattle Times article on freakish Washington starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback, who left the Husky baseball team after a try-out before his freshman year three years ago, re-iterated his desire to play his last season for a terrible football team and still was drafted in the 45th Round by the Baltimore Orioles, just after another committed U-Dub passer, backup Jake Locker, was fruitlessly selected in the 40th Round. Back to the Clarion-Ledger article that mentions Carter - there's also University of Alabama-bound Lafayette County, Miss., DB Justin Woodall, who said he already told teams "I am definitely going to play football," yet was nevertheless picked by the New York Mets all the way up in the 19th Round.
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Whoa! Sorry, baseball, but it's over, babe. I found somebody else, and I'm happy. We'll always have high school, but now I need some space...
If the National Pastime is this desperate for bodies, SMQ is thinking about sending in tapes of his one little league season, when as a nine-year-old he played right field, often remembered to begin to attempt to back up first base on put outs, was adept at drawing a walk in any situation (or, at the plate at the end of a crucial tie game with two outs, the winning run on second and an unorthodox bunt order on from the coach, a badly misplayed passed ball to score the runner) and once was outrun for a ball rolling near the fence by the second baseman. Hey, his team went undefeated, and if everyone else who's ever played is going to cash in, why not SMQ?
Maybe some readers who are more knowledgable about baseball can lend some insight here - there are 50 rounds, meaning each franchise is drafting about two entire teams worth of players every year for only six to eight farm clubs. Is there really this much turnover? If there is, is it justified?
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For instance, in the NFL, we all know that you can't be drafted until 3 years after your high school class graduated. Now, in the NBA, there's a 1 year rule (or maybe its a 19-year old rule, whatever the rule is, I still won't watch the NBA). BUT, in baseball, there are no such restrictions. Not only are High School and JUCO players available for selection, but college players are also available, even if they haven't declared.
Also, the draft used to be even longer. The selection of Mike Piazza was in something like the 73rd round and it was as a favor of the Dodgers GM to one of his friends (Piazza's dad). Additionally, sometime in I think the 80's, the White Sox actually drafted a girl in some round in the 90's.
Also, its not uncommon for the players to not sign (i.e. Scott Boras is their agent, he's the "Drew Rosenhaus of baseball). He will consistently request insane salary figures just so his player doesn't get signed. And if a college player doesn't want to go pro, he'll just come resume his college career and get drafted again later.
The vast majority of draftees will go unsigned. Many of these are high school kids that don't get top dollar who go on to college baseball. The reason this is important is because the team that drafts said college-bound star has the rights to that player for the next three years, until that player is eligible to be drafted again. If, for some reason, the player and the college don't mix, the drafting team would still have the professional rights for that player.
While tons of kids get drafted, most never see the field of play. They are weeded out at the rookie ball camp/season and get a little above minimum wage for their time.