On a numbingly hot afternoon in New York City this weekend, I sat just a few feet from Alex Rodriguez on Saturday when he blasted his 500th home run to left field in Yankee Stadium. (Photo: Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera enter Yankee Stadium together yesterday before A-Rod hit his 500th. By fluke, CodBall was there.)
It was a first inning, first pitch blast that brought Yankee lover and Yankee hater to his or her feet. A milestone like this at such a young age is something that can transcend regional rivalries. As a Seattle Mariners fan, I have plenty to loathe about A-Rod, but I must admit I was pulling for him.
This Major League euphoria turned my mind to the impending Aug. 15th deadline for NCAA college players who were drafted back in June to sign with a major league organization. The deadline is fast approaching.
Why would I be thinking about this while sitting at Yankee Stadium? Well, I do happen to write a blog about the Cape Cod Baseball League, but more to the point I had just reviewed the list of former CCBL players who went on to play for either the Yankees or their opponents this weekend, the KC Royals:
Mark Belhorn Tino Martinez Brian Anderson Brandon Duckworth JP Howell Kyle Snyder Steve Stenle Kevin Reese Mike MacDougal
These guys played on the Cape, were drafted, signed and found their way to play for the Major League teams I watched in Yankee Stadium yesterday. And now a new crop of Cape players are being eyed for greatness in professional baseball. How far off might Gordon Beckham, Jermaine Curtis and Matt Hague be?
Someone already has reported that Mitch Moreland of the Bourne Braves was signed by Texas this week.
"With a uniform signing deadline of Aug. 15 and MLB executing a full-court press on reducing signing bonuses, scouting directors and front office personnel have found making their pitch to draft picks isn't as cut and dried as it has been years past," writes Alan Matthews of Baseball America.
Baseball America reports that the signing pace is slow for most clubs. The July 30 issue of Baseball America, written a month away from the Aug. 5th deadline reports that four of the first 14 pickes and 13 of the 30 first-rounders had signed.
As we reported earlier this year, the new compressed signing season between roughly June 15 and Aug. 15 means that some Cape players have been negotiating while playing during the CCBL season.
Some of the links I provided above to Baseball America provides draft maps and other resources for tracking your favorite players.