The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

College Baseball Notes

As mentioned in previous entries, for those of who live in the South (or the Sun Belt as some of us Yankees who live in the South may prefer to refer to it as), college baseball is already well onto the radar.

This weekend, for instance, the University of Miami (which is located in Coral Gables, Florida) faces off in a three game set against the University of South Florida (which is located in Tampa, and is not even one of the five southernmost colleges in its own state interestingly enough).

It is interesting to note that although the Hurricanes are a consensus top five team at this point in the season (and ranked as high as second in some polls), three former Canes are key contributors to other collegiate ballclubs. Infielder Joey Hooft transferred to Arizona State after the 2004 campaign, and is now the Sun Devils starting second baseman (he’s off to a solid start too – hitting .370 after the team’s first seven games). Former Hurricane reserves Greg Dini (catcher) and Matt Barket (outfielder) are now second year starters for the Tulane Green Wave, which is ranked as high as number one in some polls this year.

Coincidentally, these former Canes will get a chance to catch up this weekend as Arizona State travels to the Big Easy to meet the Green Wave in a three game set.

While the Canes are poised to make another run at Omaha this year, their road would be much easier with Dini, Hooft, and Barket in the mix. Because of defections to pro baseball, the Hurricanes pool of position players is remarkably thin (although their pitching staff is as deep as it has been since their 2001 championship season). In fact, for two games last weekend, the Canes started two true freshman at catcher and first base – roles that could have been filled by seniors Dini and Hooft, respectively, if they were still on the Canes roster.

Nonetheless the Canes swept last weekend’s series against High Point, and Dini, Hooft, and Barket are on clubs that are likely to meet up with the Canes in Omaha this June.

Major League Baseball and Other News
The Toronto Blue Jays announced the other day that their payroll over the next three years will increase substantially and that they plan to spend $210 million (American!) on players over those three years. While on the surface that sounds fantastic, and like a substantial increase over what the Jays have spent in recent years, in reality it’s not that great. The truth of the matter is that the Yankees, one of the Blue Jays division rivals, will likely spend $210 million (give or take) in the 2005 season alone. It will be tough to compete – no matter how shrewd and good of a GM J.P. Riccardi turns out to be – with a team that spends $3 on major league payroll for every one dollar that you spend.


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