Thursday, June 15, 2006


Just killing time before the College World Series takes over the tube you might have slipped over to the Niner press release on the summer location of Dirtbag returnees. Missing one, yes, that would be the talented lefty Donnie Hume who has asked for and been given his release.

The list of the traveling Niners includes three more players to the highly regarded Cape Cod League, Big West Freshman of the Year Danny Espinosa, freshman righthander Vance Worley (both with Chatham) and first baseman Brandon Godfrey (Yarmouth-Dennis). North to Alaska are two freshmen talents, righthander Andre Lamontagne and catcher Kip Masuda playing for the Peninsula Oilers and pitchers Andrew Leibel and Shane Peterson playing for the Anchorage Bucs. The Midwest league gets Ted Pattock and AJ Pinocchio playing for Eau Claire, while the Clark Griffith League out of Virginia will feature freshmen redshirts Hunter Hewitt and Russ Lowell playing for Fairfax.

Today the CWS fans and teams signed autographs, the Friday contestants scrimmaged or similar and then everybody went back to Johnny Rosenblatt for an all team BBQ before the hostilities begin. In our pledge to root for ABF, (Anybody But Fullerton), we start with this report on the North Carolina starter who gets the first shot at the sometimes hot sometimes cold Titans as told to the Omaha World Herald.

“No, the NCAA hasn't lifted its ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages at championship events. Miller Time, as any Tar Heel fan has come to know, is that two- to three-hour period each week when Andrew Miller takes the mound. It leaves them feeling a little giddy, watching the tall left-hander mow down opposing hitters. He performs that feat with such efficiency that he's earned himself a boatload of honors. He's also positioned himself to become a rich young man: The Detroit Tigers made Miller their first pick in the recent free agent draft.

Not bad for a guy who once thought he wouldn't pitch past high school.
"It wasn't until I was 17 or 18 that I realized that maybe I could pitch in college," Miller said. "I had always played the game for fun. You look at all the kids that start playing baseball in little league, and a lot of them get weeded out by the time they get to high school.

"I assumed that when I got to college, I would be one of those guys that got weeded out at this level." Some exposure on the showcase circuit before his senior year in high school started altering his thinking.
"I kept showing up ranked at the top of the lists," he said. "I started thinking then that I might have a future."

Right now, as the song goes, Miller's future is so bright that he has to wear shades. He will make at least one start in Omaha - on Friday night when the Tar Heels face Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m. Any additional work will be determined by how long North Carolina remains alive in its first CWS appearance since 1989.
When it does end, Miller is expected to take his 95-mph fastball and his nasty slider to professional baseball. Plenty of opposing coaches will be there for him if he needs help packing.

"He's as dominating a pitcher that I've seen on the college level in a long, long time," said Mike Martin, Florida State's coach the past 27 seasons. "In my book, he ranks right up there with Paul Wilson, Ben McDonald or any of the great ones that have pitched in Omaha. Andrew Miller is the real deal."
His No. 6 pick provides the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Miller with extra motivation for the postseason run. And any disappointment he felt about his draft status was erased Saturday night when the Tar Heels wrapped up their fifth trip to Omaha.
"I know it sounds corny, but this is storybook stuff," Miller said. "Getting a chance to go to Omaha is by far the best thing that has happened to me, even better than the draft. You grow up watching the College World Series on television, and it's such a cool place.

"There are times when you think your chances of getting there are slim to none. When it does happen, it's an unbelievable feeling. I've never been so excited when we had a chance to dog pile after the super regional, knowing that we were going to Omaha."
Miller is 13-2 with a 2.11 ERA and 119 strikeouts. He has pitched into the sixth inning of all but one of his 16 starts. In six regular-season games against nationally ranked opponents, he is 5-1 with a 1.27 ERA.

More on Mr. Hume. As in 2005 Donnie was mostly a midweek starter but got a couple of weekend goes as well. His 2006 numbers were 4.22 3-4 19 appearances with 9 starts…opponents hit .291 and he hit them 7 times…last year was actually a bit better, he appeared in 11 games with two starts, going 1-1 and compiling a 2.37 ERA over 19.0 innings... gave up 20 hits and struck out 13 and walked just five…out of High School DH Lettered two years in baseball, earning all-league honors as a senior at pitcher and as the league’s offensive player of the year… batted .535 in 2004, producing a 1.29 ERA on the mound while producing a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage… went to the same high school as Major Leaguer Jermaine Dye…and now, nobody knows for sure

Back to the past the Paul McAnulty experiment is moving forward. McAnulty, a Padres prospect, had never played third base before farm chief Grady Fuson put him there in March. McAnulty described the ride as bumpy, but Fuson is committed to getting McAnulty spot duty behind Triple-A starter Justin Leone. “This guy doesn't have to go over there and be a Hall of Famer,” Fuson said. “But he has such good instincts and passion for this game, if you can spend some time and give him the little nuances and fundamentals and technique, he just might be OK.”

MIXED DUST—The Titans and Oregon State plane pooled to Omaha yesterday. The Beavers got on first and picked one side of the plane at 7:30 a.m. and fly out of Eugene to pick up Cal State Fullerton in Ontario before heading to Omaha….On the CSUF trip as non players is Vinnie Pestrano, disguised as a color commentator for their inter-net thing and Veteran SID Mel Franks…Folks are still talking about who preserved 49er Jered Weaver’s last Angels effort by reversing and error originally assigned to him by Franks…Kansas City's only run came on a mistake, actually two of them. Neither involved pitching. With a runner on second and two outs, Mark Teahen tapped a little bouncer to Weaver's left. He chased it, but the ball glanced off his glove. Weaver continued running to first, but he never turned around to look for the ball. Kendry Morales' throw hit him in the back and rolled into the Royals dugout, allowing Doug Mientkiewicz to score the only run Kansas City got off Weaver…the first call was an error but our psychic scorer on Miller Road in Newport News, VA (Gordon “Get it Right” Verrell) sent thought waves to Franks…Mel worked the Angel game when Ed Munson's consecutive-games streak as the Angels' official scorer dating to 1980 ended…Franks, (who ended Munson's streak of 2,003 games) took the error away from young Weaver and lowering his amazing ERA a bit more…and that will be the talk of Salt Lake if the LAA of A still send him down…payday notes the following is a list of Major league players by position with salaries of $5 million or more: Pitchers...64; Outfielders...37; First basemen...17; Third basemen...11; Catchers...7; Shortstops...7; Second basemen...6; Designated Jacob Brower, son of Kurt, will stay as an infielder...enjoy the games and remember ABF—DR. DAN


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