By: Austin Alexander – November 7-8, 2020
When you boast of a 15th Annual anything, typically it's a quick copy/paste from the year before and you just hope for good weather! But what has been typical about 2020? Precisely nothing for any of us, this event in the month leading up to it was no different. Fortunately, we were able to hold onto the initial dates of the showcase and eventually found the perfect partner for a site to put these boys on a stage – The Columbia Blowfish and Lexington Rec! Before and during, owner Bill Shanahan and director Tommy Frazier were phenomenal at assisting DP!
Unseasonably warm temperatures, clear skies and a beautiful ballpark not only greeted us but graced our attendance all the way through the finish line. Very seldom a Diamond Prospects event begin and end without the threat of inclement weather but that was not the case this time, which was vital to service the largest player turnout in 15 years. What’s ironic is that we had been turning away players for five weeks, so our task was monumental to execute our gameplan. But we did by finishing a whirlwind of a Day 1 25 minutes early. Sunday would follow suit but narrowly missing our 6:00 PM target by six minutes. A tremendous effort by many were instrumental in helping us win the weekend!
Now let’s talk baseball! Per usual, so many new names emerged as they took advantage of available green grass, a commodity in 2020! Historically, our staff that sees a ton of baseball year around (and we have seen our share since the pandemic bans were lifted) but we are still normally unfamiliar with most of the 'open' roster, even more so this year because so much of the spring was lost to identify the next wave of guys. So many prospects landed on the radar and many punched Palmetto Games tickets over the two days, the beauty of our fall showcase!
USC-Salkehatchie assistant coach DJ Tyler “Fletchy Fletch” Fletcher rang out supreme tunes over the PA for two days as players were paraded through 60's, a defensive workout, batting practice and closing with bullpens before the 'games' opened. In all we had two sessions and a 10.5 inning contest on Saturday, the showcase concluded with three 10 inning match-ups on Day 2.
The theme of this showcase was of all of the very young uncommitted talent not known to us when we all arrived on Day 1. (pictured, Dutch Fork 2024 RHP Hunter Phipps) The purpose of our events is to set the stage for up-and-coming prospects just needing to be ‘found’. Our staff could not recall a previous summer or fall showcase that provided us with more exciting new talent than this one.
Below we will chronicle what occurred between the lines over the 36 hours at Blowfish Stadium...the future remains so bright in the Palmetto State, read our take on this summer showcase in the coming days!
Senior Note of the Day: Longtime MLB Bureau guru and present NY Mets scout Gary Randall kept his DP streak alive in attending ALL of our 64 events over the past 15 years, tip of the cap to our favorite tall friend and well-respected scout. "GR", as he is affectionately known, also completed his fifth year doing a stellar job as commissioner of our DP Fall League in the Greater Rock Hill area. Sir, we appreciate your continued support of what we do!
Foul Ball Frenzy…Ball-Hawking 101: Many of you know Trey Dyson for his exploits as a former Gamecock hitting machine, perhaps as a previous assistant at Blythewood or presently a coach at North Greenville. But on Sunday, amid doing evaluations of on-field talent, he proved to be a rabid foul ball chaser. Throughout the day he was recruiting parents and young children to assist him in his mission while scouring the parking lot himself to return baseball’s to DP. His efforts were unsolicited but certainly appreciated as he safely got nearly a bucket full of baseballs back into game action. Outstanding job Coach Dyson! (pictured, his proudest find)
His Pleasure: Chick-fil-A franchise owner Buzzy Myers not only was Coach Dyson’s first foul ball verbal commitment, the friend of DP also supplied lunch on Saturday for our staff and scouts by delivering an ample amount of warm chicken sandwiches to the dugout in between sessions. It is ‘my pleasure’ to say thank you sir for the kind gesture and the never-can-go-wrong services of Chick-fil-A.
DP’s First Family Fist Bump: Normally I thank everyone under the sun for a job well-done, except for the faces people see first when entering the ballpark. My wife, father and two sons were there Saturday at 6:30 AM until 7:00 PM loading/unloading, running errands and filling in the blanks of a full day. And then my oldest son actually participated in the 2nd session and night game. This crew has a strong attendance record at DP events and my sons have grown up attending/working them. So, thanks to my awesome fam for so many things, but on this occasion your support of DP!
Crisis Averted: We always like to have mug shots of the participants for future use, for example verbal commit announcements or if they stand out at a game we attend. Well, we had a memory card snafu but another valuable member of our staff for many years, Sam “Chief” Cheatham, came through in the clutch. He quickly ran to a local CVS, obtained another card to insert (eventually figured out how to insert it) and still managed to get the footage we needed. Chief, tip of the cap from yours truly!