Wedding Bells & Baseball

By: Austin Alexander – August 27, 2016 I don’t go to weddings, hardly ever, basically never. But last weekend I did. It was in Wilmington and the brides name was Kimberly, she was marrying a former player of mine Matt Williams. He is the current pitching coach at UNC-Wilmington, formerly at Spartanburg Methodist and a close friend of mine. First of all it was hot, VERY hot and the powers that be chose for them to do this thing outside, 93 degrees, heat index through the roof! We are accustomed to heat, but typically wearing different attire. Yet baseball person after baseball person filed in to ‘wear it’ because we respected the guy on mound and his bride. I was shedding clothes in the car until gametime, so were a few others, except for hitting guru Doug Angeli in his three-piece suit, also unaware of the outdoor endeavor! Girls like the whole ceremony thing, typically guys endure it. This was awesome for dudes though, strong baseball flavor starting with the ring-bearer bringing the prized diamond in a glove and attached to a baseball. The young man brought it directly to the best man, USC-Lancaster head ball coach Steve Williams. The vows were straight from the perfect directory of a consummate baseball wedding! As the groom tripped over words for the first time in his life and kissed his bride, they couple raced back down the aisle in a tidy 15 minutes and 25 seconds, very close to what the groom/coach predicted. May the creator of this Earth hover over that marriage until ‘death do them part’. That is my prayer at least. Here is the really awesome part of attending this wedding for a baseball guy that drives in though. So many baseball men and families also attended because of the well-calculated date and lull in the baseball calendar. That speaks to the respect we have for the couple on center stage. It also makes it fun for those of us who were not in the lineup. So often when baseball people are bearing down and doing their thing, seldom to they get a chance to chill out together. And almost never do our spouses get a chance to mingle too. Our table ended up being 40 years of Spartanburg Methodist baseball skippers (NJCAA and SMC Hall of Famers Lon Joyce and Tim Wallace) along with Dominican Republic fly-ins Chris Kemp and Jake Koenig (scouts with the Padres), plus another winner Mike Ranson. While Paul Faulk (Nationals scout) was cutting the rug, Mark Scalf and Randy Hood of UNC-W checked in to catch up, so good to see them as well! It was so enjoyable to spend time away from a ballpark with every name above. Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Matt Williams for an evening of dreadful sweating in uncomfortable clothing, but also an opportunity to pull friends together! Weddings are always about the people wearing black and white. But thank you to this awesome couple for including a wide range of baseball folks to leave the diamond and get outside of our comfort zone to spend a Saturday unlike we are typically able to.

When DP Disappears

By: Austin Alexander – July 12, 2016 Two summers ago I wrote a piece for Diamond Prospects entitled “When DP Relaxes”. It received quite a few hits and is brought up often when scrambling around our state during conversations with folks. I do not do Facebook and post only DP-related stuff on Twitter, it has never been my style to talk about myself or family…just not my thing. But I will throw this together for anyone interested at what DP does do during the ‘off-season’. Many of you in the baseball world have closely followed my wife’s battle with cancer, in the next few minutes I will update that situation as well. Since Rita’s diagnosis on September 11, 2015, our family has been through quite a bit, her most of all obviously. After three months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy on February 2 and 36 rounds of radiation, Rita returned to her job as a 6th grade Math teacher in April feeling great. But after a tumultuous handful of months, I wanted to get her and our boys away from everything, and if you know us at all, that means one ballpark after another, that’s how we roll. So I got on the phone with some good friends and baseball contacts, mapping out an eight game, eight day, three stadium MLB extravaganza! From a family standpoint, one thing I am most proud of this go-around versus other years was that we did our DP player rankings and announced the Palmetto Games invite list several days before we left town…which turned out to be very wise. In past years, we would post those things the day before a departure, resulting in a miserable first few days of ‘vacation’. An aside here. We live ten minutes from the Coastal Carolina campus and my oldest son has been a fixture in their dugout since he was four years old so as they won game after game in Omaha, our trip to New York was closing in. On the night that we were packing to go on the ‘vaca’ of a lifetime, CCU advanced to the Championship Series versus Arizona…which made me Public Enemy #1 because when we boarded the plane on Sunday morning, a dozen others were making a connection flight for Omaha while our agenda took us in a different geographical direction. Pretty sure my crew wanted to ditch me at that point and head West. Some vacations are restful, some are spent trying to cram every single thing into every single second, leaving nothing undone. This trip was certainly the latter. Upon arriving in the 2nd largest city in the world, we took the two block walk to Times Square, which is unlike any other place on Earth. If you have ever been there, you understand. And many things are not for children’s eyes or ears. Other parts of a large city become a sad visual of how rampant homelessness is right in the midst of the bright lights and billion dollar industries on every corner. June 27, New York City: Our first full day in NYC was spent touring household-named landmarks by bus and boat, i.e. Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and the Rockefeller Center to name a few. Ground Zero (above) is where we spent the most time as a tourist. If you ever have an opportunity to visit that area and walk the museum, please do so. Most adults reading this recall that fateful day, enough said. For my sons, this visit was a history lesson. That night we rushed back to the hotel to watch Coastal in their Monday night opener, a 3-0 loss and facing elimination again. June 28-29, Yankee Stadium: Two nights in baseball’s cathedral named Yankee Stadium! After going through the hallowed grounds named Monument Park, a visit to the Yankee Museum was really cool and far different than any other club could put together in rivaling it. Bottom line, Yankees history is baseball history, pretty fun stuff for one baseball dork, yours truly! The game featured Sabathia vs Hamels, fairly solid matchup of southpaws. Tuesday was a Chanticleer win, series tied 1-1. Wednesday appeared to be working out perfectly for us with rain delays in Omaha, only to rush to the subway and run back to the hotel just in time to learn that the title game had been postponed to Thursday at 1:00. Fortunately we had just seen the home team overcome a 4-run deficit in the 9th inning and win on a walk-off homer. Meanwhile, my 6-year old was in tears because Aroldis Chapman had been warming up for the 10th, the dinger kept ‘the hard pitcher’ from entering the game. June 30, Citi Field: Game 3 of the College World Series curtailed some of our city plans that day, 4:15 BP at Citi Field would create a dilemma for us too. So what we did was watch the first six CCU/Arizona innings on TV, then hit the subway after GK Young’s jack…we had to complete our trek to Queens in time so we could witness the potential celebration! The plan worked and we arrived at the Mets Stadium in the 9th inning. With four of us peering into two phones, our reactions were most odd to the others standing around with no knowledge or interest in the game that meant a ton to us! As things got interesting (left, bow & arrow on the pivotal 3-2 count) in Omaha leading up to the final pitch, when the 27th out was recorded and a dog pile ensued there, we had to look like the four craziest rednecks to 100 or so Mets fans also waiting to get in for batting practice as we celebrated another NCAA title in our backyard! CJ Edwards prepped at Mid-Carolina, Class of 2011, and is presently a rising star in the Cubs bullpen. He had been kind enough to get us passes to get on the field during the pre-game, it was great to catch …

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MLB Draft Breakdown

By: Austin Alexander – June 9-11, 2016   In a year that professional scouts will admit there was far less draftable prep talent in South Carolina than recent years, only three young men managed to have their names called over the three-day event… but one in the first four rounds for the sixth straight year!   The more you peer into this year’s draft, the event itself took on a very different look due to drastic changes within the rules pertaining to signing players and by reducing the draft by ten rounds over past seasons, thus affecting who and how many in-state guys were selected.   The longer you follow the draft, the more you think you understand it. Just the opposite is true, however! Any baseball sage will tell you it is really a crapshoot.   Many variables come into play when you sit back and look at the picks, the rounds they fell in and the names that get passed over.   One term people must understand is “signability”. Especially near the top of the draft.   In many cases, most of the players selected in the first 4-7 Rounds are similar in ability. Maybe in the Top 15 Rounds? Conventional wisdom tells you that the first pick in the draft must be the best player and that the last pick is the 1,530th best player in the country. Not so. A player’s signability can vault him near the top of the board; low signability can force that player to fall through the draft entirely.   Scouts often spend more time researching a player’s signability than they do evaluating their talent. We’ve all heard of clubs that take a kid in the top two rounds and cannot come to terms with him. Sometimes it is because the area scout has not done his due research or he would have known better than to select that player that high in the draft. But it has also happened before that a player and his family or advisor was not truthful as to their dollar figure. Sometimes a player’s “advisor” or his known desire to attend school will force his draft stock to fall, though he may be a first rounder ability-wise.   A couple of examples:   In 2006, Florida University first baseman Matt LaPorta fell to the 15th round and 433rd pick of the draft. It was believed LaPorta was a sure-fire first-rounder but in the days before the draft he hired agent Scott Boras to represent him. Boras’ reputation with big-leaguers is well-earned as he has some of the top clients in the game. But, some big league organizations had begun a trend, however, of steering away from his players in recent drafts to avert expensive, drawn-out negotiations.   As high school seniors, South Carolina products Justin Smoak and Reese Havens were projected to go high in the draft. In the moments leading up to early picks for the Boston Red Sox, both were contacted once more in an attempt to agree to terms before they were selected. Both declined lucrative deals citing that their intention was to play college baseball. As a result, Smoak fell to the 16th round, Havens to the 29th. Both were later selected in 1st Round as college juniors out of USC.   In each case, though for opposite reasons, these players had a “low signability” tag, thus falling to lower rounds.   Clubs have until midnight of July 13th (up from August 16 in 2011) to agree to terms with a draft pick. Some of the early rounders will forego the drama and sign quickly so they can begin their journey to the big leagues. Others will drag it out until the deadline in an attempt to drain every penny out of a club. Many players chosen will continue to be under the watchful eye of the organization that selected them in case they make a significant jump during the summer, in which the club may, then, offer a contract or “up the ante” in an attempt to sign the player.   Draft picks are made largely on a players present “tools” and how he “projects” down the road. Many selections will turn the heads of baseball people. More selections will blow the mind of casual fans because the layman only sees black or white, ie. base hit versus out, win versus loss.   Understand, just because a pitcher strikes out Thomas Jones (left) does not automatically vault that arm to prospect status. If a good high school pitcher beats Belton Honea-Path High School with Blake Holliday on the mound, it does not mean he will see his name on a draft board. When a “punching judy” flairs one into the outfield off of Sawyer Bridges, that does not guarentee that he will even play past high school. If a fast runner steals two bases off of Ryan Gold, it does not necessarily mean he has a future in professional baseball! See where I am going with this? Scouting is not a science. Players do get over-scouted and some do get over-looked. By in large, however, these guys who scout for a living are good at what they do. VERY good, in fact! They run up tens of thousands of miles riding through the countryside away from their families looking for the next Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout. Sure, they’ll miss on guys from time to time but they are still smarter than most of us and their eyes keener than you can imagine. Did they find the next MLB All-Star in our state in 2016? Only time will tell. Below we have broken down the 2016 Draft: *Note: Players accounted for either played high school or college baseball in South Carolina this spring. Selected Day 1 (1-2 Rd) Day 2 (3-10 Rds) Day 3 (11-40 Rds) Total SC Players 1  9 27 39 College players 1 8  27 36 HS players 0  1  2  3  Pitchers 0  3 16 19  Catchers 1 0 4  5 Infielders 0  …

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MLB Draft Preview: 2016

Compiled By: DP Staff – June 7, 2016 The workouts have concluded, the notes have been made, scouting miles have been logged and final organizational meetings have been had… and now it’s finally draft time! The First Round begins on Thursday, June 9 on the MLB Network. As we mosey around South Carolina throughout the calendar, we are often asked to make predictions on the upcoming draft, who will be taken, which round will they go in, who is most signable, etc. We’ve asked a few questions of our own to some ‘bigwigs’ and threw in our two cents as well. But this year is a different animal altogether… Check out the drastically new draft rules from year’s past: 2014 Draft / Slotted Signing Bonus 2016 Draft Tracker The entire process has always been a crapshoot, even for those making the final decisions so we aren’t going to take a stab at which round, but below is what we did come up with regards to who has a chance to be drafted this week. Admittedly, every single scout that we spoke with said we would learn alot from this draft to be a little more bold with our prognostication in future years. Our crystal ball comes with far less confidence than past years, with no sure thing, but here it is: -Palmetto State Players Receiving Pro Interest this Spring-  Name  High School  Position  Signed  DP’s $.02  Brandon Banks  Rock Hill  C  Limestone  Possible  Grant Bodison  Mauldin  SS  South Carolina  Possible  Sawyer Bridges  Summerville  RHP  South Carolina  Possible  Josh Gregory  Gaffney  LHP/OF  South Carolina  Possible  Owen Griffith  South Aiken  RHP  Clemson  Possible  Josh Hernandez  AC Flora  C/RHP  UNC-Wilmington  Possible  Blake Holliday  Belton-Honea Path  RHP  Clemson  Possible  Ryne Huggins  Newberry  LHP  Clemson  Possible  Colby Lee  Latta  RHP  South Carolina  Probable  *Thomas Jones  Laurens  OF  Vanderbilt  Definite  *Malcolm Van Buren  Hanahan  RHP  NC State  Possible Key: Definite, Probable, Possible {chances to be drafted} -Others Receiving Pro Interest-  Name  High School  Position  Signed  Will Abbott  Camden  RHP  Citadel  Gabe Austin  Ashley Ridge  C/RHP  C of C  Rashad Byrd  North Augusta  OF  Geogia Southern (FB)  Drake Durham  Nation Ford  LHP  Wichita St.  *Ryan Gold  Carolina Forest  C  Coastal Carolina  Jared Firmstone  Greenville  C/OF  Citadel  Ian Foggo  Hilton Head  RHP  Citadel  Jakob Frishmuth  Carolina Forest  RHP  C of C  Jacob Hennessey  Dorman  LHP  Clemson  Kris Kuhn  Pinewood Prep  RHP  C of C  Ryan McDonald  West Ashley  RHP  West Virginia  Eric Miles  Buford  RHP  Presbyterian  Dax Roper  BHP  C  Coastal Carolina  TJ Shook  Dutch Fork  RHP  South Carolina  Brandon Tillmon  River Bluff  OF  Liberty *Selected in 2016 Draft

The State of DP Address

By: Austin Alexander – February 8, 2016 As Diamond Prospects’ embarks upon our 11th prep baseball year, and as the Holiday Season has now closed, a 2016 campaign awaits us! The purpose of this 2nd annual The State of DP Address is aimed to accomplish a handful of things, mostly to inform our loyal viewers and pass out a few kudos as well. DP came into inception a few moons ago, January 2006 to be exact! All the way back then, we burst onto the scene and coaches, players and parents everywhere were thankful…all of a sudden SC high school baseball was getting attention…noticed and scouting breakdown was being giving to on-field accomplishments away from the usual local publications. This is where it becomes personal. Awesome contacts and great friends helped DP vault into a new level! Most reading this now will never understand. Essentially there was a time when prep baseball coverage was minimal…there was a time that parental emails were thankful in that someone rolled through their facility… For what it is worth, many of our emails these days surround why we did not see a given team a half dozen times! Ten spring seasons ago when we burst onto the scene, folks were so pleased to have us at their game and excited about this new DP thing… Players and most parents now have never known a time before DP, and while we have raised the expectation levels of folks, coaches and scouts remember a time before Diamond Prospects existed. Through the work of an awesome staff, God’s blessing of our goals and plenty of help along the way, it’s very satisfying from my view to know that we have positively affected the landscape of high school baseball and recruiting in this state. We firmly believe that baseball in our state has been advanced since 2006 through the work of so many people that helped us do our job! Our staff of very credible baseball people are deployed each spring, summer and fall to beat the bushes, hunt and fish for prospects. I remain so blessed and our state is so fortunate that we have been able to assemble such a formidable group of scouts to help push our great game of baseball forward. As the years have moved along, several new events were added through the great ideas of many different people. Our 10th Pro Day was a couple of weeks ago and quickly became a kick-off of the high school baseball season for players, but also the scores of pro scouts that flock to Columbia each January to get an early peak at the top prospects across South Carolina. In the previous nine Pro Day’s, over 100 participants have gone on to play professional baseball…which explains why all 30 MLB clubs are represented most winters, including more than 100 total scouts the past three years! Pro Day has become a DP staff favorite over the years with all of the high rollers present to see a grouping of prospects that possess tools-galore. The Palmetto Games is an event that has been the most identifyable that we host. It has become the all-star game in our state for the top underclassmen hailing from every corner of South Carolina. Ray Tanner was instrumental in getting this marquee weekend off the ground back in 2008 and we have never looked back. USC has been our gracious venue each summer for scouts and college coaches to lock in on 120 players, both committed and uncommitted, as premier prospects go toe-to-toe with the best-of-the-best that the Palmetto State has to offer. Our first South Atlantic Border Battle was in 2009 at The College of Charleston, what a decorated cast of talent graced the diamond that year and every year since! The Border Battle pits the cream of the crop from the junior an senior classes as our Sandlappers square-off each fall against the top guys from North Carolina, Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. The alumni list from this event is deep with household names in the baseball world from the various states as we have moved the site each year between various major colleges venues and pro stadiums. In 2012, Major League Baseball partnered us and our allies to suit the players up in MLB uniforms and to be coached by professional scouts and instructors. Pro baseball’s influence at the Border Battle really did help evolve a very good event into one of the best showcase weekends in the country. Our eighth DP Developmental Fall League was another hit in 2015 as 21 teams covered the Upstate League. Plans include other regional leagues in 2016 to provide an affordable, competitive weekday opportunity to gain time on the field without burning out pitchers, also without taking away from those still playing travel ball on the weekends. The Fall League has also proven to be a weekday recruiting option for many colleges during the past eight seasons. Over the years, our various teams have been played at five minor league stadiums and on ten different Division I campuses, in addition to dozens of high school fields. DP’s “open showcases” are our best avenue to give every player in our state a legit opportunity to be evaluated and play past high school. Let’s face it, not every player has an equal chance to move on; often because of geographical location, size of school, multiple sports…it’s a long list as to why kids can fall through the cracks. Our ‘open showcases’ are filled each session with guys who get their applications in as one of the first 150 and to receive their shot in front of decision-makers! There are so many other aspects of Diamond Prospects that deserve mention but I will digress here and just invite viewers to peruse the website to see all the aspects of the game that we dabble in statewide. It is a great time to be involved in high school baseball right now, DP is humbled and honored …

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Pro Day Memories: Taylor Black

By: Taylor Black – December 28, 2016 The Diamond Prospects is having its 11th annual Pro Day. What an opportunity for the cream of South Carolina’s crop to lace up and showcase their abilities in front of pro scouts. But with that opportunity comes responsibility to perform. You are in the spotlight, in front of people evaluating your talents and judging your abilities. This adds some pressure and emotion to the game, something a lot of high school players aren’t acquainted with – something that I wasn’t used to at the time. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the very first Diamond Prospects Pro Day. It was a brisk day in January at Heathwood Hall in Columbia. I was anxious, nervous, and putting added pressure on myself the more I thought about it. I hadn’t really done this before, especially on this level. I had already signed my NLI in the fall, but I was just discovering the player that I knew I could become. I had always wanted to play professional baseball, and this was my chance to show them that I was worthy. I was a sub-7.0 runner and could put the barrel on the ball, but I wasn’t going to wow you with homeruns in batting practice. I prided myself in my glove and that’s what I was going to show off. I remember certain things like they were yesterday. The first thing was being disappointed in my 60 time. It was a cold morning, and it was a slow track. The grass was damp and nobody was putting up the times they wanted. We lined up and I dusted my adversary, but heard the scout say 7.1. This was disappointing but on to the part of the day that I was looking forward to, Defense. I waited my turn at shortstop and watched guys take their five ground balls. I knew that I was prepared for this. I felt smooth on every ground ball. My feet worked, my hands were good, and I was making accurate throws to first base. The only hiccup I had was throwing the first baseman a short-hop on the slow roller, but he made the pick look easy. The last session of the workout was batting practice. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a little cold and the wind was blowing in. I remember the guy throwing BP had a nasty sidearm sinker. It was a tough day for BP, but I did my best to barrel balls up around the field. This was the first time I had really seen high school players with legit power. There were a handful of guys driving the ball out of the park with ease. Overall, I would say that I did pretty well. I didn’t knock it out of the park, but I definitely didn’t embarrass myself. It’s interesting now to look back and think about different personalities handling the spotlight. Some guys let the nerves get to them, letting each missed ground ball or bad swing carry over to the next. Others played careless or extremely confident and didn’t let anything bother them. If I could give any advice, it would be to go enjoy the opportunity. No matter how many nerves you have, or how much pressure you think is there, go have fun. You’re playing baseball, a game that you have played the majority of your life. This is a tough game with a lot of failure, so trust your abilities and don’t try to do too much. The scouts are there to rate your tools and evaluate what you can and can’t do on the baseball field. If you have abilities, they will see them. You have been invited to Pro Day for a reason, now go and showcase your reason. Remember, all it takes is one scout to like you. About Taylor Black: Black was a 2007 graduate of Easley High School. He was a freshman All-American at Charleston Southern before playing his sophomore year at Spartanburg Methodist. From there he was drafted twice as a shortstop out of the University of Kentucky, eventually signing with the Philadelphia Phillies and enjoying a three year pro career. After that, he spent one season as a scout for Diamond Prospects before taking an assistant coach job at NC State, where he coached for three years. He now attends Pro Day as the area scout for the Detroit Tigers!

Diamond Notes: “Primetime” Playoff Games

Wake up Manfred because we can’t By: Austin Alexander-October 11, 2016 (updated from 10/17/07)   The date was October 27, it was a Sunday and the year was 1986. I was an 11-year old baseball fan and on this night, either the New York Mets or the Boston Red Sox would be crowned the new World Series champion. Ron Darling versus Bruce Hurst, high drama in the Big Apple. Just a day earlier, Mookie Wilson rolled a routine groundball between the wickets of Boston’s Bill Buckner to cap an improbable comeback in Game 6 to force the winner-take-all finale.   After Boston threw up three runs in the top of the second, New York’s Darryl Strawberry strode to the plate when the clock struck 9:00…my bedtime!   My parents made no exceptions and I was forced to go to bed because I had school the next day. Ever since that night, I’ve told my folks how that was the worst thing they ever did to me and that I’d never forgive them.   That is, until I realized it was not my parents’ fault, it was Major League Baseball’s error.   Major League Baseball had two East Coast teams playing in a Game 7 and scheduled the first pitch at 8:30 p.m. Unfortunately baseball continues to make the same mistake more than 30 years later as a new generation of baseball fans have to experience monumental moments in highlight reels. These post-season games ending after midnight don’t even make the newspaper the next day!   Fast forward to last night as the NLDS rolled on Monday night. How many of you saw the San Francisco walk it off live? According to the ratings, very few people saw the game at all on an obscure channel. I have two diehard Cubs and baseball junkees aged 10 and 6 that cashed out before the game really got interesting in the 8th, they even took naps in hopes of seeing their heroes clinch…to no avail. Fortunately they saw Big Papi’s final at bat earlier, but only because that one concluded at a resonable hour.   Bottom line, even the biggest baseball fan has school on weekdays or a job they have to be present at the next day and a 9:38 on EST start time only benefits the Left Coast. Over here on this side of the Mississippi River, baseball is quickly becoming folklore more than reality to young people, actually for all of us.   I’ve heard multiple interviews recently with our commissioner Rob Manfred on this topic. He claims that countless hours and studies point to the present format as being the best way. And I agree…if you live in California. If everything is driven by the almighty dollar, and it is, then it would make sense to cater to the largest baseball markets, most of which are on our side of the country.   You can’t please everyone, period. It just stands to reason that if you can’t please everyone, it would be better for folks on the West Coast to miss the first three innings while they drive home from work than to have the most populated region to miss the final three innings because they are asleep!   Afterall, how many unforgettable images happened in the top of the second?   I can fondly remember running a radio wire through my jacket sleeve during Math class to stay on track with the 2:00 p.m. playoff start, then rushing home to see the bottom of the ninth. At times you really hated missing the first few frames but at least we saw the big hit, the big pitch, the big ending.   With salaries escalating to new heights, revenue concerns will always surround our game. Right now, baseball is enjoying its rebirth at the gate as attendance records are broken annually.   BUT, at some point the game is going to suffer. Interest at the Little League level has already dropped off. Television ratings continue to spiral downward. Just because baseball is experiencing a financial windfall and stadium’s across America are jammed, I’d argue that our sport is in danger of running kids toward the soccer fields. Major League Baseball has created countless programs to promote the game at younger levels, it is my belief that a child’s exposure to baseball stands to be MLB’s greatest gift toward interest in playing it. The NFL has gotten on board to a degree, moving their Sunday and Monday night contests up 30 minutes from the traditional 9:00 slot, even they recognize that “primetime” does not exist past midnight.   So Mr. Commissioner, please wake up because we can’t pull ourselves out of bed to fully appreciate some legendary feats! Figure it out somehow but don’t put us to sleep every October night in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game.   There has to be a better way…