For one weekend every year in mid-March, college basketball takes the center stage in the American sports landscape as the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament began last Thursday. The field started at 68 teams, was down to 64 by Thursday morning, and by Sunday night, was down to 16.
Admittedly, college basketball ranks somewhat low on my sports preferences (which did not stop me from watching countless hours of it over the weekend). I grew up a fan of the Missouri Tigers, but ever since the university made the decision to eliminate its men's basketball program (citation needed), it's been more of an attention struggle. But the sheer volume of available sports on TV is a bit intoxicating. And it got me thinking about alma maters of baseball players.
Unlike the NFL, in which virtually all players played college football, and the NBA, where rules now prohibit high school seniors from entering its draft, there are many top MLB players who never played college baseball. But some did, and here is the most recent St. Louis Cardinals player from each of this year's Sweet Sixteen teams.
|Kansas||Sam Freeman (2012-2014)|
|Maryland||Vic Keen (1926-1927)|
|Miami||Jon Jay (2010-2015)|
|Villanova||Steve Huntz (1967, 1969)|
|Oregon||Steve Baker (1983)|
|Duke||Ron Davis (1968)|
|Texas A&M||Michael Wacha (2013-present)|
|Oklahoma||Bobby Witt (1998)|
|North Carolina||Ty Wigginton (2013)|
|Notre Dame||John Axford (2013)|
|Wisconsin||Lance Painter (1997-1999, 2003)|
|Virginia||Mark Reynolds (2015)|
|Iowa State||Jerry McNertney (1971-1972)|
|Gonzaga||Marco Gonzales (2014-present)|
|Syracuse||Mike Barlow (1975)|
Here is what happened at VEB over the weekend.
Cardinals sign Ruben Tejada
On Saturday, the Cardinals signed Ruben Tejada, formerly of the New York Mets. There was initial excitement, as there is when any player signs, as well as some passionate community opinion regarding what this move will mean for Aledmys Diaz (who was sent to AAA on Sunday), but as Craig Edwards noted in his initial analysis of the transaction, it will not likely move the needle too much. Ruben Tejada is a low-cost signing who was available for a reason, but he is a safer bet at shortstop than the existing in-house candidates.
Three more Cardinals' VEB community projection results were unveiled over the weekend. On Friday came new Cardinals starting pitcher Mike Leake. Saturday was left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist. And on Sunday was recently-extended second baseman Kolten Wong.
I wrote about the lack of a true "LOOGY" in this year's bullpen, lil scooter wrote about the likelihood that Michael Wacha will start the Cardinals' 2016 home opener, and the red baron wrote about what Marco Gonzales should provide for the Cardinals in the future.
Week 2 takeaways
Craig Edwards listed three takeaways from the second week of Spring Training. Is Matt Holliday actually going to play first base? Do the Cardinals pitch good? Might the Cardinals pursue Ruben Tejada? Only one way to find out!
Have a wonderful week, VEB!