OMAHA–Watching Cal State Fullerton’s Clark Hardman lay out to make a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the fifth today–the play of the CWS in my mind until Josh Fellhauer’s throw in the 13th–it occurred to me just how much I enjoy watching Hardman play. Of course, the more I watch his UC Irvine counterpart in center field, Ollie Linton, the more I appreciate his smooth, fluid actions, his superb range and his impeccable instincts. I also enjoy his Mortal Kombat-style handshakes and all-around lovable goofiness.
Anyway, I joked to John Manuel that Hardman and Linton would have quite a battle for a spot on the All-Fitt team, and he suggested the team would make a nice blog post. So I now present to you the first ever All-Fitt team, composed of players I have most enjoyed watching and/or talking to in 2007:
C: Mitch Canham, Oregon State
Great quote, great story of overcoming personal tragedy, great rapper, great leadership skills, great improvement since arriving in Corvallis.
1B: Yonder Alonso, Miami
His name is really fun to say, especially if you impersonate Yankees broadcaster John Sterling when you say it. And he’s a heck of a hitter.
2B: Eric Sogard, Arizona State
He might be the best all-around baseball player in America. He does it all, he just does it quietly.
SS: Dale Mollenhauer, East Carolina
A classic grinder type who makes all the plays at shortstop and always seems to execute offensively.
3B: Chris Dominguez, Louisville
He hits the ball really, really far. That’s just fun to watch, even as much as I like small ball.
LF: David Sappelt, Coastal Carolina
Another hard-nosed, good all-around player who packs power into a smaller frame.
CF: Ollie Linton, UC Irvine
I love little fast guys, and I enjoy watching him play a shallow center field and sprint backwards for balls over his head. He just makes it look easy.
RF: Clark Hardman, Cal State Fullerton
He’s one of the game’s best center fielders, but I’m putting him in right because of his strong arm. He always has quality at-bats and has a knack for timely hits.
DH: Josh Horton, North Carolina
He has more fun playing the game than any player I can think of, and I love watching him spray line drives to all fields. Also a fun, easy-going guy off the field, and a great quote to boot.
UT: Danny Payne, Georgia Tech
Perhaps my favorite player in the nation. He packs strength, speed and grit into a compact frame, and I love watching him sprint from center field to the bullpen and start throwing warmup pitches as hard as he can.
SP: David Price, Vanderbilt
The nation’s best pitcher is also one of the very best teammates you’ll find anywhere. On the mound, he’s overpowering and tough at the same time.
SP: Josh Satow, Arizona State
The little lefty has put up All-America-caliber numbers without overpowering stuff. You might have noticed, I like players who stand eye-to-eye with me. He’s also a thoughtful, well-spoken quote.
SP: Scott Gorgen, UC Irvine
A legitimate big-game pitcher who has been at his best when it matters most. And he’s a workhorse.
SP: Robert Woodard, North Carolina
A true thinking-man’s pitcher who was a state chess champion in middle school. He could think a dozen moves ahead on the chess board, and he does the same on the mound.
RP: Corey Gearrin, Mercer
One of the best quotes I have come across this year and a great rags-to-riches story.
Darwin Barney, Oregon State
Cody Cipriano, UC Irvine
Jeffrey Rea, Mississippi State
Andrew Carignan, North Carolina
Chris Cates, Louisville
Jordan Abruzzo, San Diego
Josh Romanski, San Diego
David Macias, Vanderbilt
Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt
Coach: George Horton, Cal State Fullerton
I have always enjoyed his perfect blend of subtle humor and insight, and it is clear that he cares about his players an incredible amount. His remarks about protege and UC Irvine coach Dave Serrano in today’s postgame media conference locked up his spot as coach of the All-Fitt team.
“I told him that I loved him, he told me that he loved me . . .” Horton said, and then he choked up. When he gathered himself, he finished, “And I do. I told him to win the whole tournament.”
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog