As the incredibly irritating theme park song says, it's a small world after all. Just three weeks ago, I was taking in an Orioles game from MASN's private suite when I noticed that Al Bumbry and his son had dropped by. I spoke briefly to "the Bee", but I didn't realize that I was also in the presence of a future Oriole. Last week, the Birds drafted Steven Bumbry with their 12th-round pick. This year, Steve led Virginia Tech with 10 home runs and batted .283 while patrolling the outfield. It's great to see a name from the team's past being given the opportunity to help the team in the coming years.
Bumbry wasn't the only familiar name to be drafted. The O's used their 31st-round pick on Mike Flacco, whose older brother Joe just quarterbacked the Ravens to the AFC Championship game in his rookie season. Mike's a long shot, as you might surmise from his late selection; he returned to baseball after a football-related back injury shelved him for three years and played at a comparatively low level of competition (junior college). Still, a .399 average, 14 HR and 51 RBI in 46 games is impressive after being away from the game for so long. It creates goodwill with the football-crazed local fans and, as Mike himself suggested, ensures Joe's Orioles fandom for the next few years. Heck, if Mike Flacco ever makes it to Camden Yards, it'll be a great story.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the White Sox's 45th-round selection, left fielder Harold Baines, Jr. The son of the former three-time Orioles designated hitter (also named Harold Baines...what a coincidence!) hit .349 in his collegiate career at McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland), and became the first Green Terror player to ever be drafted. I'm curious to hear what Harold's biggest fan Steve has to say about this pick. Ball's in your court, buddy.