The Major League Baseball draft starts today. Normally I would only pay a passing interest to this, I would take note of whoever the Red Sox drafted with their highest pick, guys like Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Murphy and Jon Lester. However, this year I might end up watching every single round.
Irish Baseball has been building itself up for a decade now, the team was formed in 1996 and it has grown quickly into one of the better squads in European Baseball in that time. We have had exciting games and pivotal moments in that decade however they all could take a back seat to what could happen with this 2007 MLB draft.
Irish pitcher and star Brendan Bergerson is eligible for this draft and has a chance of being selected. His father, Michael, alerted me to the possibility of Brendan being drafted this weekend past. He wrote saying;
''Hey Cormac, Stay tuned for the MLB Draft next week as Brendan may be a "sleeper" pick for a team looking for some solid left handed pitching.....which one isn't ? Hoping for some Irish luck and history in the making.''
While starring for his college, West Virginia, Brendan has also played on two Irish Teams to date. He played in the 2004 European Championships in Regensberg, Germany, and also in the 2006 version in Belgium. Ireland won the bronze in 2004 and the silver in 2006 and Brendan was a major part of this on both occasions. In 2004 he set the tone for Ireland for the entire tournament when he absolutely dominated Finland in Ireland's 25-5 opening day win.
Brendan set his place in Irish baseball history with a magnificent display against hosts and favoured Belgium in the 2006 tournament. Ireland won the semi final 4-1 behind Brendan's inspirational complete game effort against one of the best European baseball sides, on their own turf too!
Brendan's college stats are excellent, and his record with the Irish team is also superb. However, his real value doesn't appear in statistics or box scores. He has several other factors going for him that combine to make him what he is, an excellent pitcher.
First of all, obviously, he is an imposing, hard throwing lefty. That sentence alone should have scouts drooling over the prospect of nabbing Bren under the noses of other teams. He also has a tremendous grasp of the game of baseball. On top of those factors, Brendan is an extremely competitive player. A winner. He battles hard on the mound. Against Belgium in that excellent start he gave 100% to his team and was simply not going to be beaten. On top of all of the above, he is an excellent team-mate.
When Brendan first came to train with the Irish team before the 2004 European Championships in Germany, he came to his first training session one evening at the O'Malley baseball field in Corcaigh Park. It was a midweek session and people were late, held back by work and the nightmare that is Dublin traffic. I don't know what he must have though initially of what could have seemed like a pretty rag tag set up at the time.
The session started and the pitchers were sent to run sprints. Brendan immediately led the way. He didn't boss anyone around or anything, he led by example. He may run like Chewbacca but he still ran, and hard too. The rest of us pitchers definitely took note, here was a D1 College pitcher who had just arrived in Ireland and he was willing to run, sweat and run some more with the rest of us scrubs.
The 2007 MLB draft is scheduled to be held on June 7 and June 8, 2007. The first day session of the draft, including the first 25 rounds, is scheduled to be broadcast "live" from Orlando, Florida, on television for the first time in the United States, on ESPN2 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm Eastern Daylight Time (1800 - 2200 UTC). This will be 7pm Irish time and to follow the draft over here or elsewhere in Europe you will have to do so online, I would suggest mlb.com.
Good luck Brendan.
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