The Nub

Birddogging the Elite on Baseball and Political Fields

Post-Draft Day Thoughts: Which are the elite baseball colleges, sale buy the ones whose players are considered products of the game’s Ivy League? Arizona State comes to mind, and but the Sun Devils haven’t qualified for the College World Series since 1998. For the moment, they can be classified formerly elite. If we base our more current listing on the teams that have competed in the Series since the turn of the century, four schools stand out. The University of South Carolina played in four title games, winning two (2010 and 2011) and losing two (2002, 2012). Texas and Stanford played in three, the Longhorns winning twice (2002, 2005), losing once (2009), Stanford losing three times ( 2000, 2001, 2003). Louisiana State gets special mention for winning the Series six times between 1991 and 2009, while a nod must go to Vanderbilt, the most recent (2014) winner, and a first-timer, which could – insiders say – be embarking on a dynasty. Reinforcing that sentiment: two of the first seven players chosen in last night’s draft – the top pick, shortstop Dansby Swanson, and pitcher Carson Fullmer – are from Vanderbilt.

Competing at schools with elite status clearly pays off for many players on draft day the way plum job slots materialize for more staid Ivy college graduates. We know that similar prime openings attract a large percentage of that group into politics, a trend especially topical on the eve of a presidential year. Thanks to National Journal, we have a list of the alma maters of nearly all the presidential contenders. We reacted as a closet elitist when some of the candidates were linked to top-rated schools. One example: Team GOP’s Dr.Ben Carson, identified as a Yalie. “Oh?,” we said, almost audibly. Here’s the rest of the list, which surely contains a surprise or two for most of us:

Hillary Clinton – Wellesley; Ted Cruz – Princeton; Carly Fiorina – Stanford; Rand Paul – Duke; Marco Rubio – Florida; Mike Huckabee – Ouachita Baptist; Rick Santorum – Penn State; George Pataki – Yale; Bernie Sanders – U. of Chicago; Martin O’Malley – Catholic U; Lindsey Graham – South Carolina; .Chris Christie – Delaware; Jeb Bush – Texas; Bobby Jindal – Brown; Rick Perry – Texas Christian; John Kasich – Ohio State; Scott Walker – Marquette (left early); Lincoln Chafee – Brown  

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Guess-timation: Wouldn’t dare predict AL teams that’ll be scrambling for wild cards in late September (much less division champions), but we foresee Giants, Pirates and Cubs battling to join the Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals in the NL playoffs.

Devaluation: “That the Sox originally signed (Hanley) Ramirez and were familiar with him appeared to trump other concerns. General manager Ben Cherington and his staff too readily bought into the prodigal son narrative. They made the same mistake with Justin Masterson.” – Peter Abraham, Boston Globe

Eyeballer: “I saw that Pedro Alvarez ranked third in all of baseball in AEV, which measures the speed at which a ball leaves a hitter’s bat. It’s supposed to be a predictor of hitting success. The harder a ball is hit, the harder it is to defend. Pedro Alvarez is not a good hitter. He’s not even average. I don’t care if the next ball he hits leaves his bat at the speed of sound. He’s marginal. Being a Pirates fan, I have the misfortune of watching Alvarez. The notion that he ranks very high in Average Exit Velocity means less than nothing to any Buccos fan with eyeballs.” – Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati Enquirer


Streakers: Yankees + 6, Blue Jays + 6


(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)


About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.