This week’s trip was a dual purpose jaunt to the “Pittsburgh of the South” – Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham earned that moniker as the top steel city south of the Mason-Dixon Line, home of the mighty Sloss Steel Works. Funny thing is, Jonathan, who’s here with me, lives in the Pittsburgh of the North… that’d be, um, Pittsburgh.
The dual purposes of our trip? First and foremost is the SEC Tournament to put together a feature on the conference which provided last year’s top pick (David Price) and has a guy who is probably going to go in the top 2 or 3 this year (Pedro Alvarez – also a Vanderbilt guy). The other purpose was to do something on Jacksonville pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Unfortunately (for us, but definitely not for him), it looks like Mr. Kershaw will be making his next appearance in a Dodgers’ game, so we’ll adjust our target accordingly.
The SEC is near and dear to my heart as an Auburn alum. Alas, the Tigers were not good enough to make the tourney either last year (when we were here to do a feature on Price – among others) or this year. Hope springs eternal, though. I’d be curious to see what the turnout would be like were Auburn to make an appearance. Throngs of Alabama fans show up (Tuscaloosa’s less than an hour away) and though Auburn’s farther away, I’m sure a good crowd would show up in blue & orange to yell “War Eagle!” and root the boys on. My days down on the Plains were just after the glory days of Bo Jackson, Gregg Olson and Frank Thomas. Seems like it was a long time ago (and I guess it was).
Obviously, the baseball’s pretty darn good in the Southeastern Conference. They have the backs of the dugouts pasted with a sign reading “The Best College Baseball in the Country” – a sentiment that’d definitely be opposed by a couple of other conferences’ adherents. Here at Regions Park though, you’d be hard pressed to find a dissenting vote.
As for Alvarez, he hit a bomb yesterday in Vandy’s win over South Carolina, then made a nice defensive play and almost started a triple play today against Ole Miss, showing he can play both sides of the ball. So yeah; he’s the goods and will make whichever club drafts him on June 5th very happy indeed.
I’ll have more on the action here at Regions Park soon.