2012 Panini USA Baseball Marco Gonzales Jersey/Autograph
I seriously have no insight on Marco Gonzales and am wondering how is going to fair in the minors on his trip up to the majors after being selected by the Cardinals as the nineteenth pick of the 2013 amateur draft. I live ten minutes from the USA Baseball complex in Cary, North Carolina and spend a little bit of time each summer checking out the team. There are plenty of good college players that come through town and plenty of future MLB talent on display on the diamond. Now, I see that Gonzales has a USA Baseball uniform on the card, but I just do not know anything about him. Seriously, was he on the team? Apparently, he pitched in a few tournaments overseas that I missed. In particular, there was one in the Netherlands, sorry I didn't fly in, where he won the MVP award.
The Cardinals have certainly earned the trust of their fans in recent years with their excellent minor league system and home grown talent, so I am not sure if I should really worry about this selection. Seriously, Gonzales was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top college baseball player, and also won the player of the year in the West Coast Conference. I am going to go ahead and chalk my lack of Gonzales knowledge up to the infamous "East Coast Bias". If he played in a different time zone, there's only one that counts, then I would have been all over Gonzales two years ago....
Living here in the middle of Tobacco Road I hear plenty about all of the great ACC schools and I even attended an ACC school. Carolina goes to the College World Series all the time, Georgia Tech sent Matt Wieters, V-Tek, and Nomar to the majors, FSU is always in the Top 10. That's some excellence right there. The SEC is just to our south and they have plenty of good baseball teams. The other Carolina is great, Florida, LSU, etc, etc. College baseball is great here in the south. Heck, look at the roster of the USA Baseball. Of the fifteen players currently scheduled to appear on this summers squad, ten of them are from ACC or SEC schools (I am counting Louisville and their hideous unis).
So, how good are the ACC and SEC schools compared to the rest of the NCAA field? Let's look at the College World Series winners over the last thirty years. The SEC has won a total of 9 championships: A pair for South Carolina, six for LSU, and one for Georgia. The PAC-10, or PAC12 is second with seven. The ACC? Zero. Sure, Miami has won a bunch of titles, but they won all of them as a member of the Big East. Not the ACC. In fact, the last time that the ACC won a national championship in baseball was 1955 when Wake Forest defeated Western Michigan. Honestly, as much as it pain me to say it: the ACC in baseball talks like it's basketball season, but plays like it's football season. Enjoy the card.