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MLB Opening Day is Here!

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What Does That Say About Football and What Tiger Alum are Geared up to Play?

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Writing about Clemson sports as a cloud of uncertainty hovers overhead has been tough. Comments like “I don’t care, because we may not even have a season” have been discouraging. Fortunately, the PGA, NASCAR, and MLS are already back, showing that it can be done. The NHL and NBA are about a week away. The NFL appears on track too. The NHL testing has yielded encouraging results:

The ACC will announce their plans for this football season towards the end of July. A delayed and perhaps shortened season seems likely. College sports have some unique challenges that professional sports do not - namely, being on-campus with thousands of other students - but they seem willing to give it an honest effort.

Fortunately, today we get the first of the four major US sports leagues joining the fray as MLB has their opening day! The Yankees are set to play the Washington Nationals and provide arguably the best possible pitching matchup baseball can offer: Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer. The Dodgers and Giants follow in the late game.

After opening day, there will be a couple of Clemson alumni to keep on eye on during this exciting 60-game MLB season. Here are a few updates on Clemson baseball alumni:

  • After being designated for assignment by the Cardinals last year, Dominic Leone was picked up by the Cleveland Indians on a minor league deal. He is not currently on their active roster, but is part of their 60-man player pool.
  • Seth Beer, who was traded from the Houston Astros to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the Zack Greinke trade, is in their 60-man player pool. Christian Walker, a U of SC grad, is expected to man first base in Arizona this season. However, the addition of the DH in the NL could open the door sooner for Seth Beer. Injuries could also open that door up sooner. but Seth Beer tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in July, but had no symptoms. He should be ready if the D-Backs need another bat.
  • Daniel Gossett came up with the Oakland A’s in 2017. He had Tommy John surgery on July 31, 2018, and missed the rest of 2018 and all of 2019. He is not on the A’s active roster, but made the 60-man player pool so he could potentially play this season.
  • Baltimore's super-utility man, Stevie Wilkerson, suffered a fractured finger and will miss “significant time.”
  • Steven Duggar, who manned center field for the Giants much of last season, won’t be doing so this year. It appears Mike Yastremski and Billy Hamilton will get time in CF. While Duggar isn’t active, he is on the 60-man player pool for the Giants.
  • Finally, with some good news for Clemson alumni, we have Brad Miller. Miller was a superstar shortstop for the Tigers. He has had a seven-year MLB career, playing in 759 games. He is a major donor to Clemson’s baseball program, and with 88 career home runs, is one of Clemson’s more successful MLB alumni in recent years. At age 30, he remains on an MLB roster. He is a utility man for the St. Louis Cardinals. He will start the season on the injured list (ankle bursitis), but should get some playing time with the Cardinals this season.

It’s strange that despite Clemson’s success in college baseball, more players haven’t become MLB regulars in recent years. Since Brad Miller’s MLB debut in 2013, Dominic Leone and Steven Duggar are the closest thing to MLB regulars to break into the big leagues. I’m not sure why that is the case. What do you think? Also, please share your thoughts in our poll below:

Poll

Which sports league’s return are you most excited about?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    PGA
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    NASCAR
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    MLS
    (1 vote)
  • 32%
    MLB
    (12 votes)
  • 2%
    NBA
    (1 vote)
  • 21%
    NHL
    (8 votes)
  • 29%
    None of the above
    (11 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now