Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So did you happen to catch the College World Series game between UC-Irvine and Arizona State Tuesday night? In case the NCAA's ban on live blogging forced you to miss it, the Anteaters won in 8-7 in an exciting 10-inning game, but the real thrill, as far as I was concerned, was seeing Phillies third-round draft choice Matt Spencer play for the Sun Devils. Not only was he someone on whom my favorite team invested a high draft pick, but he's also someone I covered, rather intensely, for one year while he was in high school and I was a sports writer in Morristown. I followed his senior season, during which he signed with North Carolina (with whom he appeared in last year's CWS before transferring), pitched a no-hitter against his crosstown rival, and had, if I recall correctly, 17 home runs in about 30 games. Plus he did all this left-handed, which is pretty impressive. And then there was the time I covered the party he had at his dad's house when he signed with North Carolina. Which if I recall was actually the first time I met him. The highlight of the affair, of course, was talking to Spencer's dad about my high school history teacher. Don't ask me how we got on that subject, but apparently the two of them go way back.

Anyway, Spencer was 0-for-5 in his team's loss Tuesday, but cheer up ... Pat Burrell probably wouldn't have done any better. I, for one, wouldn't mind Spencer taking Burrell's place in left field at Citizen's Bank Park in a few years. That probably means seeing him in a Clearwater Threshers uniform first, in which case tickets behind the vistors dugout at Hammond Stadium the next time Clearwater's in town are definitely in order.

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