MLB Draft: Strasburgmania Grips A Weary Nation

Live from the MLB Network Studios in New York, it’s the Major League Baseball Draft! Starring Stephen Strasburg, Bud Selig and … um, that’s about it. Thanks for watching; see you next year. Yep, the baseball draft starts in a couple of hours, and for the first time ever it’s going to be shown live on television (if you get the MLB Network, that is). I wonder if Mets fans will show up and boo all of their team’s picks, just like their Jets’ brethren?

Dustin Ackley, Stephen Strasburg, Donavan Tate

If there’s one thing we need besides another cable political show it’s the MLB Draft on live TV. Sure, watching Selig hand out hats to teenagers will be fun, but will there be musical guests? Will Sacha Baron Cohen fall from the rafters and land on Donald Fehr’s head? Perhaps Nationals fans will get a kick out of seeing Strasburg — the San Diego State phenom with the 102-mph fastball – being chosen at No. 1. Unless Washington blows it, which is entirely possible. If the Nationals fail to pick Strasburg, I fully expect President Obama to intercede.

Actually, more than any other sport the MLB Draft is pretty much a total crapshoot, but you knew that. For proof, witness the stirring tale of Matt Bush, the shortstop whom the Padres chose with the overall No. 1 pick in 2004. That saga ended the way that you might expect; with Bush never making the majors, and being released after a drunken brawl in a high school parking lot in which he assaulted several freshmen lacrosse players.

Also, Todd Van Poppel, anyone?

Still, if they’re going to televise it, this was a good year to roll it out because of Strasburg’s popularity.

“I’ve noticed that there’s interest in the draft this year that there never has been. And most of it’s because of Stephen,” Bane said. “You’ve got a guy in there who throws 102 mph — legitimately — so I guess that has something to do with it.”

Bane and the Angels have five of the first 48 selections, some as compensation for losing free agents Mark Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez and Jon Garland.

Anyway, your Seattle Mariners get the No. 2 pick, followed by the Padres, Pirates, Orioles, Giants, Braves and Reds. Expected to go high are North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley and Atlanta high school outfielder Donavan Tate (both pictured above).

The Nationals finally have a chance to make up for last year’s draft, when they were literally forced to eat Crow.

The Nationals are the first team to own a pair of picks in the top 10. They get the 10th choice as compensation for failing to sign their selection at No. 9 last year, Missouri pitcher Aaron Crow.

After pitching for the Fort Worth Cats in an independent minor league, Crow is back in the draft pool and could be a high pick again.

Once again Scott Boras will skip the draft, preferring to stay home and play organ music in his dungeon basement.