Tag: Cincinnati Reds

UCLA v St. John's

Cal-State Northridge loses possible impact transfer to pro baseball

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When he made the decision to play basketball at St. John’s in 2011, 6-foot-8 wing Amir Garrett was also on the receiving end of attention from professional baseball scouts. As a left-handed pitcher, Garrett was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft and given a $1 million signing bonus by the organization. While playing basketball during the school year, Garrett honed his craft on the diamond during the summer and he’s developed into one of the top pitching prospects in the Reds organization.

Following the 2012-13 basketball season Garrett decided to leave St. John’s, landing at Cal-State Northridge where he was expected to be an impact addition for Reggie Theus this season. But things have changed for Garrett, as he announced via his Twitter account Thursday that he’s decided to give up basketball in order to concentrate on baseball.

Pitching for Class A Dayton this season, Garrett’s put together a record of six wins and six losses with an ERA of 3.41. Now that he’s decided to focus entirely on baseball, it will be interesting to see what Garrett is able to do with his pitching career. The athleticism is definitely there, but splitting time between the two sports likely limited Garrett’s ability to refine his tools from a pitching standpoint.

This is a tough personnel loss for the Matadors, but they do return leading scorers Stephan Hicks (17.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Stephen Maxwell (17.5, 8.8) from last year’s team. CSUN also adds an eight-member freshman class to the fold, including an All-CIF selection in Ajon Efferson who averaged nearly 28 points per game as a senior at Pasadena (California) HS.

h/t Rumble in the Garden, Yahoo Sports

Two-sport athlete Amir Garrett balances basketball and baseball at St. John’s

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After being drafted in the 22nd round of this past year’s Major League baseball draft, Amir Garrett had a decision to make: baseball or basketball?

The 6-6, 208-pound forward gained eligibility for the second semester to play for St. John’s in the 2011-12 season, averaging 7.4 points and four rebounds in his freshman season.

But now he will be headed to the baseball diamond to begin his career in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system.

Garrett hadn’t pitched in a live game in over a year when he pitched in front of major league scouts last spring, but was clocked throwing a 95-mile-hour fastball.

Not bad at all.

As a New York Times article by Zach Schonbrun points out, the most time he has gotten on a diamond recently has been with an intramural softball team at St. John’s.

“Everybody asks me which sport I like more,” Garrett told the New York Times. “I can’t really pick between the two right now. They’re both the same. I love them both.”

We have seen other two-sport athletes before, though baseball/basketball combinations have been more rare.Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan famously tried a career in baseball in the 1990s, before returning to the court.

Read the entire New York Times profile on Garrett here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Reds announcer rips Calipari boo birds

John Calipari, Dusty Baker,

John Calipari throwing out a first pitch at a ballgame might seem like pretty tame stuff, but somehow, everything the newly-titled coach does creates some kind of controversy.

When Coach Cal hurled a ceremonial ball before the April 24th Cincinnati Reds game, the city’s fractured alliances were on full display. In other words, Calipari got booed, vociferously. This ticked off Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, and he let fans know it right then and there.

Since then, Brennaman has kept talking (it’s sort of his job, after all), and he’s leveled his ire at just about everyone who was at the game, and even several thousand who weren’t. We’ll pick up the story as told by the Lexington Herald-Leader:

“We’re a regional franchise,” Brennaman said later in a telephone conversation later in the week, “and Kentucky is a very important part of that region. I said, ‘You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves.’ ”

As Brennaman recalled, the Reds have recognized teams in the region at least as far back as 1999, when John Cooper and Jim O’Brien, Ohio State’s football and basketball coaches, respectively, took bows.

Of course, the Reds invited Calipari to throw out the first pitch because Kentucky won this year’s NCAA Tournament.

For whatever reason, the invitation was unpopular with some people.

“That’s just stupid,” Brennaman said. “For people to get upset over it, it’s the most ludicrous thing that I’ve ever heard of.”

Seldom shy about speaking his mind, Brennaman also criticized Kentucky fans, presumably those living in Northern Kentucky, in particular, for not attending the Reds-Giants game Tuesday in greater numbers.

“All I hear about is Big Blue Nation, and Big Blue this and Big Blue that,” he said in recalling his on-air comments. “I said, I’m frankly surprised and disappointed at the number of Kentucky fans who showed up at the ballpark tonight knowing (Calipari) and his staff and the trophy were all going to be here.

“I guess you’re Big Blue fans as long as you don’t have to go into your pocket and buy a ticket.”

As William F. Buckley might say: Oh, snap! You got told.

In defense of Big Blue Nation, a quick look at the photo above would seem to indicate that ennui about the Reds is a regional epidemic, and not reserved for residents of the Bluegrass State. At least Calipari provoked some kind of reaction.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.