June 17, 2008
Various members of the 2008 Georgia Tech baseball team are participating in summer ball in the Cape Cod, Northwoods, Coastal Plain and Cal Ripken Leagues while others have already signed pro baseball contracts. Every week throughout the summer a different Yellow Jacket will blog about their experience. This week’s blog is by rising sophomore SS Derek Dietrich.
Greetings from USA Baseball!!
First of all, I’d like to congratulate all of my Tech teammates who were drafted and especially to Charlie Blackmon and David Duncan who have already begun their professional baseball careers. Also, thanks to all the fans that supported us and helped to make 2008 such a great season.
After concluding my first Yellow Jacket season, it was a great honor to be invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials. This summer, Team USA will travel to The Netherlands, Germany, and The Czech Republic, after playing a series here against Chinese Taipei. This would be an experience of a lifetime!
When I embarked on my journey from Cleveland, the first person I saw at the airport was Andy Oliver, a fellow Ohioan (Vermillion) (LHP Oklahoma State). We sat together during the flight and caught a connecting flight in Baltimore which landed in Manchester, New Hampshire. There, we met many other invitees and took an hour and a half bus ride to Keene, NH; the first stop on our tour. I was glad to see my old USA Baseball friend Kevin Rhoderick (RHP Oregon State). There I also saw fellow AFLAC-All Americans, Hunter Morris (1B Auburn), Christian Colon (SS Cal State Fullerton), and Kentrail Davis (OF Tennessee).
USA Baseball issued a total of 36 invites to the National Team Trials, and will announce its final roster for the National Team June 24. Six of us play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and a total of 15 invitees attend school in the southeastern United States, so it’s been exciting to compete with guys that I see and read about on a regular basis throughout the year.
Since our arrival, we have been busy non-stop; moving each day. We are scheduled to play 12 games in 12 days, spanning from New Hampshire to South Carolina. We are seeing a lot of New England from our bus and many different baseball fields. Some were the homes of past professional teams, like Wahconah Park in Pittsfield MA, where my grandfather managed AA Sherbrooke during his Pittsburgh Pirates days. We played there on Monday. (I have to admit that I’m spoiled though-NONE are as beautiful as The Rusty C!)
Already, the USA Trials Tour has provided many great experiences. It’s been awesome meeting all of the guys, like my roommate Matt den Dekker (OF/LHP Florida) and spending time with talented players from around the country. Of course, wearing the USA uniform is amazing (like putting on the GT colors for the first time) and I am very fortunate to be “USA #32!” The chance to represent our country would be a dream come true, but for now we are all looking forward to playing The Chinese National Team (their Olympic Team) on Wednesday, which should be both interesting and challenging.
The USA staff is unbelievable. For a special treat on Saturday, they arranged for us to take batting practice at Fenway Park (home of the 2009 ACC Tourney). How cool is that? It was enormous and GREEN and not much goes out of there, but we tried. I guess those of us that play in the ACC will get another shot at it next spring, which makes me look forward to next season on the Flats even more!
I’m sure there will be more news to report on USA Baseball later this summer but until then, THANKS GT FANS for checking in and good luck to all of my teammates in their summer leagues. GO JACKETS!
For Tech fans interested in following what Dietrich and the rest of our players are doing this summer, check out the Summer Baseball Tab on the sidebar of the Georgia Tech baseball page, where updates are posted every morning on current members of the Georgia Tech baseball team. Tech fans can also follow what former Yellow Jackets are up to by clicking on the Alumni In the Pros tab on the main page of Ramblinwreck.com. Daily updates are posted of all former Yellow Jackets playing professional baseball – both in the major and minor leagues.