Mannix About Manatee: Phillies selection puts one fan over the moon

June 8, 2013 

Cord Sandberg, a Philadelphia Phillie?

I love it.

I love it.

I love it.

When I heard my favorite baseball team of the past 43 years pick the two-sport Manatee Hurricanes star just after 1 p.m. Friday on MLB.com, I leaped out of my chair at the Herald.

"THE PHILLIES PICKED CORD SANDBERG!!!" I shouted to semi-amused colleagues. "THE PHILLIES PICKED CORD SANDBERG!!!"

My fondest wish has come true.

Before the major league baseball draft began Thursday, I had tweeted:

"Can't wait to see what happens with Cord Sandberg. If Phillies draft him? I'd be over the moon."

And I am.

If I close my eyes I can already see the young man, who thrilled folks for three years at Hawkins Stadium and G.T. Bray park, patrolling the outfield at Citizens Bank

Park in a No. 24 white jersey with red pinstripes.

I can see him gunning down a base-runner at home plate with that cannon left arm.

I can see him lashing a game-winning base hit and getting mobbed by joyous teammates after he rounds first.

I can see him getting pied with shaving cream during his post-game interview on Comcast.

OK, I'm getting a little carried away.

I've been known to do that from time to time.

Just ask my wife.

Especially when it has to do with the Phillies and I'm fussing at them on TV.

First, there's the little matter of whether Sandberg will sign, though it sounds like he's inclined to take the deal.

According to the Herald's John Lembo, the Phillies have offered him $775,000 plus four years of college.

Well, the money's good, but Sandberg's already got a full ride to play football at Mississippi State.

My two cents to the 18-year-old?

Sign, grab your gear and drive up to Clearwater to join the Phillies Gulf Coast League rookie ballclub.

Not just because I'm a Phillies' fan, either.

When Manatee's 2012 football season ended, the speculation was Sandberg had played his last football game, period, and he'd never see Starkville, Miss.

Could he shine as quarterback at Mississippi State? Absolutely.

We'd all look forward to seeing him compete in the SEC.

The Bulldogs' devoted fan base would come to love this kid like we did.

Cord Sandberg is made of the right stuff.

But in which sport does he have a better future without getting beat up every season?

Baseball.

Besides, it's his dream.

Sandberg wants to be a major leaguer.

What little boy hasn't fancied the same?

That Sandberg has the chance to do it as a Phillie is awesome.

There's a real opportunity for him to excel in the organization.

The farm system is thin on prospects, having traded away a host of them over the years for pitching to help keep the ballclub in contention.

That time is over and they need to reload.

Particularly with good, solid outfielders.

Other than Domonic Brown, who's finally coming into his own, the big league ballclub's outfield has been a juggling act, literally.

Catching flyballs is an excruciating adventure some games.

They've been no great shakes hitting the ball, either.

Phillies fans are a demanding bunch.

Though it may take a few seasons and the right amount of breaks, Cord Sandberg should be able to make his way to South Philadelphia and show those people he can play this game.

The Phillies are betting on it.

Can't wait.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Call Vin at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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