19 Apr

play ball (sorta)

Have you heard? Rafael Palmeiro is back. Sorta. Cool Papa Bell, too. Roy Oswalt will pitch again. Kinda. In an effort to fill the void of actual baseball, mlb.com — in conjunction with DraftKings and Out of the Park Baseball — is staging the MLB Dream Bracket. The simulated tournament, which will be conducted using Out of the Park Baseball software, features all-time rosters for the 30 big league franchises plus a Negro Leagues team and an Under-25 team. The best-of-7 series begin Monday. The full bracket – and results – can be found on mlb.com. Quite a few Mississippians – and state minor league products — made the rosters. Ex-Mississippi State stars Palmeiro and Jonathan Papelbon made two rosters each. The loaded Negro Leagues club, which could be really tough to beat, includes Starkville native Bell and Bill Foster, who grew up in Rodney (near Lorman) and played at Alcorn State. Three former Mississippi Braves made the Atlanta cut: Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel and Ronald Acuna, who is also on the Under-25 team. Oswalt is with the Astros, and other Magnolia State notables on various teams are Bobby Thigpen (White Sox), Frank White (Royals), Will Clark (Giants), Dave Parker (Pirates), George Scott (Brewers) and Ellis Burks (Rockies). Ex-Jackson Mets Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson and Jesse Orosco are on the Mets’ team, former Jackson Generals Billy Wagner and Lance Berkman made the Astros’ roster and Biloxi Shuckers alum Josh Hader is on the Brewers’ club. All things considered, this could be a pleasant distraction.

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