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sox_fan_4life
06-05-2002, 06:47 AM
Horror (http://www.boilerstation.com/planet/stories/200206050purdue_planet1023253370.shtml)
Draft turns Blasko into a Cubs fan

Purdue ace taken 36th by Chicago

By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier


Chadd Blasko gladly will swallow his pride in exchange for instant wealth beyond his wildest dreams.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs used the 36th pick in Major League Baseball's amateur draft to select Purdue's 6-foot-6 junior right-handed pitcher.

Blasko, 5-3 with a 2.98 ERA during the recently completed season, is the Boilermakers' highest draft pick since 1993, when the Pittsburgh Pirates used the 34th pick on former center fielder Jermaine Allensworth.

Ironically, Blasko -- a Mishawaka native -- is a diehard Chicago White Sox fan.

"It's pretty thrilling," said Blasko, who will be represented by high-profile sports agent Scott Boros. "I'm excited for the opportunity to get drafted by the Cubs, even though my favorite team has always been the White Sox.

"It's a great feeling to have the opportunity to do something that I enjoy doing. Hopefully, one day I will make it to the big leagues."

A "sandwich round" pick -- supplemental selections between Rounds 1 and 2 -- Blasko likely will be offered at least $750,000 to sign with the National League team.

If that's the case, the chances of Blasko returning to Purdue for his senior season are slim and none.

"There's a really good chance now," Blasko said when asked if he will sign a professional contract. "I wanted to get drafted in the first or second round.

"I figure I should get a pretty good chunk of change with that. Right now, I'm more concerned about getting out there and trying to get up to the big leagues."

While the Cubs talked with Blasko in April, he hadn't heard from them recently. As of Monday, Blasko was convinced Arizona, Boston, Milwaukee or Anaheim would draft him.

"I was shocked when this happened, because I wasn't expecting the Cubs to take me," Blasko said. "My whole life, I was a White Sox fan ... always rooting against the Cubs.

"But I can't do that any more. It wasn't like I can't stand the Cubs. I just like the White Sox, and they are rivals with the Cubs."

Blasko earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors this spring, posting a 3-1 league record with a 2.34 ERA -- third-best among Big Ten pitchers.

From April 5-19, Blasko pitched 21 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, allowing only four hits while retiring 63 of 69 batters.

"It was my command," Blasko said of the improvement that impressed scouts. "Last year, I was still trying to learn how to pitch. I was basically a thrower last year. This year, I was more of a pitcher. I was able to hit my spots and get more strikeouts than I did last year."

Purdue coach Doug Schreiber said Blasko is a player who benefited from college baseball. Tampa Bay selected him in the 47th round of the 1999 draft, but Blasko opted to further his education.

"Coming in as a freshman, Chadd was just a better-than-average high school pitcher," Schreiber said. "He was 6-6, but he was lanky. He threw a good fastball but still didn't have great command of it.

"He had to develop as a pitcher. The other thing is that he did not experience playing deep into the high school state tournament. So, he never had to pitch in a championship type game."

Once Blasko matured and learned to throw changeups and breaking balls for strikes, Schreiber was convinced his ace had a professional future.

"That probably was last year at the end of the season," Blasko said. "When I came to Purdue, I was able to blossom and develop my talent. I finally figured it out last year."

Blasko, who likely will be assigned to Class A or Rookie League ball, experienced tightness in his right arm during a May 4 start against Minnesota and didn't pitch for 13 days.

But in his final 2002 start -- with scouts looking on in Ann Arbor -- Blasko pitched 6 2/3 innings of solid baseball against Michigan.

"There were a couple of teams that voiced concern about my arm," Blasko said. "But right now, my arm feels really good ... 100 percent. I've been throwing since I've been home. It was a matter of getting rest."

Schreiber said the Cubs would not have used the 36th pick on Blasko if they were concerned about his arm.

"Where he was selected tells Chadd that they have high expectations for him," Schreiber said. "It's unique that they took three college pitchers right from the get go.

"Although none of them are going to be compared to Mark Prior, they saw how quickly he developed. They've selected three good ones, and if one or two work out, then the Cubs will be happy."

And while Schreiber knows Blasko loves the White Sox, he said the pitcher will learn to love Chicago's north side team.

"It's neat for Chadd to be with the Cubs -- a team I'm sure his family has been able to follow," Schreiber said. "If it works out that he is able to get up to the big club, obviously it will be very close to his home.

"A lot of people in this area are Cubs' fans, which will bring some uniqueness to it, too."

MarqSox
06-05-2002, 10:49 AM
Well, hey, I don't know about you guys, but I'm gonna root for this guy to do well, even if it's with the Cubs. He couldn't help being plucked by the Dark Side. I say "here here," congrats to a Sox Fan for getting drafted! :gulp:

RKMeibalane
06-05-2002, 03:01 PM
I hope everything works out for him. I'm sure if he had a choice, he would've been drafted by the Sox anyway, so I'm not going to hold against him because the Cubs took him. After all, I may be a Sox fan, but I am also a baseball fan in general. I don't wish bad things upon players, as I have seen Cubs fans do in the past.

DrWatson27
06-05-2002, 03:05 PM
I just like the fact that Boras is his agent-so that way the Cubs will get screwed trying to sign him! :D:

PaleHoseGeorge
06-05-2002, 03:10 PM
Originally posted by RKMeibalane
I don't wish bad things upon players, as I have seen Cubs fans do in the past.

God bless Northwest Indiana--true bedrock country for Sox Fans!

Good point about Flubbie fans turning on players. How many times have we heard them spank Mark Grace for leaving? As if MacFail even wanted him back!

:shammy
"We have no room in this clubhouse for guys who put winning ahead of my salsa music!"

Lip Man 1
06-06-2002, 12:18 AM
Ironically the Cubs don't seem to have a problem with Scott Boras.

Mark Prior and Bobby Hill (you remember him???) are clients of his.

Lip

Randar68
06-06-2002, 12:20 AM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Ironically the Cubs don't seem to have a problem with Scott Boras.

Mark Prior and Bobby Hill (you remember him???) are clients of his.

Lip

To top that, I think they drafted at least 4 of his clients this year...