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College baseball starts today

Friday's Say Hey, Baseball includes opening day for Division I baseball, saying goodbye to Nick Punto and the Pirates' new uniforms.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.


Major League Baseball is finally yawning, stretching and starting to wake up after a long offseason. As exciting as that is, games that matter are still more than a month away. Fortunately, meaningful baseball starts today for NCAA Division I. And does it ever start. There are 296 teams in Division I and 137 games today, which makes MLB's opening day seem a little basic. If 137 games aren't enough for you, 166 games are being played on Saturday! And through the magic of technology, you can actually watch some of these games this weekend. Through the WatchESPN app (and your cable provider) you have access to 13 different games today, including a matchup between No. 1-ranked Florida and Florida Gulf Coast. There's even a tournament this weekend, the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Myrtle Beach, where defending champs Virginia will take on Kent State. That game features a marquee pitching matchup between Virginia's Connor Jones and Kent State's Eric Lauer, who are both ranked in the top 25 of D1 baseball's top 300.

Those potential future MLBers are a big draw for college baseball. Jones and Lauer both appear on's 2016 prospect watch list, and they could be taken in the first few rounds of this year's draft. Florida's trotting out four possible draftees this weekend, including two who could go early this year. Pitcher A.J. Puk (65-grade name) is ranked second by, and top college outfielder Buddy Reed is ranked sixth. And while very, very few college athletes go on to play professionally, every Major Leaguer has to start somewhere. David Price was a star for Vanderbilt, and Gerrit Cole pitched for UCLA. Buster Posey caught at Florida State, and Kris Bryant handsomed all over the University of San Diego before the Cubs snapped him up. They all won't be like Price and Bryant, but they could be like Brandon Finnegan, who pitched in the 2014 College World Series for Texas Christian University, got drafted by the Royals, and pitched for them in the World Series that very same year.

While it's great to watch meaningful baseball played buy guys who could be in the majors someday, the goofy college kids themselves are the best part of college baseball. They haven't yet been infected by the "I'm a serious, professional baseball player" bug, so you can catch them being normal and having a good time with their friends. College baseball is known for outstanding rain delay theater (my favorite is human bowling), but they also manage to squeeze in fun at other times. Like in the dugout during a game, where you can learn the fine art of stacking a lot of caps on someone's head. Or while a coach is giving an interview, which is the perfect time to whip out your banana phone. If talent and skill aren't enough to give college baseball a chance, the possibility of seeing someone use a banana phone should convince everyone to tune in.