By: Anna Dunlavey
This means that players who go to school together during the year will rarely be on the same teams over the summer, and many players end up seeing their regular season teammates on opposing rosters during the summer.
Many DC Grays players have experienced this phenomenon. Some of the Grays battle their classmates from the first pitch to the last out, but before and after the game they remain teammates and friends. Players are sometimes seen at the Nationals Youth Academy going to the opposing team’s dugout to talk to friends.
Drew Reid of Harvard University has faced another Harvard player on Youse’sOrioles, and he didn’t find it awkward at all. “It’s a little interesting being in a different scenario with him,” Reid said. Ari Kaufman of Lafayette College has also seen players from his school team and said, “It’s great to see that guys on my team are working hard and continuing to play over the summer.”
Some of the Grays’ have played for more than one Ripken League team. Last year, Justin Drechsel of Johns Hopkins and David Kimbrough of Delaware State played for the Baltimore Presstman Cardinals, a team that was dissolved and reformed as this year’s Baltimore Dodgers. Kimbrough noted that although some of the coaches were the same ones he had last year, the team itself was entirely different. “As far as the baseball,” Kimbrough said, “it’s pretty much the same as the Grays.”
Since teams often scrimmage at school, summer leagues are not the first time that college team teammates have played against each other. “We inter-squad a lot at school, so you see a lot of each other,” said Jay Graham of Dartmouth College, who pitched against another Dartmouth player a few weeks ago. “It’s a little bit of an advantage, but at the same time it’s facing one of your buddies.”
Playing against a college teammate is one of the things that makes summer college baseball unique. “I came out here to meet people from all over the country, to make connections, and there’s no better way to do that than to play baseball in this league,” Kimbrough said.
“That’s the fun of summer baseball,” Graham said. “You get to meet people from all over. You obviously get to know everyone at school really well, but you’ve got two months to spend every day with a bunch of kids who you don’t really know going into it. I think that’s pretty cool.