Mitch Harris is denied

From the Kansas City Star:

Baseball must wait for ensign

Baseball might be as American as apple pie, but during times of war, it takes a back seat to the military.

A Naval Academy graduate drafted last week by the Cardinals was denied a bid to play ball Thursday and ordered to report for duty.

Mitch Harris, a newly commissioned ensign and Naval Academy graduate, must serve a five-year active duty commitment, Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter ruled.

Harris, 22, was selected in the 13th round with the 395th pick overall. He went 20-13 with a 2.51 ERA in four years at Navy, averaging more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings.

“Bottom line is, we’re a nation at war and as a nation at war we believe it is inappropriate for Navy and Marine Corps personnel to be released from service obligation to play sports at a time other sailors and Marines are carrying out their service obligations,” Cmdr. Jeff Davis said.

Well, it takes a back seat to some of the military, anyway. Sucks for Mitch, but good for the conscience.

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23 Responses

  1. gotta agree with the commander. Fulfill your duty and then go on and do what you want.

  2. SECNAV was right. I just wish Harris was coached on what to say in the event that they turned him down. I am sure that our WP friends will be all over this because what comes around goes around.

  3. Not sure what there is to get worked up about. It isn’t like he’s saying that his “duty” is to play baseball.

  4. The Navy does not realize what a great recruiting opportunity it is missing.

  5. NavyJoe,

    What recruiting opportunity is that and when does this opportunity happen?

  6. I don’t know. You will have to ask the Army AD. I think he said that if only Navy and AF understood the benefits of the ASO, they would adopt it.

  7. Times have changed and the Academy should be more flexible to its young men that have to go through so much.
    I think the likes of Caleb and others are admiring and its not like they are out of the service right?
    They just do different time and at same time its what will attract some athletes plus add some good publicity to the program.

  8. Gary, … Have you been exploring the remotest jungles of Borneo the past few months, … completely out of touch of the real world??? Surely you must be trying to drum up a little “conversation”.

    BEAT ARMY!!!

  9. I’m still waiting for TBD to explain to sudden obsession with Brandon Killebrew.

    How’s this for discussion: Anyone here about the new football luncheon series? I’m going to try to make the one on the 25th. Should be a good time.

  10. I’m a bit “intrigued” by that myself Adam, … but figured that something in that gomids.com “insider” article probably explains it. I’m waiting for a good “action shot” of my son to use for mine. (o;

    Read about the football luncheon in NavySports.com site –> Being on Mondays makes it tuff for me (from a getting off from work standpoint). I’ll await some feedback from the 1st/2nd one to see if it’s something I might want to persue later on??? –> Looks like another attempt to “make $$”, … and God knows I support the NAAA pretty darn well already.

    When do classes @ CU start up again for ya?

  11. Actually we start that day. Thank God for online posted syllabi… I’m sure they’ll be happy to know I have my priorities in order and such.

    Looking forward to the start of fall camp. This is such a dead time of year for sports and it’s not long now until my Orioles fall back to earth and start to swoon.

  12. I agree with the ruling. I’m actually for the ASO except in a time of war. I get the feeling far too many people forget we are at war.

  13. I agree with Gary…..times have changed…..fooball dad dan would feel differently if his son was offered an opportunity to play professionally…..they never interviewed Campbell’s mom and dad but Harris’ parents offered an interesting perspective…..the academies have a high attrition rate already…..now they’ll lose even more…..guys who think they have a whisper of a chance (whether or not they actually do) of playing professionally will transfer to civilian schools…..better to lose one to the pros after graduation and keep 9 than lose all ten as sophomores…..this decision does not bode well for the long term success of athletics at USNA…..I feel for the coaches…..Winter made a colossal blunder…..the AD should go to the mattresses on this one

  14. The fact is these guys that have pro talent most likely did not enter the academy with the expectation of going pro. This is true in Harris’ case. He was not even recruited by baseball coaches (a football coach told the baseball guys about him). His former batterymate Johnston developed into a pro caliber player as well. These guys are a small percentile of athletes that become exceptional and make Navy athletics better. This fact bodes well for Naval Academy athletics. It shows the excellent job coaches are doing developing this players who are not highly touted out of high school.

    The Naval Academy also allows exceptional students to earn their Master’s Degree immediately after graduation with no extra service commitment. Why can’t outstanding athletes be afforded the same opportunity.

    The Navy could use these young men who have balanced a difficult education and rigorous academic schedule to become elite athletes. (A small percentile of the Nation let alone the USNA)

    The fact is USNA athletics will never be pumping out professional athletes, but the few late bloomers that come through they could draw more people to the Navy as well as help USNA athletics remain competitive in Division I athletics.

    If you don’t know the DoD policy for this circumstance is for these athletes to serve 2 years and trade the remaining 3 for 6 years of reserve duty. Army obviously does it differently and so does the Navy in much different ways.

    Either way the policy should be the same for every service.

  15. ” I agree with Gary…..times have changed…..fooball dad dan would feel differently if his son was offered an opportunity to play professionally…..”

    Say Sportsfan … Just where do you get off telling me (and the “world”) how I would feel given this circumstance? –> Do you even know me personally as an individual, let alone know what my thoughts/actions would be in any hypothetical case???
    Just fyi, my father was a career Army soldier, and I attended the Academy with the full purpose of serving my country (be it just the 5 year obligation, or longer). As it turned out I proudly served the Navy well over 20 years. I was honored that my son chose USNA, and very proud of him for playing football for Navy. I would expect/demand from him that he honor the obligation of his service committment, regardless of his athletic prowess. It was his own (free will) decision to remain @ the Academy after his Youngster year. MH & CC had the exact same choice.
    I remind you to refresh your memory on what the long stated mission of the Naval Academy is. Then cease & desist from speaking for me!

    GO NAVY!!!

  16. Hey FB Dad(thanks) and all my loyal “Bryantists”!
    Yeah its been a long spell with some things going on and I kind of lost touch but I am back and have already asked BDog about this years QB situation (ok ok haha I know whats going on there).
    But yeah I expect to get back in so thanks for remembering me.
    Also for starters (no not QB starters) I predict this:
    Towson W Better be a blowout!
    Ball State L They will pass us to death.
    Duke W Another tight one.
    Rutgers W ITS TIME FOR PAYBACK
    Wake L Just too tough
    AF….W What else the streak continues
    Pitt L WILL BE THERE BUT 500 YDS RUSH FOR PITT
    SMU- W
    Temple W
    ND Win- WHY NOT 2?
    NI W
    Army- WWWWWWWWWWW Yawnnnnn

    Yep I see 7-8 wins with 9 at best so let the discussions begin.
    Great to be back Go Navy- BEAT TOWSON (ughhh)

  17. Gary,
    Rutgers destoryed Ball State in the bowl last year. We have a much better shot at beating Ball State than Rutgers.

  18. sorry, football dad dan…..poor choice of words on my part…..should have said you MIGHT feel differently…..my bad…..

    great that you went to USNA with the full purpose of serving your country…..my son is going for the full purpose of playing football…..serving in the Navy is the price he is willing to pay for that opportunity…..

    at the same time he hopes that if he excels and gets drafted, USNA will work with him….a long shot to be sure…..he was not highly recruited out of high school…..but neither was Mitch Harris…..

    he would even repay the government…..another kid from his high school went to the NFL……got a one million dollar signing bonus…..easy to write a $250,000 check to Uncle Sam……and be a life long supporter of NAAA and it’s foundation…..

    as Wags said……Winter is not doing his branch of the service any favors……lots to think about between now and inducation day…..

  19. Adam:
    I would agree with you on paper and truth be told we will probably lose both of those games but I give us the stronger chance based on home field and some emotion at stopping Rutgers recent pile ups and beat that S-Heat Schiano!
    I see Ball State tossing for the 500 yards that Pitt will rush for against us.
    Not so sure we will have any pass rush again this year (when did we ever really?).
    The Pitt game worries me as they will be real good and if we lose this one we better start scheduling the Towsons for HC.

  20. Sports Fan & Dad:
    Thats what its all about UNSA working something out for that “exceptional athlete” that draws and has pro potential.
    I have been frustrated that the Academy is stricter than others with the way they refuse to red shirt (Brian Madden) and know they are not a football factory.
    Yet it is that program that brings the Academy its GOLD I mean green with $$ and publicity.
    As I said its different times and frankly I was impressed by the stance Army took on Caleb.

  21. Sports Fan, … Apology accepted, … and although I certainly do not agree with your opinion on this matter/issue, you certainly have the right to voice it. As is Bill Wagner allowed to state his (and get paid for it).

    That being said, … IMHO your son has chosen to accept his appointment to USNA for the wrong reasons. It’s a tremendous accomplishment & honor to earn an appointment there, and I hope that he will learn/truly appreciate what the Naval Academy “experiance” really means wrt leadership and military service to the country “sooner than later”. To go there to only play football (and perceive obligated service grudgingly as a “penalty”???) is neither personally constructive, nor fits in with being a member of the Brigade of Midshipmen –> The primary role he has being there! If you/he think otherwise, … then I’m afraid that whoever advised your son about Navy didn’t give youall the “straight skinny”.

    BEAT ARMY!!!

  22. If serving alongside Marines and sailors is considered some sort of penalty, please tell this young man to go elsewhere if that’s his attitude. We certainly don’t need him in the Armed Forces.

  23. My son called today…..he is incredibly happy…..he made the right decision, so to hell with both of you…..the Naval Academy was interested in him because of football so why is it bad for HIM to be interested in them because of football…..they got a great kid who will shine on the field, off the field and in the fleet…..and I never said serving was a penalty to pay, I said it was a price to pay which is very different…..you guys need a vocab lesson……

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