Pro baseball scouts often overlook very good high school prospects in this area because they are not seen as much as those in the warm-weather climates of California and Florida.
Arundel High coach Bernie Walter, who travels the country working clinics and serving as a member of the USA Baseball Committee, agrees that Maryland players are overlooked. Walter cites the "pattern of scouting" as one of the main reasons.
Maryland is considered part of the north in scouting territory and most of the full-time scouts up here are sent south to Florida to check out high school prospects. Florida is inundated with scouts in the spring and the Florida season ends earlier than ours because of spring football practice.
By the time the scouts return to Maryland, state tournaments are commencing and unless a prospect's team makes the playoffs, he may not get seen. During the summer, the scouts are assigned to cover minor-league games for possible trades.
"We also do not have enough legitimate Division I schools in our area and some of our kids who end up playing Division II or III get unfair tags," said Walter.
There are no available numbers on the percentage of those from Maryland given the chance of making it to the majors, but if there were the ratio just might be one of the highest in the nation.
Right now, Aberdeen's Cal Ripken is on the verge of breaking one of baseball's greatest records, consecutive games played (2,130). Veteran Dundalk right-hander Mike Bielecki is pitching with the California Angels and Arundel High's Denny Neagle (8-3) is putting up All-Star numbers for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Outfielder Brian Jordan of Milford Mill is playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and has played in the NFL as well.
Thursday, left-hander Glenn Dishman, who grew up in Glen Burnie before moving to California and attending high school on the West Coast, made his major-league debut with the San Diego Padres against the Colorado Rockies.
Dishman attended Texas Christian University and signed as a nondrafted free agent in 1993.
Dishman was 7-1 with a 2.00 ERA at AAA Las Vegas before getting the big phone call this week.
Another undrafted free agent was John Stefero of Odenton in 1979. Stefero climbed the Baltimore Orioles' ladder to the majors in 1983 and later played in the National League with the Montreal Expos before eventually being released by the Cleveland Indians.
Field of Dreams Camp
Veteran youth baseball coach Tut O'Hara will conduct his Field of Dreams Baseball Camp this week at the Gambrills Athletic Club. An excellent teacher of fundamentals and good baseball habits, O'Hara can be reached at (410) 987-5357.
Mahoney a standout
Mary Jo Mahoney, a 1994 Severna Park graduate and the overall girls winner of the Baltimore Sun's Anne Arundel County All-County Academic-Athletic Team, has carried on her excellence at Washington and Lee University.
Mahoney was one of only two freshmen to start for the Generals' Old Dominion Athletic Conference regular-season champion women's lacrosse team.
After playing for the field hockey team in the fall and serving as freshmen vice president, Mahoney had 10 goals and three assists while leading the Generals (10-5) in ground balls (43) this spring.
Mahoney scored the winning goal in a 11-10 win over conference tournament champ and archrival Roanoke to give W&L the regular-season title.
Hart Foundation on the links
The annual Dick Hart Foundation golf outing will be Aug. 14 at Rocky Point Country Club in Baltimore County to benefit county high school basketball.
Hart died several years ago after coaching boys basketball at Andover High for 30 years.
Each year in his memory, the foundation conducts the golf fund-raiser to present $1,500 scholarships to one boy and one girl who represent the discipline, hard work and commitment that symbolized Hart.
Teshawn Cooper of Annapolis and Severna Park's Sandy Jenkin were recipients of last year's $1,500 scholarships.
Golf fees are $75 a person, and those who don't play can attend the picnic for $25 and $50 business sponsorships are also available.
"This for the entire county because the winners can be from any of our public schools," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "The turnout and contributions of boys and girls coaches last year was disappointing. Hopefully this year, those who can not attend, will at least send donations."
For more information, call Ken Larsen (410) 859-3810.