Mitch Harris: Navy Alum and MLB Prospect

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer IJune 14, 2008

Mitch Harris, a Navy alum, had one of the best right arms in college baseball this season. Too bad he won't be able to show off his talent in the Major Leagues.

The Navy released a statement Friday outlining Harris' duty to his country. He must now serve his five-year Navy obligation instead of playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, who drafted him in the 13th round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

Harris was a much higher rated prospect that a 13th round pick, but MLB teams weren't sure if he would be able to be released from his Navy obligation. The Cardinals took the chance and have now heard the bad news.

Personally, I think this is ridiculous. Sure we are in a war, but barring a player such as Harris from following a career in the big leagues is an awful decision.

Harris possesses one of the strongest arms in the 2008 class, topping his fastball out at 94 mph. I think it is a travesty that the Navy will not allow Harris to play big league ball. This has been a dream for Harris for many years.

Someone explain to me why it is alright for the Navy to limit professional sports opportunities for its athletes. Roger Staubach served his tour of duty from the Navy, and look at his career. The problem is, major league baseball pitchers have a much shorter time to hone their abilities in the minor leagues. By the time his service is over, Harris will be 26, and will start in Single-A ball. I know many of you remember David "The Admiral" Robinson, who was actually a lieutenant.

Just this past month Caleb Campbell of Army was picked in the NFL Draft, and his duties were changed to accommodate football.

Why must Harris' situation be different? The Navy will never know if Harris pans out to be a great major leaguer, but then again, they never gave him the chance.