Last season I had the opportunity to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.

When growing up, the Pirates were my second favorite baseball team. I loved them and all of their players.

Now, I am hit or miss with the squad. I was indifferent to which team won the ball game.

However, there was one fan that kept yelling at me when St. Louis did anything. They yelled at me about their pitcher getting a hit and then stealing third base.

The play was reviewed and he didn’t steal third base. He was out. Before I had the opportunity to pick a fight in the stands, my wife shut me down using her teacher voice. It was serious enough that I also got the raised eyebrow.

Now, their Cardinals have done it again. They have made me dislike them even more.

Why you ask? There is no sports going on to speak of?

The Cardinals drafted two future Arkansas Razorback baseball players. The top sport at the University of Arkansas has taken a hit thanks to the Cardinals.

Major League Baseball cut its draft from what seemed like 200 rounds down to five rounds this year.

The Razorbacks knew that Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin would be drafted with the outside possibility that Casey Opitz would be taken.

Opitz was not drafted while Kjerstad was the second player taken and Martin went 87th overall. The difference in money between the two picks was a little over $7 million. Kjerstad will get a contract that is worth a hair under $8 million while Martin will receive just a hair under $700,000.

The problem with this year’s draft is that the Cardinals took two future Razorbacks. Players that would be replacing key elements on the Hog roster for next season.

Masyn Winn of Kingwood, Texas had signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the Hogs next year. He was slotted to be a pitcher and shortstop and probably Martin’s replacement next season. The Cardinals drafted him 54th overall.

Then the Red Birds turned around and drafted Watson Chapel’s Markevian Hence at 63rd overall. He was expected to be a starting pitcher for the Hogs next season.

Winn’s contract with the Cardinals would be $1.3 million. Hence’s deal is just more than a million dollars.

The Los Angeles Angels grabbed the third Arkansas recruit. They selected David Calabrese, who is from Canada, as the 82nd player. His contract will be three-fourths of a million dollars.

As a high school senior, how can the likes of Winn, Hence and Calabrese turn down this money? I don’t know if they can. That is a big carrot dangling out in front of 17- or 18-year olds.

However, they can resist the temptation and come back and play for the Hogs. This move could help them in the future draft.

It is time for the Cardinals to stay out of the Arkansas Razorback baseball roster. I want one mid-tier program to be consistently great in Fayetteville even if it isn’t one of the big two sports.

Jeff Brasel is the sports editor of the Newton County Times. E-mail him at

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