|photo by John Lembo|
Manatee's Cord Sandberg, above, is headed to San Diego next month for the Perfect Game All-American Classic
And when the call came, Manatee's rising senior said he was a little surprised to be included.
"I was like, 'Do you really want me to play in this? I'm a football player. I like baseball, and it's fun,'" Sandberg said. "It wasn't that I didn't think I can play - I'm confident. It's not a question as to whether I can play baseball. But when that happened, I was like, 'I guess I can really do this.'"
Sandberg first caught wind of his inclusion last month while taking part in the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minnesota's Metrodome. Sandberg tripled and was clocked at throwing 87 m.p.h from the outfield, according to Perfect Game's website.
"I just saw one swing," Perfect Game scouting coordinator Kenny Gardner told the site, "and knew he's going to be good."
A centerfielder at Manatee, Sandberg said he opened his own eyes with his performance.
"When I was up there playing with those guys, I was able to get a couple of hits," he said. "It kind of made me realize I could do this."
Consequently, Sandberg said he may give professional baseball a shot if he's drafted high enough next year.
He hit .358 with 22 runs and 17 RBIs last season with Manatee.
"That definitely changed the mindset," he said.
The All-American Classic is scheduled for 9 p.m., Aug. 12 at Petco Park, and will be broadcast live at CBS. Sandberg has been selected for the East Team, which will be coached by Sarasota's Clyde Metcalf.
"It's pretty cool to be selected," Sandberg said. "Maybe once I'm out there, but it hasn't really sunk in yet."
Sandberg, of course, is known for his work on the football field. The quarterback guided the Hurricanes to the Class 7A state title last season and has verbally committed to play at Mississippi State, and hopes that playing in the All-American Classic doesn't take too much away from football.
"This time last year, I was done with the whole baseball thing about two weeks ago," he said. "I'm going to be missing practice to play in that game...But I'm not too worried about it. I'm hoping I can come back to football and change gears."