Professional baseball scouts dream of players with tools and long for those with makeup. The most dedicated diamond observer, however, may grow gray waiting to find the quintessential blend of physical gifts and the mental capacity to apply them consistently against the current upon which baseball sweeps its most promising participants.
From this dichotomy, Eric Oliver, garners hope. For though some believe the Orange Coast College sophomore may be giving ground to the stronger, taller and swifter of his peers, the very core of his being provides an oar with which to row against the relentless flow of failure that can submerge those perceived to possess more talent.
It's the same contrarian competitive zeal that allowed late-round draft picks Mike Piazza (62nd round), Jeff Conine (58th) and Keith Hernandez (42nd) to have long, successful big-league careers.