MATT VIEIRA SET TO JOIN JAMESTOWN IN NY/PENN LEAGUE
A bucket of seeds and a bus pass was all Matt Vieira wanted from baseball before he signed last month with the Florida Marlins organization.
They threw in a plane ticket to Jamestown, NY for good measure.
The former Cal State, East Bay pitcher who ended his college career last month by tying the single-season school mark for victories with 10, will begin his professional career with the Jamestown Jammers of the short-season Class A New York/Penn League.
Vieira expects to be activated soon by Jammers after passing an extensive medical physical.
The team plans to use him in the bullpen initially with the possibility of starting later in the season which runs 76 games.
The gritty lefthander, who features a fastball in the upper 80s and a sneaky slider, went undrafted in the recent June amateur draft, but was undeterred.
"I felt it wasn't over," said Vieira.
After CSUEB's season concluded Vieira worked out for both the Baltimore Orioles and Florida.
At the time, Vieira did not receive an offer and attended an open tryout for the Major League scouting bureau in Las Vegas.
Vieira's performance in Las Vegas was good enough that Marlins' area scout John Hughes, who also scouted Vieira in high school, offered him a contract the next day.
"When I received the call from John I didn't want to rush to make a decision right then. It's something that I wanted to talk with my parents about first," said Vieira.
His parents displayed two different reactions to the news.
"My dad is analytical about things. He said 'Let's see if this is a good organization for developing pitchers', later he was like, yeah, this is a good spot," said Vieira, "My mom was excited, but I could be playing in Mexico and she would still be happy."
Ironically, 20 minutes after Vieira dropped off his newly signed contract to the local Kinko's, an Orioles representative offered him a contract with their affiliate in the same New York/Penn League.
Vieira admits his goals are modest at this point of his nascent career.
"I'm eager to get out on the field. I understand that I'm the only free agent on my team and the only D-III guy," said Vieira, "I'm excited to face big time hitters and showcase what I did in Hayward. I want to take the tools my coaches at Hayward taught me and bring them to next level."
Pioneers Manager Dirk Morrison said Vieira's signing was "rewarding for the program and an excellent opportunity for him to continue playing he game he loves."
CSUEB Athletic Director Debby DeAngelis said the signing reflected well on the program and the university.
Vieira is the fourth CSUEB player in the last five years to sign a professional contract.
The others include Caleb Cooper (White Sox), Archie Gilbert (A's) and Ray Stokes (Padres).
Vieira went 10-2 this season with a 3.90 earned runs average in 15 games. The 10 wins tied the mark set by Dick Foster in 1968.
He also ended his CSUEB career as the school all-time saves leader with 14.