WMBD/WYZZ-TV - PEORIA, Ill. - Wearing Cardinal red is really a dream come true for pitcher Blake McKnight, who couldn't believe his home town team was scouting him the past two years.
"Growing up in St Louis and being a Cardinal fan, that was amazing," said the O'Fallon, Missouri native. "I had some looks from other teams my junior year but getting looks from the Cardinals was unbelievable. And getting drafted by them was cool."
McKnight didn't take a conventional route to the draft. He was home schooled and didn't play on a high school baseball team.
He went to 2,000-student Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri and played "just for fun." Then his junior year, the Cardinals started taking notice of the right-handed pitcher.
"I wasn't really recruited by anybody coming out of high school," said McKnight. "I was just playing college baseball for fun. So it wasn't until my junior year in college that it became a realistic possibility, at best."
Last June, McKnight was picked by the cardinals in the 38th round of the draft. He's the first former Evangel player to ever be selected in the draft.
Now in his first full season of pro baseball, he hopes he's taking a step towards that goal of playing big league baseball for his favorite team.
"I like the way I've been throwing,"' said McKnight. "Obviously, at the beginning of the year I wasn't so happy with my performance. But I like where I'm at now but always looking to get better."