We promised we'd be brief, but we'd be remiss if we left this august platform without a few words of advice for the graduates. Remember those who help you along your path to success. Give back. And read Page 2's All-College Team.
Billy Bates: The middle infielder came from Texas and had probably never heard of the elite private institution in Lewiston, Maine, with which he shares a name. (That would be Bates College, not Billy College). Anyway, Bates holds a special place in Cincinnati Reds history though he never got a regular-season hit for the team. Acquired in a trade from Milwaukee on June 9, 1990, he didn't appear for the Reds until Sept. 11 and went 0-for-5 at the plate the rest of the regular season. He was packing his bags when the Reds called his hotel and told him he'd be on the postseason roster in place of Billy Doran, who had back problems. In Game 2 of the World Series, Bates and his career 6-for-48 batting stats pinch-hit against Dennis Eckersley. Bates legged out an infield hit and came around to score to give the Reds a walk-off win in a series they would sweep.
Cornell Brown: If you want to talk about covering the bases, give kudos to Brown's parents, who ensured their son would have connections to two Ivy League colleges upon birth. In the end, the New Jersey native selected football at a non-Ivy, and he excelled as a linebacker at Virginia Tech. He won a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and is now an assistant coach at his alma mater.
Rasual Butler: Business as Rasual has been pretty good lately. In February, he accepted a buyout from the Clippers and wound up with the Bulls, and he's their 12th man these days as they seek a spot in the NBA Finals. He can relate to the Butler University Bulldogs, who lost to lowly Youngstown State on Feb. 3 but were playing for the NCAA title two months later.
Tree Rollins: While with the Orlando Magic in 1994-95, Tree backed up Shaq and coached him, too, serving as a player-assistant coach. He presumably gave Shaquille O'Neal a basketball education on par with the liberal arts curriculum of Rollins College, located a mere four miles from the Magic's home court. He went to college at Clemson.
Stanford Routt: The Oakland Raiders defensive back sounds like a succinct summary of most games played by the Cardinal from across the San Francisco Bay in 2011. Led by Andrew Luck and plenty of (other) skill, the club earned nine wins by 25 or more points. As for our friend Mr. Routt, he played collegiately at Houston.