The Navy has denied a petition from Red Sox prospect Noah Song to delay his active service time to play professional baseball, according to the Capital Gazette.

Song is a hard-throwing 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-handed pitcher who is rated as the No. 15 overall prospect in the entire Red Sox minor league system by mlb.com.  He now likely must serve at least two years of active service before he can petition again, and there still might be steps to overturn the recent decision. Song was initially scheduled to report to flight school in mid-December, but now has a tentative report date of late January.

Flight school lasts two years and upon completion he could apply for another waiver to resume his professional baseball career. The Department of Defense has a long-standing policy that allows commissioned officers to pursue professional sports after serving two years of active duty. That policy requires those individuals to serve double the time of their remaining commitment in the reserves.

“I’m anxious to find out when my Pensacola report date will be so I can get started on my two years of training,” Song said. “Perhaps after two years I will get another shot.

“The Navy definitely does not owe me anything. This (waiver request) was a Hail Mary play. I didn’t expect too much. If you don’t expect much, you don’t get disappointed. I’m excited to head down to flight school and get started on becoming a flight officer.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, upon the request of President Trump, drafted a memo, that would make it easier for members of the military to delay their active service time to pursue professional sports.

But as the Capital Gazette noted, “Esper’s memo contained two important caveats. It took effect on November 8, 2019, which means the graduating class of 2020 will be the first impacted. Also, it decreed that athletes approved for the waiver would not be commissioned as officers immediately following graduation. Song, who is currently stationed at the Naval Academy, had applied for a waiver that would have allowed the new policy to be retroactively applied to his situation. That request was recently denied by Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.”

“Unfortunately, my request was negatively endorsed by the Naval Academy due to the fact this new policy did not apply to me,” Song told The Capital. “The Naval Academy did not provide a positive recommendation to the CNO and therefore the request was denied. So that’s the end of that route.”

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round out of the United States Naval Academy in June. The 22-year-old Golden Spikes Finalist played for Short Season Lowell this past summer after receiving permission from the Navy. He allowed just two earned runs in 17 innings (1.06 ERA). He posted a .167 batting average against and 0.88 WHIP. He struck out 19 and walked five.

Song’s fastball touched 98 mph on the radar gun during the WBSC Premier 12 tournament in November.

Song dropped in the draft because of his uncertain future. Baseball America ranks him the No. 9 prospect in the Red Sox system.

“I’ve dealt with enough adversity in my life that this isn’t going to completely bring me down,” Song said.

It’s a decision he has been anticipating, not dreading.

“I was lucky enough to be selected for pilot school,” said Song told D1Baseball.com in February. before his graduation from the Naval Academy with a degree in general engineering. “I don’t have a moment of regret for choosing (Navy).”


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