So seriously, who would ever complain about having nothing to do on a Monday night? Me, that’s who.
While most of you would love the downtime, love go see a movie with your wife, play with your kids, take one of your 11 cats to the vet, whatever, I’m not that kinda guy. For one, I have no wife and am fundamentally opposed to both kids and cats (in that order), which certainly doesn’t help the process. And even when I do get a little downtime, I usually just end up pacing around, freaking out and asking myself asinine questions like, What am I going to do? How am I going to spend this time? Why doesn’t anyone ever respond to my texts? Is it something I said? I can change, I swear!! I’ll tell ya one thing: No one ever said it’s glamorous to be a sports blogger.
And sadly, by late afternoon Monday, it appeared to be one of those nights. By about 6:30 I was done with all kinds of real responsibility for the day, and had two hours to burn before the start of Thunder-Spurs at 9pm. Please excuse me while I commence my freak out.
Well thankfully, just as I was settling in for a miserable two hours of Jeopardy and Two and a Half Men reruns, a miracle happened: I stumbled across the MLB Draft; an event which I barely knew existed, let alone was ever televised. After all, everything I know about baseball scouting and drafting I learned from the movie “Moneyball,” and even then it was mostly just fat guys in stained shirts, sitting around in a dim room and swearing at each other. So when I found out the MLB Draft was on TV, I flipped the channel faster than a 14-year-old boy after finding out he’s got free Cinemax for a month. The MLB Draft is on TV? What an event!
Oh, it certainly was. And I kept a running diary to commemorate it all…
7:00: We open up the broadcast in the only way that the MLB Draft could truly open it: With lousy music dubbed over highlights of a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of, and the voice of a generic studio guy (our host for the day) telling us, “Teams like the Houston Astros begin planning for their future tonight!” before the cameras quickly panned over to the Astros war room, which appears to be set up in a slightly refurbished broom closet at a Holiday Inn outside of Minute Maid Park.
It’s the MLB Draft on MLB Network! Can you feel the excitement?!
7:01: After a few more highlights of players I’ve never heard of, the cameras zoom overheard in our makeshift studio (which looks like it was put together by a high school shop class, by the way) and head over to our studio crew. Along with the Generic Studio Guy (I honestly never caught the guy’s name, so from now on, we’re simply going to call him “GSG” for “Generic Studio Guy”) we are joined by Harold Reynolds, former Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers GM John Hart, and resident MLB Draft expert Jonathan Mayo, who I’m pretty sure is making his appearance on TV ever.
Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Mayo’s fine work, the best way I could describe him is that he looks exactly like Jay Glazer, only if Jay Glazer was shorter, skinnier, and way less dynamic. Basically picture Jay Glazer with a bad case of ringworm, and you’ve got a visual of Jonathan Mayo. In a non-related story, I’m also pretty sure Mayo works part-time at the Jiffy Lube down the street from my house. You know, in case you’re ever looking for him on the one day of the year he doesn’t moonlight as an MLB Draft expert. Safe to say, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with Mr. Mayo this evening.
7:02 The MLB Network studio crew quickly goes through the top prospects in this year’s draft, a list which includes Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton, Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, college pitchers Kyle Zimmer and Kevin Gausman, and the man everyone projects to go No. 1 overall, Stanford righty Mark Appel.
When Mayo is asked to quickly evaluate the prospects he isn’t afraid to show his love for Appel, telling MLB Network’s cameras “I’ve been called a Mark Appel apologist.”
But really, haven’t we all been?
7:04: After GSG quickly makes small-talk with John Hart and asks him “What does it mean to draft No. 1 overall” (where I’m from, it usually means “Umm, we’re lousy”), Harold Reynolds then quickly tells us that with this pick, the Astros will let us know “the direction of where the organization is going.” Now I love Harold, and I’m hardly an expert, but I’m pretty sure there’s only place for this organization to go. I’ll give you a hint: It ain’t down.
(On a serious note, do me a favor and quickly put down your computer screen, close your eyes, and answer the simple question: Off the top of your head, how many current Astros can you name? I know they’ve got Jed Lowrie and… well, that’s actually all I’ve got. Beyond him, umm, does Houston still have Craig Biggio? Billy Wagner? Any guesses? Can I use one of my lifelines? This is legitimately hard.)
7:06: We are now just moments away from the first pick in the draft, but before we get there, GSG is going over a couple new rules that were implemented for this draft.
Given that I didn’t even know about this draft until roughly eight minutes before it started, GSG’s words are mostly white noise, although from I can gauge, the biggest rules changes are that the MLB Draft now has an earlier signing period, slotted money based on the pick, and next year will even implement a draft lottery. Cool stuff. It’s also kind of shocking how quickly the MLB can tweak their draft rules, but how we’re going on half a decade with instant replay, and they still have no idea when or how to use it.
7:09: The Houston Astros are now on the clock, as the esteemed commissioner Bud Selig makes his way to the podium. On this evening Selig is dressed well, actually relatively normal, and relatively un-sex offender-ish, which is one of the biggest disappointments of the night. I had “Making fun of Bud Selig’s suit” as the No. 1 bullet point in my pre-draft notes, and now have about 200 unusable jokes because of it.
Regardless, Selig makes a few opening remarks, before quickly exiting to the stage to a round of small, misguied golf claps, a lot like the sound you’d hear after an awkward best man speech at a wedding.
7:12: We finally hit our first commercial break, where, right as I’m getting up to get some food… wait, is that Cal Ripken? On TV? Wow, he looks, umm, different.
While I’d never call baseball’s ultimate Iron Man “obese,” I guess what I would say is that Cal has comfortably packed on an extra chin or two since the last time I saw him. I think it’s also safe to say he definitely isn’t bringing the same enthusiasm to his post-retirement workout regimen that he did to the park every day during his career.
7:14: We return from commercial break with Houston now moments away from their pick, and Mayo informing us, “The Astros need help everywhere.” And really, is there any better way to describe the current state of the Houston Astros? They really do need help “everywhere,” starting with three or four identifiable players at the Major League level.
Regardless, everyone on the set seems to agree that Appel will be the first pick here, with Mayo going so far as to say, “He was the No. 1 pick in every mock draft I did.”
Same with mine! How weird?!
7:16: The first pick is in, and Selig swaggers to the podium with the confidence of a guy who made it to a second date with a girl he met on Match.com. He then proceeds:
With the first pick of the 2012 MLB Draft, the Houston Astros select… Carlos Correa, shortstop, Puerto Rico…
… Wait, what? Correa? Who’s he? I thought that Appel to Houston was a done deal, as much of a lock as Andrew Luck to the Colts, Anthony Davis to the Hornets, and umm, that Canadian guy to whichever team is drafting first in the NHL this year. But Carlos Correa? Somebody’s got some explaining to do.
Either way, it’s safe to say I can burn up all the mock drafts I’ve been working on the last four months.
7:17: Next, Correa steps up the podium, where he hugs Bud Selig and is handed an Astros jersey. I have two thoughts and two thoughts only on the entire interaction:
1. The jersey that was just handed to Correa was definitely purchased at Moddell’s within the last half hour before the draft started.
2. I really hope that Selig isn’t the first person in America that Correa met since getting off the plane from Puerto Rico. Otherwise, he might never come back.
7:20: After a little bit of banter and the requisite talk of Correa’s intangibles (which I’m pretty sure is contractually obligated in any draft coverage, regardless of the sport), Hart tells us that in watching the tape, Correa reminds him of a young Alex Rodriguez.
To which I say: Kudos John Hart! Forget putting pressure on a young 18-year-old, you just went ahead and gave him a ceiling that’s basically impossible for him to meet! Heck, why compare Correa to say, a perennial All-Star when you can instead compare him to- by any tangible measurement- one of the five greatest baseball talents in the history of the sport? While we’re here, why not just take it a step further and compare Correa to a young Mozart? Or Mother Teresa? You already set the bar impossibly high, so why limit it to just baseball?
7:22: Before we get to the second pick, the guys come full circle back to Appel, where GSG asks the question we’re all wondering: Why wasn’t he the pick? Poor Jonathan Mayo gives us a half-hearted answer, before his voice slowly drifts off and his eyes fill with tears before the camera pulls away. I think it’s safe to say that whoever thinks being an MLB Draft analyst isn’t an emotional job needs to walk a day in poor John Mayo’s shoes.
7:24: Back to Selig and the second pick is in, with the Minnesota Twins selecting Georgia outfielder Byron Buxon. The cameras quickly pan to Buxon, who isn’t in studio, but instead at home in Georgia with about 800 of his closest friends joining him in the crowd. I would make a joke here, but considering that I don’t even have 800 Facebook friends, let alone people that would actually show up to support me in anything I did, anything that I’d say now would just come out as petty and insincere.
Instead, let’s just move on.
7:27: Next, the MLB Network’s cameras pan out to Georgia, where Buxon is sitting back in his chair, with a “Yeah, I got this” look on his face, making him already one of my five favorite players in baseball. He then jumps into the list of my top three favorite players when he responds to the first question by saying, “I’m glad to be a Minnesota Twins.” Don’t ever change, Byron. Don’t ever change my man.
7:28: This would also be a good time to mention that right next to Buxon is a cute blonde girl who seems relatively unimpressed by the whole affair. Assuming that she’s his girlfriend, the young lady strikes me as the type who’ll definitely break up with him the second his batting average dips below .200 in A-ball, then will immediately be the first one to call or text to “apologize” when he finally makes it to the big leagues. Poor Byron Buxon doesn’t even know what’s coming to him, and all I ask is that when you see the headline “Byron Buxon sued by high school girlfriend” in 2022, just go ahead and think of me. Thanks.
7:29: One last note on Buxon before we head to another commercial break, as MLB Network’s studio crew compare him to a “Young Mike Cameron,” a comment that I’m pretty sure terrified every Twins fan in America, anyone who ever watched Mike Cameron play, and probably the entire Buxon family themselves.
Also, I’ve got to ask: If the first pick in the draft was compared to a young Alex Rodriguez, and the second pick a young Mike Cameron, does that make it the biggest drop-off between top two picks in the history of drafts? I think it might.
7:30: With the third pick in the draft, the Seattle Mariners select… University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino, who last time I checked, definitely isn’t Mark Appel. Which is cool, but it also makes me wonder: Did the Mariners really like Zunino more with this pick? Or did they assume Appel would be off the board, so they called this pick in two hours early, and spend the rest of the afternoon getting cocktails at Olive Garden? These are the questions I ask myself while watching the MLB Draft.
Regardless, the on-set crew seems to be impressed with Zunino, telling us that he’s “everything you want in a catcher” and someone who “comes from a solid baseball family.” Unfortunately what they forgot to mention was that Zunino also missed all of last season after getting beat up in a dark Gainesville alleyway by Will Muschamp…
Ok, I’m teasing, that last one definitely didn’t happen. At least not that we know of anyway.
7:31: In further analysis of this pick, Mayo tells us that while he thought Zunino was the Mariners selection all along, it was hard to know for sure since “It’s easier to get information out of Fort Knox than it is the Mariners front office.”
So, there’s that.
On a different note, I’d love to make fun of Mayo a bit more here, but at this point don’t really feel like it’s necessary. Plus, if the “S*#^ My Dad Says” guy can get a sitcom, well crap, I see no reason why Mayo might not have one by the fall as well.
7:32: And right as we wrap up the pick and head to commercial break, the cameras cut to the Seattle Mariners contingent at the draft, where they are represented by none other than the aforementioned Mike Cameron. No wonder everyone was being so nice to Cameron before!
Also, if you’re reading this article Byron Buxon, all I can say is, “Welcome to your future.”
7:35: Back from commercial, the Orioles are on the clock, and select LSU right hander Kevin Gausman, which I’m pretty sure is also the name of the guy who does my taxes every April.
Maybe the highlight of the selection though actually came from Hart who set a new personal record by announcing Gausman as the fourth straight draft pick with “a nice body.” I can only imagine what Hart’s reaction is when the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue comes to his house every year.
7:37: Speaking of that “nice body,” in a pre-recorded interview Gausman tells us that during his starts, he eats “two or three powdered donuts between each inning,” which not only disgusts me, but also makes me wonder how long he’ll be able to hold onto that killer body. Add in that Gausman describes himself as “goofy” and I think it’s safe to say that the Orioles might’ve whiffed on this pick.
7:40: Back to Mayo, who still doesn’t seem to able to move on from Mark Appel’s Aaron Rodgers like free-fall out of the top few picks. “I can’t see him falling past the Royals at No. 5,” Mayo says. Remember, this was the man who had Appel No. 1 in every mock draft he did.
7:42: And with the fifth selection in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Kansas City Royals select… Kyle Zimmer, right handed pitcher, University of San Francisco! In Mayo’s defense he got about 80 percent of the pick correct: The Royals did select a right handed college pitcher from the Bay Area… I can totally see where he’d get the two confused. Regardless, I’m starting to feel bad for Mayo. If somebody doesn’t draft Appel soon, I feel like he might leave the studio and walk back to his house in the rain or something.
7:44: Following some quick analysis, the cameras cut to Zimmer, who is more giggly than a high school girl the night of her junior prom talking about going to Kansas City.
As best I can, here is the transcription of Zimmer’s direct quote to GSG’s first question:
“(Giggles)… I’m just… (Giggles)… so excited… (Giggles) to be… (Giggles)… before trailing off and giggling some more.
Whatever, I’m happy for the kid.
7:47: The Cubs are up next, and interestingly, there’s no real speculation on what direction they might go. However, given that I follow a few Cubs fans on Twitter it seems pretty clear they want Appel. And who could blame them? The Cubbies have a new front office, money to burn, and the best player in the draft available with the sixth pick. Why wouldn’t they get their hopes up?
Because they’re Cubs fans, that’s why, and rather than selecting Appel with the sixth pick, they instead chose to take Albert Amora, a centerfielder from Miami.
I’d like to trash on the Cubs brass here, but really, how can I? After all, when you have the chance to take a 21-year-old, frontline, ace the staff, it’s always acceptable to pass on him for an 18-year-old from Miami who has probably never played a game in temperatures below 85 degrees, and was later described by the MLB Network guys as “not as physically gifted as the other top picks.”
Good times! Well, unless you’re a Cubs fan.
7:55: I just returned from a quick bathroom break, only to find out that the San Diego Padres used their pick on some obscure high school pitcher from right up the road in La Jolla. What was his name? Well even now, I honestly don’t know. My first instinct was to grab my computer and look him up, before I quickly remembered, “Wait a second, he just got drafted by the Padres. He could win 20 games a year for the next decade, and I’d still never see him on Sportscenter.”
Something tells me the poor kid is going to be pitching in front of a lot of sparse crowds at Petco Park going forward.
7:56: With the Padres pick now in, we get an interview with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. Luhnow is surprisingly smooth, confident and good-looking, basically the exact kind of guy you’d never expect to see working in baseball.
Regardless, Luhnow came off well, but when he was asked to compare Correa to someone in the majors, he danced around the subject like a husband getting questioned by his wife after coming home after a late night on the town.
He never did liken Correa to any one specific player, with Luhnow’s implication clearly being, “I heard you guys compare him to A-Rod, and if you think I’d ever do that in a million years, well, you’ve got another thing coming to you.”
7:59: And with the eight pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates select… Mark Appel, as the crowd goes wild, and Mayo quietly pops a bottle of celebratory champagne in the corner of the room.
It’s got to be a relief for Appel to finally hear his name come off the board, and definitely an exciting time for us as baseball fans. I obviously know nothing about amateur baseball, but if Appel is as good as advertised, I look forward to watching him win 20 games for a 67-win Pirates team within the next couple of years.
8:00: We are now an hour in (wait, has it really only been an hour? It feels like about 15) and with that, it’s time to switch over to the NBA pregame coverage. I did however monitor the next few picks of the draft, which were highlighted by a few of the following things:
… The Marlins selecting Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Haney, a lefty who is easily the highest rated pitcher to come out of Stillwater since Brandon Weeden was drafted by the Cleveland Browns back in April (see what I did there?).
… the Colorado Rockies next took David Dahl, a phenomenal athlete, who not only overcame a nasty case of mononucleosis last summer, but also has the very distinguished honor of beating Florida State football recruit (and top baseball prospect) Jameis Winston in a foot race earlier this year. If you know anything about Winston, you know I’m not even going to make a joke here. That’s just a damn impressive feat.
… the Oakland A’s selected shortstop Addison Russell, who is not only a long forgotten character from the book “To Kill A Mockingbird” but was also described by the MLB Network staff as a player who “lost 20 lbs. within the last year to prove the doubters wrong.” This once again proves my theory that when you have the opportunity to draft an 18-year-old that already has weight problems with the 11th overall pick in the draft, you’ve simply got to do it.
… And finally, the Mets select a kid named Gavin Cecchini, who, regardless of how his baseball career turns out, will have roughly 70,000 Italian moms trying to set him up with their daughters the second he arrives in the tri-state area.
And with that, I'm done wit the 2012 MLB Draft, but not before giving my first draft experience an A+. We laughed, we cried, we held back some tears, as well as a lot of bad Bud Selig jokes. And if you don’t mind me saying, I look forward to doing it again next year.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my car is acting up and I think Jonathan Mayo is back on the clock at Jiffy Lube.
Also for his continued take on all things sports, and updates on his articles, podcasts and giveaways, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook.com/AaronTorresSports or by downloading the Aaron Torres Sports App for FREE for your iPhone or Android Phones)