Vine Line: Draft Day Memories
For some, it's a big deal -- for others, not so much
As far as big days in the Marshall household are concerned, June 3, 2003, might rank as one of the family's biggest ever. Twin brothers Brian and Sean Marshall, after stellar collegiate careers at Virginia Commonwealth University, were selected in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Brian went in the fifth round to the Red Sox, while Sean was taken by the Cubs in the sixth.
"My parents were pretty proud," Sean recalled. "It was kind of funny, though. We were listening to it on the radio at home. Teams would call ahead to tell you they were going to pick you. When the Red Sox took Brian, they said they were taking 'Marshall, a starting pitcher from VCU.' Well, I was the starter and Brian was a reliever. Obviously we are twins so we were joking that the Red Sox took the wrong player. Ten minutes later, the Cubs called and said they were taking me."
For several hundred young men, being drafted on June 7-9, will be the culmination of all the sweat and hard work poured into the batting cage or bullpen, the countless grounders and fly balls taken in practice.
"Yeah it was a fun day," Marshall said. "My parents took pictures and everything. Both Brian and I wanted to start playing right away, so we talked things over with our adviser. When the contracts came, we signed them right on the kitchen table."
In the month leading up to the draft, the scrutiny can become excruciatingly focused. Scouts evaluate everything from pitchers' velocities and hitters' swings, to the size of their hands, or width of their shoulders.
And the intensity of the spotlight has only increased over the years. Cubs farmhand Josh Vitters was selected by the Cubs as the third overall pick in the 2007 draft. Vitters was part of the first televised draft, after years on the radio, like when Marhsall was drafted just four years earlier.
Tyler Colvin said he paid little attention to criticism during the season or after he was selected. Colvin, for example, was deemed a "reach" by some baseball publications. "Going into the draft, I didn't really know where I was going to go. But I didn't pay much attention to what people were saying," recalled Colvin, who was taken 13th overall in 2006. "I was more concerned about helping Clemson into the College World Series."
After being taken by the Cubs, Colvin hit a walk-off grand slam against Oral Roberts in the CWS Super Regionals. Talk about making a good first impression.
Colvin was not heavily recruited coming out of North Augusta (S.C.) High School, but Xavier Nady was. As a senior at Salinas (Calif.) High School, Nady was a first team all-state player after hitting .719 with 12 home runs. Draft day was exciting for Nady the first time when he was taken by St. Louis in the fourth round in 1997. He didn't sign and went on to play baseball at Cal. When he was taken by the Padres in the second round of the 2000 draft, he was at home ... he thought.
"Honestly, I'm not sure where I was for the second time," Nady laughed. "Because I had been through it already in high school, it wasn't really that big of a deal. I just knew my adviser was going to update me and my parents on what to do. So for kids who are able to go through it in high school, getting drafted out of college isn't so nerve-wracking."
Colvin and his Clemson teammates watched the draft on MLB.com.
"When the day came, I heard there was a chance I might go early, so we set up a computer in the clubhouse and watched the first few rounds online," Colvin said. "Then we had to go practice."
Michael Huang is the editor of Vine Lines. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.