This week Team Living90045 welcomes a particularly special guest post from Catherine Galanti. Would you like to write for us? More info here.
The 2017 MLB Amateur Draft marks an exciting event for MLB fans, staff and prospective players. This week, the best high school and college players from around the country were selected to begin their professional careers in the organizations of major league teams. Did you miss it? No worries! I had the chance to get an inside look at what the draft is really like.
Recently, I got to talk to Cassidy Brown, a catcher who was selected in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. Brown was selected from LMU by the Cincinnati Reds. He currently plays for the Reds’ Class A affiliate, the Dayton Dragons.
Between innings at an LMU baseball game, I got to catch up with Cassidy while he was in Arizona this past March for Spring Training.
Q. First off, how did it feel when you first found out you had been drafted?
A. It was probably one of the better feelings I’ve ever had. Just to have all that hard work and dedication pay off was really cool. I was at home with my family when I found out. I got a text from my agent. He said “Yeah, you just got drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.” I didn’t even know yet! There wasn’t too much to say, not immediately. Everything went so fast. Definitely one of the best moments I’ve ever had.
Q. Was it something you were expecting? Was there a thought like “You know, sometime during the process I’ll probably get a call” or was it totally a surprise?
A. Well … I thought there was a good chance, yeah. I felt pretty good about how I’d played that year, and in the summer before that. I figured there was a pretty good possibility that I could get picked up. I didn’t know when it was going to be, who it would be by, but I was waiting on it a little bit. But when it really did come, it was still pretty exciting.
Q. Was there any added significance from getting drafted by Cincinnati? I know that you grew up in the area, and that was your team as a kid. Was there a difference for you to get to start your professional career with a team you grew up watching?
A. Of course. I mean it didn’t really matter to me before the draft. It could be any team, it could be the Dodgers, whoever. I didn’t go in hoping for any team in particular, I just wanted to get picked up. But yeah, I grew up a Reds fan, my parents are Reds fans, I rooted for them as I grew up. I rooted for the Reds more so than the Indians, even though we lived more in the Cleveland area. It was pretty cool as a Reds fan to go to “my” team. I know a lot about them, probably a lot more than most of the guys in the locker room! So, I know all the greats, I know about the Big Red Machine and all of the history. Just to be a part of the organization that you kind of rooted for your whole life is pretty sweet.
Q. What has this past year been like for you? It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since the draft already! What’s changed, and what’s stayed the same?
A. I like to think it’s stayed the same for the most part. It’s just kind of like a long, long travel ball season. (Laughs) It’s been good. This past season was what they call a “short season,” so that’s basically a half season. This last year was obviously my first year, my first spring training, so it’s a little bit to get used to. The experience has been exactly what I’ve hoped for, though. It’s filled with hard work, and you’ve gotta have a plan. To be successful, it doesn’t come without working hard. That’s what I try to do anyway, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I just try and show up every day- and it literally is every day for the next ten months. But that’s what I signed up for. I work hard, and hope for the best. It’s been great, really. I love it.
Q. What does a typical day look like for you?
A. A typical day, hmm. For catchers, it’s a little different from the rest of the team. It’s a little earlier, and it can be a little later too. First of all, I wake up. My alarm goes off at 6:20. So, I get up at 6:20, at least open my eyes for the first time. Hit snooze, go back to sleep for ten minutes. So I end up actually getting out of bed at 6:30. Get up at 6:30, drive about ten minutes to the facility and get my gear on. Early work for the catchers is at 7:15. We do about a 30 minute early work session, then go inside and get breakfast. After breakfast, we start stretching with the team at 9:00. Right now (early March) it’s pitchers and catchers only. So, we work with the pitchers, catching bullpens, running drills, that sort of thing. We just want to make sure we’re all on the same page, so we’re ready to actually play. After all that, we just hit batting practice. Right now, I’m there until about 1 or 2, so it’s a shorter day at the moment. As we get further into March, the big leaguers are playing games every day. We’ll start actually playing games around the second week in March, so that will keep up there a little bit longer. Right now we don’t have to play, so we’re just focusing on training and working everything out.
Q. Now, playing professional baseball, that’s pretty much every kid’s dream. That said, is there a hardest part, or your least favorite part?
A. Yeah, we’re definitely living the dream out here because all we have to worry about on a daily basis is, well, baseball. Other people have to worry about way more important things than we do. If I had to say something was my least favorite, I would probably say getting up. You know, getting up early, working hard. You get used to it eventually. In comparison to what we get to do every day, it’s not so bad. (Laughs) There’s nothing really bad. You work hard, and you work a lot, but there’s no “bad” part of playing baseball.
Q. Is there any advice you would give to a high school or college athlete who is trying to continue their career through professional baseball?
A. Don’t change anything. A lot of people try to be people they aren’t. They try to be bigger than themselves, and they try and do things they just aren’t capable of. You just gotta be yourself. That’s what I did to give myself the opportunity, and it worked out. Luckily I’ve been successful so far! And work hard too. Like I said, there’s nothing that can replace hard work. A lot of guys are talented, but if you don’t put the work in, talent will only go so far. Just work hard, be on time and do what’s right, and you’ll be alright.
It seems Cassidy’s hard work has certainly paid off. Since I interviewed him in March, Brown has collected 2 home runs, 4 extra-base hits, 12 RBI and 2 stolen bases with the Dayton Dragons.
Becoming a professional athlete is, for lack of a better word, life-changing. This year, several LMU baseball players had the chance to join Cassidy and countless others in the quest to make it to the Majors. Pitcher Cory Abbott was selected by the Cubs in the second round, as the 67th pick overall. He was the highest drafted player out of LMU since the 2000 season. Pitcher Harrison Simon was also selected by the Padres, in the 24th round, and 2nd baseman Phil Caulfield was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 32nd round.
Congratulations to Cory, Harrison and Phil, and good luck to them, Cassidy and all the players working to continue their professional careers!