Monday, June 05, 2006

Calm Before the Storm

Considering today is the day before the draft, it's been relatively calm. All the cross-checkers, our scouting director, and the GM were traveling back to the mother ship as I like to call it. Our owner, Angus Hunt, likes to be an active participant in the draft, so he'll also have a reserved seat around the conference table. I heard he was flying back from Russia this morning after attending an auction which offered a rare art collection from the 18th century. Actually, I'm sure it was his wife's doing. Angus doesn't strike me as a Russian art collector but I could be wrong.

As for me, I made my rounds over the weekend. Held a final workout in central Florida on Saturday and was in south Florida on Sunday. These workouts were only for top prospects. I had several retired players run the workouts so that I could entice some of the top prospects to actually attend. It worked great. It gave me one last opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the prospects and their parents just in case our next meeting is at the negotiating table.

I've been on the phone pretty much non-stop with other prospects to confirm their signability. I had two kids come clean about past injuries. I also had a couple kids tell me straight up that they're not ready for pro ball and will be accepting scholarships to play college. It happens every year at the last minute. Cold feet are to be expected. It's a huge decision and I don't hold back in letting them know what to expect if they sign. But some kids aren't so direct in their communications. If a kid is still unsure at this point, I'd rather him play college. Let's put it this way, today I made several calls to DeSear letting him know to take several players off the board because they simply lacked the sincerity and confidence in communicating that they wanted to play pro ball. It sounds strange but if I'm not sold that he's ready to hop on a bus and begin his minor league journey to make it to the Big Show, I'm taking him off the board. Granted, you have your draft-and-follow situations, but for the most part, I'm taking him off the board.

But one thing is for certain. I'm going to be extra busy tomorrow and the next several weeks. I have four phone lines in my home office. One line will be connected to the conference room at the mother ship. It'll be on mute so I can hear all the draft selections and war room chatter but they won't be able to hear me. Another line will be dedicated to receiving calls from DeSear or Logan in case they need to discuss matters one-on-one. The other two lines will be for calling prospects, draftees, Goldie or Carson. And then there's my cell phone if everything happens to light up.

So what ever you do, make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened. The next couple weeks will be quite a ride.

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