Draft quintet hits Fan Cave before big night
Top pick Correa among stars of 'Call Me Maybe' video meme
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- First they went to the MLB Fan Cave on Monday afternoon and rode on a bus through Manhattan -- five of Major League Baseball's newest prospects taping a music video meme of the Harvard baseball team's viral "Call Me Maybe" clip. Then they had dinner at the hotel with MLB legends, and then came to MLB Network's Studio 42, met Yankees ace CC Sabathia, and prepared for the moment that would change their lives.
This was something new and something big for the First-Year Player Draft: Multiple first-round picks on hand to get that cap from Commissioner Bud Selig and share the fun with some family and friends. Shortstop Carlos Correa sat in the third-base dugout and immediately hugged his family and then hugged the Commissioner twice as he was named the surprise top overall selection. Correa was there with fellow shorsttop Gavin Cecchini, catcher Clint Coulter, outfielder Courtney Hawkins and pitcher Andrew Heaney, and for all of them it was a day they never would forget.
"It was awesome," said Cecchini, whose older brother Garin was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round in 2010 and is playing in that organization now. "All of us were really anxious for the Draft, nervous to see where we are going to get picked, and it kind of loosened us up a little bit and doing the little dances and playing music. We got the video done on the second try, so obviously it was somewhat good. I hope people like it."
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Hawkins said. "No matter what happens, wherever we go, I'm pretty sure everyone is going to be happy. Most players only get drafted one time. To be here at the site is amazing. Getting that invite and knowing how hard I worked to get here, I decided to take advantage of that and get the most out of this."
Talking to the players as they headed for their seats in the dugout to await the Commissioner's reading of the first-round selections, each of them said there was never a question about being here. There was one potential Draft pick on hand for the first round in two of the last three years, including Mike Trout in 2009; Trout was chosen by the Angels and is currently thriving in the big leagues.
"We wanted to be here with our families to enjoy the moment live on TV. I hope all of us does well in the Draft," Correa said. "To be there during the day was awesome, to meet everybody down there and see what they have in the Fan Cave. Then you have the Draft. I just feel happy and am enjoying the moment."
"Whenever you get to come to one of the best cities in the world, New York -- everyone wants to come to New York -- and the way MLB treats us, it's all first-class. It really is," Cecchini said. "I would think everyone wants to be here to show up at the Draft."
Peter Woodfork, MLB senior vice president of baseball operations, said it was a breakthrough for MLB and cited NCAA eligibility as one hindrance in the past.
"It's difficult. It's not like football, basketball or even hockey -- we have a Draft that's in-season for a lot of players, college players, high school players just ended," Woodfork said. "Obviously, players want to make sure they don't do anything to risk their NCAA eligibility. To bring a lot of their family members, it's something that we can't do, but for those five players who came, I think it's important. It shows a step they are taking, that they want to come to the Draft and be a part of it. It's really great for the game, it's great for the Draft, and you get to see the stars of the future, first-hand, here at the Draft, so it's a good thing."
At the Fan Cave, the five players sat on the couch in front of the 15-screen Cave Monster and were shown the Harvard video on multiple screens. Then they went upstairs to rehearse a bit, and then they were led onto the bus out front to drive through the area and do their thing. The video was produced by P3 Entertainment for MLBFanCave.com.
"It was something I'm not used to," Hawkins said. "My brother [Tim] was the 'sleeper' in back of the bus. He was making fun of me about having to do it, and all of a sudden he ends up having to be the sleeper, and I made fun of him about having to do it. People know I don't usually do stuff like that, so a lot of people are going to watch it and get a kick out of it."
Heaney, the left-hander from Oklahoma State who emulates Cliff Lee's style, said the five prospects "were all a little shell-shocked at first that we were making a video, I guess, but it was fun."
Coulter had arrived in New York at 6 a.m. ET on Monday, taking a redeye flight from Los Angeles with his father, Cliff. They joined up with Clint's mother Sherry and his 21-year-old brother Michael, and then adrenaline took over.
"It's kind of a conclusion to a kind of long haul," Cliff said. "The last couple of weeks have been pretty intense. We've gone to all the pre-Draft workouts. In the L.A. area, we worked out for the Padres, Twins and the Cardinals. Then we flew up and went to the Mariners, then the Brewers in Wisconsin, and then flew back over to L.A., and here we are now. We're ready to turn the page here, whether it's signing to play [in the Majors] or go to Arizona State. We're ready to do something different."
It was definitely something different at the 2012 Draft.
"It was a good time," Clint said. "We got out there and rehearsed the video and actually got it on the second take. I was surprised that we are pretty good actors. They told us we could lip-synch so that was good for all of us that I didn't have to sing.
"As for being here, never a doubt. Just being considered in the top 60 picks, those who are invited is a huge honor. I'm just really grateful for the opportunities I've been given."