tried treating Monday like any other day. Though there were the constant text messages from everyone, it seemed, who he ever played against, played with, coached him, saw him bat once in Little League and from his adviser.
Cecchini tried to treat a day that most likely will change his life like any other day. Though there were Major League Baseball PR people tugging him here and there, shooting a commercial, taking him to lunch, scheduling his day to be winnowed down to the pinnacle—when his life did take a potentially drastic turn after hearing his name called with the 12th overall pick by the New York Mets.
The 6-foot-1½, 185-pound senior shortstop from Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
always prided himself with being unflappable. So when he woke up at 9:30 on Monday, June 4, the day of the MLB first-year player amateur draft he was determined to treat it like any other day.
"This is great, I'm kind of speechless right now, I have to let this all sink in," said Cecchini, after being the seventh high school player taken among the first 12 picks. "I'm completely numb right now. Playing in New York is where I always wanted to be. The Mets were showing interest in me, along with some other teams, but the Mets were on me a lot. I want to get my career started. I'm leaning towards signing, and I can't believe everything that's happened to me. I can't believe it."
Entering Monday's first round, Cecchini, who was one of four high school players invited to the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey with Carlos Correa (the first player taken overall by the Houston Astros), Courtney Hawkins and Clint Coulter, was being told by his adviser that it looked like he would go between the 10th to the 24th overall pick, which happened to be owned by the Boston Red Sox, who his older brother, Garin, plays for at the Class A level.
Cecchini has already committed to Mississippi on a baseball scholarship, but you get the feeling he wants to be a Met—and fast.
"The whole process is really surprising, because going in you don't know where you're going to go, and because of the new CBA rules, everything is budgeted and slotted down, so it's a lot different from years before, and the signing date has been moved up," said Gavin, whose family was invited to the hang out in the MLB studios back in May to sit in the makeshift dugout while the first round unfolded in front of them.
"I don't know all of the rules, but I'm not worried about them. The way I look at this is that I'm one step to being closer to living my dream. I want to get things started. When you first pick up a baseball as a little kid, it's always the dream to pick up a baseball and play in Yankee Stadium, to play one day in the World Series. Well, it isn't Yankee Stadium, but I get to play at Citi Field and get to play in New York, which has always been my dream."
One thing was for certain—he wasn't about to get too caught up with the swirl around him. Garin called his younger brother earlier Monday and told him to savor every second of it, to absorb each moment because reality was going to hit fast. Signability was a huge factor in dealing with each team that spoke with the Cecchinis.
"The way I've gone into this is that it is a win-win for me," Gavin said. "People look at it as a big decision, but either decision I win with, whether I sign or go to college. That's the way I see it. There are some kids out there that are hoping to get a college baseball scholarship and I already have something with Ole' Miss.
"Going in, we were getting asked about my signability with the new rules. They're trying to get players to sign way under budget; they want to sign guys they can get a little cheap. I realize a game I played because I loved it does become a little bit of a business. It becomes a man's world, and in a man's world, it is a business. It's a job and I know that because I have a brother that plays pro ball. Garin told me I better appreciate this time, because I won't be catered to until big league camp. Around 8:30 tonight things became a little different for me."