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Old 05-09-2007, 09:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
AZTarHeel
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The Major League amateur player draft wasn't like the NFL or NBA. There wasn't nearly as much glitz and glamour. No putting on a team's hat or holding up a jersey with the No. 1 on it in front of millions of TV viewers.

Part of that was because there were so many rounds and so many players. Part of it also was tradition. In time, when folks learned how to make money off the MLB draft, the Hollywood effect might take over. But for now, the draft was done on conference call, with teams given just a few minutes to make their selection.

Andrew and the army of friends, family and fans who had come to his farm on draft day would all be following the picks via the family's dial-up Internet connection and the ticker scrolling along the bottom of the ESPN News channel.

Zarzour was given a special cell phone by his agent, with a phone number only a select few folks in the baseball world knew. Andrew very well could be getting a phone call from a club at some point, asking him if he'd sign if they took him at such-and-such position for such-and-such a signing bonus. The agent would call in if he got any news or had advice.

Zarzour's bonus could end up being pretty hefty if he got picked in the first round. Then again, if teams got scared away by worries over his knees or his legitimacy as a real prospect, he'd be lucky to even get a small bonus.

Just before the picks began rolling in, Andrew called his two best friends into his room, which was filled with posters of all sorts of ball players, including one of his current heroes, Randy Johnson of the Seattle Mariners.

"I wanted to give you guys these as a gift," he said, offering each a wrapped box the exact same size. "This way we can keep in touch and stay close no matter where life takes us."

Brandon and Robbie unwrapped the crudely wrapped packages to discover new laptops inside.

"Already preloaded with a year's worth of Internet access on it," Andrew said. "And I bought you guys licenses for the new version of OOTP that just came out. I even downloaded the latest roster sets, team logos and photo packs. Just make sure when you put me into your game, to make my ratings five-star, OK?"

Tucked inside each laptop case was a soft-bound edition of Zarzour's latest favorite book, The Base Ball Life of Patrick O'Farrell. His own copy was in tatters it had been read so many times.

The friends did their usually "cool guy" handshakes and high-fives after the gift exchange, then even hugged briefly (hoping of course no one else saw them).

"Dude, what are we doing in here. Let's go get you drafted!" Brandon said. "My Red Sox need some pitching..."
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