Inside The Draft Room
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Getting Your Guy
The White Sox selected left-handed pitcher Aaron Poreda of the University of San Francisco with the 25th pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. (see our press release on whitesox.com for details).
Aaron was our guy, and the room was filled with excitement and congratulations after the pick.
Some random observations, comments and thoughts from inside the White Sox draft room …
… to set the stage, the room is rectangular with a large conference table that seats around 12. On one wall are two boards. The first has all of the players we are interested in drafting, arranged by likely round, position, etc. The second board has the draft order of teams through the first five rounds. As a player is selected, his little magnetic card is moved from one board to the other.
On the other wall are the rosters of 29 teams plus a depth-chart like list of our roster. Anytime KW refers to his long-range roster plannning, he is referring to this chart and wall. At one short end of the room is the door and a large flat-screen TV, while a smaller TV is up in the opposite corner.
Because today was televised by ESPN2, a tripod and camera sat in the corner, showing half of the room.
About 16 White Sox front office staff, scouts and player development folks filled the room, including KW, Rick Hahn, David Wilder and Duane Shaffer, our director of scouting. Jerry Reinsdorf arrived for our first pick.
With 5 minutes between pick and not picking until 25, our afternoon was a case of waiting, watching TV, rooting for the right picks ahead of us and eating snacks: twizzlers and beef jerky being the preference this year (nince combo, huh).
As our turn came closer, a buzz enveloped the room and the chatter picked up. Ozzie Guillen and Don Cooper stopped by to lighten the mood. Coop came in sweating.
"What’s wrong, Coop," someone asked.
"I just finished my walk," he said.
"What, from the clubhouse," came the retort to laughs.
With each pick came a fist pump as we sat hoping no one ahead of us chose Aaron.
Then came our pick.
Andrew Pinter called Roland Hemond and Chet Lemon, our representatives at the draft in Orlando, with the name. They handed it over to MLB and soon the Commissioner made the announcement.
Aaron is from the Bay Area and played at the University of San Francisco. We selected him just before the A’s had the 26th pick. I wonder if they would have chosen the lefty. I guess we won’t be in Billy’s next book. Maybe he’ll be in ours …
After the pick, KW and Shaffer went into Kenny’s office to call Aaron and I tagged along. They reached him on his cell phone to congratulate him and welcome him to the White Sox. It sounded like Aaron was at the biggest celebration party ever. You could hardly hear him over the roar.
I hopped on the call and told Aaron we would arrange a conference call with media later in the day (5 pm actually), and then headed out to the dugout with Shaffer where he met the media to talk about Aaron.
One humorous aside from the day involved Draft Room Envy.
As ESPN2 showed the various draft rooms around baseball, the room reacted. Everyone was laughing and joking comparing layouts, computers, televisions and accommodations.
Someone said, with a smart-aleck tone …
"Ours is the most unimpressive room we’ve seen today."
And no, he wasn’t talking about the people in the room. Save it.
Thanks, Loyal Reader
So I’m sitting next to KW in the draft room and he starts reading my blog from the other day outloud off his cell phone.
"Oh, God," I say. "Here we go."
The mocking continues and he hands the phone to Rick Hahn to read.
"I didn’t know you were a loyal reader," I countered.
"Is this off the record?" KW said.