Baseball draft family affair for Spring Valley product


The best days to be part of a family, it would seem, are Thanksgiving, Christmas and the day one is chosen in the first round of the major league draft.

It was a few minutes past 6 p.m. Monday when the Colorado Rockies made Uncle Tio and Aunt Linda and Uncle Keenan and Grandpy and 12 other aunts and uncles and 23 cousins their first-round pick in the baseball draft.

At least that's what it felt like, for these are Tyler Anderson's peeps.

"It's exciting to see all of my family so excited," said the unassuming Anderson, who might be inclined to talk about himself were one to put a JUGS gun to his head.

Gerrit Cole, a right-handed pitcher from UCLA, was the first player selected; Anderson, a left-handed pitcher from Las Vegas' Spring Valley High School and the University of Oregon, the 20th.

"I'd like to point out that Tyler beat him at UCLA in 2010," Keenan Raftery, Tyler's eccentric uncle, bellowed after commissioner Bud Selig called Cole's name first.

The Mariners picked and the Diamondbacks picked and the Orioles picked and the Nationals picked and the Diamondbacks picked again and the Indians picked and then the Cubs picked Javier Baez, a high school shortstop from Florida. I told one of the aunts that Tyler should consider himself fortunate it wasn't the Cubs, if winning mattered.

The Padres, Astros, Brewers, Mets, Marlins and Brewers again went on and off the clock, as the air grew thick with the fragrance of Uncle Tio's marinated spare ribs.

The Dodgers had the 16th pick, the Angels the 17th. The aunts and uncles and cousins began to gather around the flat screen, because the West Coast teams generally like to take West Coast players, they said.

They didn't take Tyler.

By this time, you could see the stress in the tight smiles of Tyler's mom, Mary, and dad, John.

Mary is a bartender; John a construction superintendent and a former catcher who spent a season with Jamestown of the New York-Penn League and another with Magdalena de Kino Sonora of the Mexican League.

I learned their baseball-playing son is named for Las Vegan Tyler Houston, who in 1989, the year Tyler Anderson was born, was selected No. 2 overall by the Atlanta Braves.

And then the Rockies were on the clock, and then the commissioner made it official.

Tyler Anderson, the big kid with the 92 mph heater, show-me curve, effective slider, wicked changeup and aw-shucks attitude, thanked the aunts and uncles and all those cousins for coming, fully aware that he was surrounded by those who loved and admired him, perhaps not as fully aware that were it not for Tyler Houston's ability to hit a baseball, he came this close to being called "Eric."

THREE UP

■ Every time there is a major league baseball draft, I like to mention Las Vegan Mike Morgan, because he was one of only 21 players to go straight from the draft to the big leagues, and that seems difficult. Five days after being selected fourth in 1978, 18-year-old Morgan made his debut with the Oakland Athletics, throwing a complete game in a 3-0 loss to the Orioles.

■ I was on the fence about the Mountain West's new logo, until somebody compared it to the White Castle hamburgers logo. And so now I join Harold and Kumar in giving it a big thumbs-up.

■ The Mtn. -- the Mountain West's sports network -- has received nine Emmy Award nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Heartland Chapter. This is where I like to point out that even Norman Greenbaum got it right once.

THREE DOWN

■ Small issue: Las Vegas' Bryce Harper throwing a kiss at a minor league baseball pitcher who, according to reports, first taunted him. Larger issue: Bryce Harper growing a minor league mustache that makes him look like Russ Wheeler in "Days of Thunder."

■ Now that plans to build not one, not two but three sports stadiums adjacent to Mandalay Bay have been scuttled, one suspects the bedpans used as inspiration for the artist's rendering will bring a pretty penny on eBay.

■ To take the new Mountain West-White Castle logo to another level, it cost commissioner Craig Thompson $250,000 to "rebrand" the league. For $250,000, one could buy 471,696 Original Sliders (at the average price of $.53) -- and still have enough left over for a small Coke to wash 'em all down.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.

 

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