06/08/10 3:35 AM ET
Quiet Choice relishes big league opportunity
College slugger selected with 10th overall pick by Oakland
By Chris Cox / MLB.com
With family, friends and teammates chatting with one another while the First-Year Player Draft went on, Choice sat quietly, his eyes fixated on the names popping up on his screen.That never changed, even after he saw his own name pop up as the 10th overall pick in the Draft of the Oakland Athletics. With everyone yelling and screaming around him, Choice just sat in silence with a smile. "I don't really usually show my emotions that much, so it was kind of hard to tell," Choice said. "But I was definitely nervous inside once it got down to it and Bud Selig started picking people." It was tougher for his father, Charles Choice, who choked back his words as he spoke of his son's latest accomplishment. "I'm just so ... so proud ... so happy," Choice said as he fought back tears. "I'm just really happy for him because every little kid wants to be a Major League Baseball player. He loves the game and plays it so hard. "Oakland has a good player. They'll see that real soon." It was the end to a stressful few days for Choice, who spent Sunday finding ways to pass the time as he waited to hear where he would play his professional baseball. Choice said he went to the baseball fields at the University of Texas at Arlington during the day to pass the time along. That night, he went to the movies. "It helped me sleep a little bit, because by the time I got home I was tired," Choice said. "I was able to go right to sleep.
"I went to see Splice. It was kind of weird," he said with a laugh.
No matter how weird it may have been, Choice's mother said she thought it helped calm her son's nerves as the hours drew closer to the Draft. "He had a nervous day yesterday," Charea Choice said. "He went to the movies last night to kind of relax. This morning he woke up himself. I was teasing him, 'You wait 'til the day before to get nervous?'"If he was nervous, no one would have ever known it. "I'm usually not the type to get too excited, but I am inside," Choice said. "But your heart just starts beating heavier and heavier, just waiting to hear your name called. So just to hear my name called was a relief." But even throughout all the uncertainty that Choice faced as the first nine teams passed on him, he had a feeling that the Athletics would be his newest home even before they called his name. "My first thought, I knew," Choice said. "I felt like I knew in my head that it was where I was going to go. It wasn't like the other picks where I wasn't sure." And now the Athletics have a player who doesn't pride himself on either his power or speed, but rather his work ethic. "They're going to get a hard worker, somebody that's going to be dedicated to their job," Choice said. "I'm going to push through as far as I can to get to the top. If I get that far, I'm going to work harder and try to be the best I can be at that level." And now that it's all over, he'll be able to get more sleep than he did the day before. "Tonight I'm going to sleep good," Choice said with a laugh. "I'll probably fall asleep at like eight."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.