Notice something missing from the first year player draft last night? Players! Every big time prospect was invited to attend the MLB Draft last night. High school outfielder Mike Trout out of Millville, NJ was the only one to accept and was eventually showered with praise from the gathered media storm inside the MLB Network studios. After sitting on his hands in the faux dugout of Studio 42 for two hours, Trout was finally selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Angelheim at pick number 25 and became the only player on the night lucky enough to shake hands with an actual vampire.
Immediately after the pick, Harold Reynolds singled Mike out and saluted him for being the only prospect brave enough to show up, despite the fact that many of the amateurs are still actively participating in the College World Series. In his words, when prompted by Victor Rojas for final thoughts from the first round:
"The moment I'll always remember was Mike Trout. That was the moment I'll always remember. The draft is for the kids. They need to be here."
But really, with the MLB Studios just a two hour drive up the New Jersey Turnpike, why is this a surprise? Was MLB footing the bill for prospects to attend the draft, flying in the top guys from all around the country? Doubtful. Maybe Harold Reynolds should personally invite the kids next year and put 'em up in the Royal Motel and take 'em out to the local Boston Market.
Yes, encouraging more players to show up for the draft will improve the drama during the show, but these are mostly high school kids with a non-existent Q-rating. The MLB Draft will never approach the televised excitement of the NBA or NFL amateur drafts only because amateur baseball, unlike college football or college basketball, is not a cash cow in this country. Besides, being drafted in baseball does not automatically thrust a player into the spotlight. It might be years before a drafted player makes it to the bigs, unlike football or basketball without their own minor league systems.
Even the most ardent baseball fans just aren't aware of the young'uns and won't need to be aware for years to come, so throwing the unknowns on cable TV won't necessarily make folks switch away from I Love the 70s on VH1. So kudos to Mike Trout for showing up in Secaucus, but it's going to be a while before we see you again on the telly. If at all.