Draft days and Super Regionals at Ole Miss

While Ole Miss is preparing for another Super Regional this weekend, several players have been going through all the ups and downs that come with the MLB draft. Here's a closer look at some of them and their reactions as the draft for 2006 is now over.

The emotions of draft days.

Will Kline got drafted in the 39th round. I heard it on my XM in the car between trips to Swayze Field today. Did a double-take, or a double-listen in this case, I guess.

William Kline, the Houston Astros actually called him, as the announcement was made.

It's hard to listen to the draft. The names and schools and teams go on and on and on. Draftees are announced every 30 to 60 seconds through most of the rounds.

I wasn't paying attention at the time actually. I knew it was somewhere around the 40th round when I heard Kline's name. But I didn't even hear the organization that drafted him.

Will said he was in the outfield during practice and a couple of teammates yelled out to him he'd been drafted.

"They were like 'Man, you got taken in the 39th round' and I was like 'Cool,'" said Kline, who will start on the mound at 6 p.m. Saturday as the Rebels face Miami.

Don't worry. Will's not changing his mind. Next February he won't be wearing Houston colors. He'll be in the red and blue of Ole Miss.

Kline would likely have gone much higher had he not made his intentions known that he was staying in college for another year.

"I honestly don't know how it works," Kline said as to why he was drafted even after he made his annoucement. "It's late-round and they must say we'll pick this guy up anyway just in case or something. Just not real sure."

Or real worried at this point since all his attention is on pitching for Ole Miss now and next year.

But Houston did show him some attention, and he isn't surprised they called his name.

"They seemed like one of the organizations that was really interested," he said. "It's my first time to be drafted, so that made it pretty neat."

But not neat enough for him to even consider a change of mind - or as we found out on Monday a change of heart.


Then there's Justin Brashear. Drafted in the 44th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the third-year junior Rebel catcher tried not to show much disappointment, but there was some there. He felt like he would go higher.

"You always want to go as high as you can," said Brashear, drafted in 2003 in the 25th round out of high school by the Anaheim Angels. "It is a disappointment, certainly. But I still have excitement and a sense of gratitude to the Arizona Diamondbacks for giving me an opportunity to play professional baseball."

Brashear, who also heard at practice today that he was drafed, was noncommital on whether he would stay or go, and rightfully so. He has other things on his mind right now.

"I'm not worried about any of that until our season is over," he said. "I hope that's like in July and we're back from Omaha. I'll sit down then and figure out what the best situation for me is. If it works out I'll sign. If it doesn't I'll come back."

Brashear admitted it has been a long two days.

"I've been up in the air since like the 12th round yesterday," he said. "It's been pretty excruciating. I'd kinda said if it happens it happens, and if it doesn't then it wasn't meant to be. Now it's a sense of relief getting it over with."

Staying or going, Brashear has two good choices.

"I've been blessed with some ability and blessed with the opportunity to play here and hopefully to also play at the next level," he said. "It's a good siutuation for me and for my family and for everyone associated with me."

For now, it's all about Miami, and then hopefully Omaha. After that, Brashear will see what's in store for his future.


Tommy Baumgardner had his named called in the 28th round today by the Rockies. Talk about an emotional, mental, and physical roller coaster ride, that's been Baumgardner's season.

The senior lefty started as the Rebels' ace on Fridays in February. The last several weeks he has been in bascially the same role he was last season, relief work every few games.

Tommy's a guy who doesn't hide behind his emotions or avoid answering questions. He's personable and likable and it hasn't always been easy for him this season to talk with us about his pitching.

But today there was a smile and a demeanor from Tommy that was missing for a while. He admitted today before practice there were times the past couple of months that he doubted himself and his abilities. It was as if he is a wanted man again, in a good sort of way.

"Obviously it's something I've been thinking about," said Baumgardner, also drafted by the Angels in 2003 after his first year of junior college ball at Indian River CC in Ft. Pierce, Fla. "I was hoping it would happen. It's nice to have this happen after a tough year. I'm just happy to go."

Baumgardner heard before practice that his named had been called.

"I was eating lunch in the locker room," he said. "I looked down and had about 10 missed calls. Stoney Stone came up and told me. I was just so happy to go. After my season I'm pleased to go that early."


Mark Wright didn't get drafted. Can you believe that? I can't, not with them going through 50 rounds. I gotta believe the fourth-year junior is disappointed about that.

Of course the flip side for Ole Miss is this. How would it be having both the SEC Tournament MVP (Wright) and the 2006 Oxford Regional MVP (Brashear) back here next year? Now that would be special for the 2007 Rebels.

Other drafted Rebels were, of course, Chris Coghlan in the supplemental first round as the 36th pick, Garrett White in the sixth, and Alex Presley in the eighth.


Then there are the young guys. They're absorbing all this as they work their way someday toward being drafted.

Guys like true freshman Evan Button and redshirt freshman Logan Power. Both have played a lot this year, often in the same roles, like DH or left field.

It's the type environment and program they want to be in, and this week as much as anything else shows them they made the right choice for their futures.

"That's what I came down here for, to win and to play in Super Regionals and hopefully go to Omaha," said Button who, unlike other Rebel baseball players, excelled in hockey in high school and lettered three times in that sport. "To see Chris Coghlan go first round, I knew those opportunities were here, too."

Button wants to play infield. He's said that. It's a natural for the St. Louis native, especially the middle infield positions.

How about third base?

"I've thought about that," said a smiling Button.

The Rebel baseball guide shows Power lettered in football, basketball, and golf in high school, but no hockey. Too far south. Now it's all baseball for Power as he hopes to follow in the footsteps of some other Hillcrest alums.

"There's a tradition of a lot of great players who've come through here," Power said. "I know that because of the guys who came here from my high school. Seth Smith, Stephen Head, all those guys. It's been a good thing for me to follow."

Someday Power, maybe as soon as next season, his third in college, might have to keep a watch on draft day. But right now it's all about this weekend and keeping this season alive.

"Right now as a (redshirt) freshman I'm just out here playing my hardest every day," Power said. "We know we have another good shot at Omaha this year. We also know the fans are going to be here to help us. It's an awesome feeling."


An already crowded press area will be filled again this weekend. Miami is bringing not one, not two, but three radio broadcasts with them.

If you're a Hurricanes fan and live in metro Miami, listening to your team is not a problem. And you can listen in a couple of different languages as well.

Broadcasting the games back home from Oxford will be the Hurricanes' English radio network, the Hurricanes' Spanish radio network, and the Miami student campus station which has broadcast Hurricane baseball for 38 seasons.

The English broadcast will originate from inside the Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field press box, while the Spanish broadcast and the student broadcast will be in the outside press area below the enclosed press box.

So for those of you sitting within ear-shot, you may get an earful of both. Just bring your own radio and listen to the Rebel broadcast if you want to tune out the two Miami broadcasts that will originate from out in the nighttime Mississippi atmosphere.


The Friday schedule has the Rebels practicing at 1 p.m. and the Hurricanes at 2:45 p.m. on Swayze Field.

Ole Miss and Miami have only met in baseball one time, and the Hurricanes came out on top 5-2 to eliminate the Rebels from the the NCAA Regional played at Miami in 1977.

Ole Miss also won the SEC Tournament title that season (played in Oxford) and finished with a record of 39-19.

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