The MLB Draft is all about picking up the future stars of tomorrow today, but it's also about a collection of teenagers who will make you feel ancient, like a once magnificent stone edifice collapsing in a jungle as vines creep up and surround it. This year's draft, which started last night, didn't disappoint in terms of players who will deepen your wrinkles and find you picking out gray hairs in a frenzy, wondering where your misspent youth has gone.
First up: Reds draft pick Jeter Downs, an 18-year-old shortstop from Florida—and yes, he's named after Derek Jeter.
"When he came into the Major Leagues [in 1995], he was the name. He was the thing. He was shining," Downs explained. "It was 'Jeter this, Jeter that.' It was actually my Mom's idea. My brother got Jerry from my Dad [Jerry Sr.]. It was my Mom's turn to pick a name since I was a second child. She just fell in love with Jeter and the way he played, his humbleness, how he carried himself on and off the field."
A friendly reminder that the Reds passed on drafting the original Jeter with the No. 5 pick back in 1992 and went with the immortal Chad Mottola; the Yankees snagged Jetes with the next pick at No. 6. At least Cincinnati finally got its Jeter-monikered man 25 years later.
Next, here's Giants pick and Arizona high school outfielder Jacob Gonzalez, the son of Diamondbacks star and 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez.
Luis Gonzalez was playing professional baseball just nine years ago.
And let's cap it off with the dust-inducing knowledge that Royals second-round draft pick Joe Dunand, out of North Carolina State, is the nephew of the one and only Alex Rodriguez.
“It feels like just yesterday he was down in Tampa or at Yankee Stadium, and I was throwing him batting practice when he was 10, 11, 12 years old,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview. “And here he is now right on the steps of hopefully what is a long career for him.”
“All the time—I’ll text him, call him if I ever need anything,” said Dunand, whose father Joe Dunand Sr. is A-Rod’s half-brother. “Even my dad, he’s like a sponge with him, too. They hang out a lot. I talk to them both, and it’s a good resource for me to have. It definitely helps that I have that, and rarely anybody has that. He’s one of the best players ever, so I’m a lucky guy.”
There are more players who are draft eligible and will have you looking in the mirror and wondering where those crow's feet came from: Tom Glavine's son, Dusty Baker's son, Roger Clemens' two youngest sons. There is no defeating the passage of time. Enjoy the draft!