LSU’s Kevin Gausman was the fourth overall pick and the first pitcher taken in the most recent Major League draft. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 8:26 PM
This may indeed be a milestone for modern civilization, hope for the future generations dealing with an increasingly complex and mostly digital world fraught with rumor, innuendo and more and more Twitter.
This could be the day we look back on with pride, the turning point when we all rose up and took back our lives.
Finally, we see an offhand comment seemingly designed almost specifically to attract “hits” and “likes” and “retweets” galore, and yet it didn’t grow quite legs and never really went viral and, for that matter, it raised hardly a hopeful eyebrow even on LSU message boards.
And this is the SLOW news season!
Yes, mankind has a fighting chance after all.
Maybe you heard about it anyway.
It “slipped” out Monday night that LSU’s Kevin Gausman, the fourth overall pick and the first pitcher taken in the most recent Major League draft, was “seriously considering” returning to school for another season with the Tigers.
On the surface, this could mean one of several things:
1.) It’s a negotiating ploy by Gausman in his dealings with the Baltimore Orioles.
2.) Gausman really, really loves LSU and can’t bear the thought of leaving the Tigers without a trip to Omaha under his belt.
3.) Getting that degree that he’s working on in sports administration is, deep down, more important to Gausman than making it to the Major Leagues.
4.) At some point last season, apparently when no one was looking, Gausman got bonked square in the head with a line drive, rendering him even more senseless than most 21-year-olds.
What he is weighing — what “is turning out to a be a tough decision,” as he’s quoted as saying on the New Orleans Times-Picayune web site — is whether to come pitch another year for the Tigers or accept roughly $4.2 million from the Orioles.
If that’s a tough decision, he must really love him some Tigers. Or else that was a really nasty shot to the head.
This is not a tough decision. The way the draft works these days, there’s not really a lot of negotiating to be ploying with here.
His slot in the draft, the fourth overall selection, has, Major League Baseball decreed, a suggested value of a $4.2 million bonus.
Whatever negotiating they do up or down from that is basically nickels and dimes.
The bit about loving his school and the crazy fans and his good-buddy teammates sounds good, and no doubt he’s had a pleasant experience far from his Centennial, Colo., home.
But let’s be real. We’re talking upwards of $4 million.
It was a surprise that LSU got two years out of him to begin with. High school players drafted in the sixth round, as Gausman was, don’t often make it to college.
He’s already being used as an example of the value of a (partial) college career by improving that many spots in the draft in the two years since he left high school
And now he’s pondering turning down the pros again?
Even head coach Paul Mainieri, who’s gotten his feelings hurt a few times in the past over kids opting to play “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” instead of pitching for books and board, was quick to downplay the tantalizing Gausman revelations.
Mainieiri went to the trouble of sending out his own statement Monday night when this story was first stirring up some dropped jaws.
“Any reports portraying his return to LSU as definite are premature,” Mainieri said. “This is a monumental decision in Kevin’s life and, as much as we’d like him back with us, we also want him to do what is in his best interest.”
For the record, the deadline for Gausman to sign is 4 p.m. Friday; otherwise he’s still a Tiger. I doubt Mainieri will be checking his watch. If form holds, pen will touch dotted line at approximately 3:57 p.m. or thereabouts.
Even though Gausman is in a different negotiating spot than most, at best he could only improve his slot by three places next season.
He was eligible for the draft now as a sophomore because he turned 21 in January. Otherwise it’s a player’s junior year, and most juniors go then because they do have the threat of returning to school on their side of the negotiating table. If they wait until after their senior year, they pretty much have to take what the pros are willing to give them. Where else are they going to play? The beer-belly softball league?
But Gausman, as a draft-eligible sophomore, could actually hang school over them next year, too, and ... and, it’s still $4.2 million he’d be passing up and not really worth fantasizing about.
It’s a nothing story.
The truly encouraging part is that the Internet, maybe for the first time, recognized this from the beginning, and didn’t really try to make something out of nothing — such as high school 7-on-7 football camps.
LSU’s message boards all but ignored the possibility of a Gausman return, perhaps wisened by years of getting their hopes up (and then dashed) right up until the deadline. Twitter did not go all aflutter.
So let us wish young Gausman well with his dreams and his millions.
He leaves as one of the Tigers’ best-ever pitchers. And he leaves behind a better Internet world than he found.