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Rome Braves: Classy Welcome for Newcomer

Moderator: Can’t read enough of this. Bravo, Rome Braves. Nice story, Alex!

Minor fits right in with Rome Braves
by Alex Farrer, Rome News-Tribune Sports Writer

9 hrs ago | 41 views | 0  | 0  |  | 

Mike Minor throws to the plate during a game with the Rome Braves. (Ken Caruthers/RN-T.com)

After Atlanta drafted Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor in the first round in June, the waiting began for the big lefty — and the Braves.

The negotiating process lasted until Aug. 6 when the two sides finally came to terms on a deal that awarded Minor the highest signing bonus of any Atlanta draft pick ever.

A few days later, Rome fans were thrilled to hear the news that Minor would be heading straight to the Class A affiliate to make his debut. Minor did just that on Thursday, pitching two scoreless innings and giving fans a little taste of what they could expect for the rest of this season and in the future.

On Saturday, the Braves’ top pick made time to sit down with the RN-T for a one-on-one interview. Among the topics discussed were his first appearance, the signing process and the pressure going along with being a high draft pick.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

RN-T: What was it like to finally get back on the mound in a competitive situation after more than two months since your last college appearance?

MINOR: Obviously, it was a great feeling. I’ve been waiting all summer for that. Usually every summer I’ve played USA ball and or been playing, so I haven’t had a summer off since I was like 12. It was a weird feeling being at home, but I got to do some stuff I haven’t really gotten to do like catch up with old friends.

I was pretty relaxed out there (Thursday night), rather than being nervous or worked up because the guys joke around a lot and it’s kind of a laid back atmosphere around here.

RN-T: What was the negotiating process like? Did you ever feel like the deal wasn’t going to get done?

MINOR: I kind of felt like that, but I had that same feeling out of high school when I got drafted by Tampa Bay and it never got done. This year, I really didn’t have that much of a demand, like some of the other top picks. Top 10 picks usually get over-slot. Mine was a little over, but not like the other guys. I told them what I wanted the day after the draft, and they told me it was going to get done, but they had to wait for the commissioner’s office. Some times I didn’t know what was going to happen, but it was a process I had to go through.

RN-T: After not signing with the Rays out of high school, do you feel more prepared now that you spent some years in college at Vanderbilt?

MINOR: Definitely, because I grew up as a person and an athlete. I got stronger and better. I’ve got better stuff now with two breaking balls. I throw a little bit harder now. I have more of an overall knowledge of the game, hitters and just how the game works. In high school I just went out and played the game, but now I have more of an idea about strategy.

RN-T: Do you feel any added pressure being the No. 7-overall pick and being awarded the record signing bonus?

MINOR: Pressure comes with that. You go out there and give up five runs within your first or second start, or even if I had given up one run the other day, everybody would have been like “who’s this guy?” or “they paid him way to much money.” But you can only be yourself, and can’t do anything more. You can’t throw a different pitch or throw harder. You just have to do the same thing you did in college and that’s why they picked me.

RN-T: How has the team received you and has there been any rookie hazing?
MINOR: Actually, I expected it and prepared to have a little bit, especially being a No. 1 pick. But all the guys are cool, and they embraced me right away. They hung out with me like I was a teammate right away and like they’ve known me forever. That’s how the younger guys are. I feel like the older group would be the bitter ones because they haven’t made it yet, and they would have had more of the hazing part. The coaches, the players and the staff has all embraced me well.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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