June 7, 2010
By Josh Bowe for utamavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - His eyes were watering. His face remained still.
After hearing the selection of Michael Choice, 10th overall pick to the Oakland Athletics, Choice held back for one brief moment before the smile came through.
As did the celebration.
Choice's long Major League wait is over as the All-American centerfielder for UT Arlington was finally picked by the Oakland Athletics 10th overall in the 2010 MLB draft Monday night.
"I don't usually show my emotions that much, so it's hard to tell," Choice said. "But I was excited. And definitely a little nervous."
The day was the culmination of a lot of hard work, sweat and most importantly, patience for the entire Choice family, not just Michael.
"When you finally get selected it just kind of stops," Choice said. "The anticipation I guess, you see the mock drafts and see your name in eight different spots. To finally see where you're going to go...it's a huge relief."
Media members arrived at Choice's parent's house, Charles and Charea, in Grand Prairie as early as 3 p.m. Monday afternoon. The house continued to fill up right until the 6 p.m. draft start time as four television crews, over seven reporters and countless family, friends, coaches and players piled into the living room.
The entire day was just one big celebration not just for Choice, but his entire family. The house was filled with blue and orange balloons, for UTA, and the kitchen was stocked with plenty of food for all the guests.
For a majority of the day, Choice just wanted to pass the time faster as he was anxious to find out where his life was headed.
"When I first woke up I thought `What can I do to make time go by a little quicker?," Choice said. "So I ran some errands for my family. Played some video games with my cousins and my closest friends."
Once the draft started Choice took center stage in the living room as he was being set up with an earpiece and microphone to talk to the 2010 MLB Draft hosts in the New Jersey studios with MLB Network.
"You look calm," one TV man said as Choice was fitting in his earpiece.
"I'm trying," Choice replied with a smile.
Once the draft was underway Choice had to wait just over an hour as his name was called at 7:01 p.m. No one in the house was worried when picks one through nine came and gone because most experts slotted Choice somewhere between 8-11, with the Blue Jays (No. 11) and Reds (No. 12) wishfully hoping Choice would fall past Oakland which didn't happen.
After his name was called it seemed the weight was lifted off his entire family's shoulders. Charles Choice, his farther, was absolutely speechless even after the initial shock had passed.
"Unbelievable," an emotional Charles said. "I'm just happy for him. He's worked so hard."
Michael even got a smooch from his other biggest fan - his mother Charea.
"Yeah I did," Michael said. "She was definitely probably more excited than I was.
Michael remained as cool as he ever was while donning the Maverick uniform. Choice entertained the reporters and TV crews some more during his first official press conference as a MLB draft pick.
"It's going to be tough," Choice said of his future. "I have friends who have done it and they just say keep working hard with perseverance."
UTA coach Darin Thomas was one of the many in the Choice household. But he didn't want to take any credit for Choice's miraculous three years in Arlington. He just wanted to show support for a former player and friend.
"It has nothing to do with me," Thomas said. "He's done so much for our program and had such a good career I'm just here to support him and his family.
"It was a really good fit for us for three years. Now we're all extremely happy and pulling for him."
The only way the perfect day could have had an extra perk would have been if Choice fell down five more slots at number 15 to the Texas Rangers. Choice has been a lifelong fan of the team and certainly isn't complaining about being drafted.
In fact, he's happy he gets to play in the American League West, the same division as the Rangers.
"It's kind of a business vs. pleasure kind of thing," Choice said. "Hopefully I can take it to them."
Earlier Choice mentioned he ran errands for his parents - like going to the grocery store - before the draft. With an MLB top 10 pick contract heading his way, Choice expects those errands for his family will be much grander - not that he minds one bit.
"I think so," Choice said with a laugh. "But I don't mind. They've taken care of me."