HUDSON, Mass. -- One hundred and twenty some-odd faces, old and young, huddled around the 50-inch flatscreen television in the living room of Eric Cressey's house, as his most sought-after high school client sat patiently waiting for his name to be called on the MLB Network's live first round draft telecast.
For years, Tyler Beede honed his craft just a stone's throw from this house in the woody east side of Hudson, at Cressey's renowned training facility, a spacious warehouse-like setting known for developing dozens of minor leaguers and top high school prospects. And now, the Lawrence Academy righthander and Auburn native was seeing the fruits of those vicious training sessions in high-def.
The house went pin-drop silent as the Red Sox announced their selection at No. 19, Matt Barnes from Bethel, Conn. And there was a split-second build-up followed by a chorus of loud sighs as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig went to the podium to announce the Rockies' selection at No. 20: "Tyler...Anderson".
As they waited for the next pick, the show's hosts began talking about this first round as the "year of the pitcher", and Beede's father, Walter, couldn't help but shout his approval from across the room.
"That's right, year of the pitcher, run 'em off the board, baby!" he yelled.
Seconds later, his wishes were granted. The Toronto Blue Jays took young Tyler at No. 21, the crowd broke into euphoria, and father and son embraced in a bear hug as Tyler Beede became the first Massachusetts high schooler since 2003 to get selected in the first round.
Mock drafts by various analysts and scouting services had Beede going anywhere from as high as No. 24 overall to the sandwich round in tonight's action, but this pick wasn't a total shock. The Blue Jays and the Rangers had been the two most proactive teams in terms of depth when scouting Beede, while the Red Sox -- who had been to every one of the local boy's games this spring -- were considered to be interested in taking him with their pick at No. 26.
"We knew the Blue Jays were a big possibility drafting us," Beede said. "We knew the odds were higher than most of the other teams before that. There was a lot of communication over the spring, leading up to the draft, so we were holding our breaths as they came to the podium to call my name."
Walter, however, described his emotions hearing his son's name called as "utter surprise...total shock". In his eyes, Toronto did its due diligence very much so, but not with an indication of where they regarded his son on the draft board.
"To be honest with you, the last dialogue we had with the Blue Jays was the day of his [last] game, which was May 25th," he said. "We haven't talked after that at all, not even one sentence, since the 25th. They had a lot of guys there that day, they had six or seven guys that day, but since that time they've been on radio silence. We haven't heard from them."
And now, for the big question. Will the 6-foot-4 fireballer be honoring his commitment to Vanderbilt, or will he chase what could be a seven-figure signing bonus?
"Tonight's not really a decision night," Beede said. "Tonight's a night to enjoy with family and friends, a dream that's come true. I'll make the decision later on in the summer, but for now I'm just enjoying the time. It's going to be a hard decision either way."
Walter said the Vanderbilt commitment is "not something to be taken lightly", and that the family will start discussing a decision at the end of the week, once Tyler's graduation party is over.
Various media outlets, including ESPN, have speculated that in what could be the final year without a rookie wage scale, Beede could demand top-10 money. Walter said that there has been no discussion about any sort of pricetag with major league teams.
"Those things tend to take on a life of their own," he said. "Based on, you know, one guy from Texas says he wants 30 million, another guy says he wants 20 million. So then by law of averages, OK, if this guy wants 30, another guy wants 20, and if Tyler's as good as that guy then maybe he must want this [certain amount].
"That's not been discussed by anybody, it's not something that we've discussed with any major league team. More importantly, it hasn't been discussed with Tyler. This is ultimately Tyler's decision, this is his life. His mother and I, his brother, they're not the ones playing baseball. He's the one that's playing baseball. And I know he has a tremendous respect for [Vanderbilt] Coach [Tim] Corbin, he's known Tyler since the eighth grade. So we'll really have to weigh this heavily during the next two months. I don't anticipate it being anything quick."
Once the selection had been made, Beede's phone blew up with congratulatory calls, the television quickly switched to the Bruins' Stanley Cup Final with Vancouver, and the crowd dispersed into Cressey's backyard where two cakes sat on a round table. One was for Beede, and one was for Lincoln-Sudbury's Adam Ravenelle, a close friend who is expected to be selected on day two of the draft. Ravenelle and L-S assistant coach Matt Blake arrived on the scene fresh from a Division 1 North quarterfinal victory over St. John's Prep.
Then, it was time to make the rounds with reporters, all the while taking calls from friends, teammates, family members and various figures in the Blue Jays front office. He then made his way back into the living room, where an ESPN Boston reporter waited to put him in front of the camera.
Just before Beede's older brother Kyle was about to hit record, Walter tossed his phone across the room to Tyler.
The camera would have to wait for one moment. Roberto Alomar was on the other line.