When Gainesville graduate David Gonzalez got the call from the New York Mets on Wednesday, he was arranging his shoes in his dorm room at the University of Georgia.
He had already made the decision to go to college on a full athletic scholarship instead of professional ball, and it had nothing to do with him being a Yankees fan.
Gonzalez was drafted in the 40th round of the MLB First Year Player Draft by the Mets with the 1,220th overall pick. The hard-throwing right-hander was the ace of the Red Elephants pitching staff that helped lead the team to the state semifinals last season, pitching numerous games in front of a horde of pro scouts.
And he had already decided beforehand with his family that he would not sign if picked outside of the top three rounds of the draft.
“I’m definitely not signing for that,” he said of the 40th-round offer. “I was already moving my stuff into the dorm room when I was called.
“If I didn’t go in the top three rounds, I was going to Georgia.”
He said the Mets representative called in the final round to say that the team was drafting him because he was one of the best talents still on the board. The Mets were one of the teams that had talked to him about being one of their top draft picks.
“Honestly I didn’t think that I would get drafted in the top 40 because they knew that I was looking for top-three round money,” Gonzalez said. “So they knew that if they drafted me after that it was a waste of money; that I was going to Georgia.
“Still, it’s nice that I can say I was a part of the draft.”
He said he had been told by numerous team scouts and his advisor that he could be picked in one of the top three rounds, and that the last few days have been tough on himself and his family.
“I’m not going to lie, yesterday was really emotional for me and my family,” Gonzalez said. “People can tell you one thing and it doesn’t happen. They say the draft process can be heartbreaking, but I can handle it.”
He added that he was nervous all day yesterday while at orientation in Athens, waiting to see what would happen.
“Now I’m ready to put in three years at Georgia and go through this again,” he said. “I know in three years that I can definitely go out and accomplish my goal.”
In the meantime he’s excited to already be on campus and with his new teammates at Georgia. He said his high school coach, Jeremy Kemp, put the situation in perspective, saying that, worst case scenario, Gonzalez can still live his coach’s dream and play for the Bulldogs at the University of Georgia.
The former Red Elephants star is prepared to do just that, and now he has one more thing to drive him on.
“In the end, I can look back at this day and use it as motivation,” he said.