Worth the wait (cont.)
Posted: Friday June 8, 2007 12:47PM; Updated: Friday June 8, 2007 8:03PM
Also advising Porcello throughout the process was Scott Boras. Though not allowed to represent him due to the possibility Porcello could choose to play at North Carolina instead of sign, Boras was interviewed along with several other potential advisers in the winter during meetings arranged by Sheppard. "Mr. Boras's presentation with amount of information and stats to break down who is best suited for which situation," says Fred Porcello, who works as a professional engineer. "He has a staff that includes former players and facilities that just show he knows what it is going on."
While those on television and across the baseball world attributed Porcello's fall to 27 as a result of teams being wary of negotiating with Boras, afterward the Porcellos maintained that they understood the scenarios and that it was not a match with draft pick positions. On Thursday the family had planned to watch the draft with Seton Hall Prep players, but that changed and a smaller, family-oriented plan was made, knowing the possibility of not being picked as projected. Though not selected as high as some assumed, the Porcellos did not see it as a Brady Quinn moment. Rather it was about being matched with a team that could both afford the player financially and would be a fit in terms of development.
"Mr. Boras is a world class adviser to those he advises, and his place in the world of baseball will most likely go down as one that was at the top of helping players," says Fred Porcello, who wore North Carolina hat. "We have no regrets whatsoever with being with him."
At 5:51 p.m., jogging slightly up the steps from the school parking lot, Porcello, dressed in a long sleeved navy blue shirt and Seton Hall Prep shorts, stepped onto the practice field. As his teammates were finishing up batting practice, they yelled, "Hey! Look who it is!" After embracing him, he was practicing pickoff plays and running with fellow pitchers. "I was itching to get out here all day. I knew I had to be at practice, and I thought coach might be disappointed in me," says Porcello. "But he understood today."
After practice was over, a makeshift press conference replete with a table and chairs was set up over the center field fence. But as reporters asked players questions, there was a peculiar hat in the seats. Mike Sheppard III, the coach's 13-year-old son sat wearing a Kansas City Royals hat and North Carolina T-shirt. "He went with his mother to get that yesterday," Sheppard Jr. said. "I told him he may have jumped the gun on this one. I think you might see a Detroit Tigers hat soon."
Having graduated last Sunday with his class at Seton Hall University, Porcello, who threw a perfect game against Newark (N.J.) Academy on May 12, has one more game to play as a high schooler. That will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Toms River (N.J.) North against St. Joseph's (Metuchen, N.J.). "For all of this to come together in the same week is something special," Porcello says. "I just want to help the team win our third straight title."
But once that is done, Porcello, who said earlier in the year that he intended to major in economics, will have to decide by Aug. 15 as to whether he will cash in with the Tigers or make his way to Chapel Hill. "It's all a process where you have to understand your goals," he says, "and I'm looking forward to sitting down with the Tigers."