As we are only days away from the launch of the Sports & Entertainment Nashville spring issue, we take another sneak peek into the pages covering the Nashville’s top sports and entertainment stories. Our resident sports blogger, Chris Lee, takes a look at the sensational Vanderbilt baseball player Tyler Beede, who has become famous not only for his at times untouchable arm on the mound, but also for his decision to attend Vanderbilt in the first place.
Lee takes a look at Beede’s amazing story to turn down Major League Baseball aspirations (for now) to attend Vanderbilt, what went into the decision and what keeps the Commodore star going. Take a look now at a small sample from Lee’s story about Beede’s decision in 2011 to turn down being a first round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays and keep his commitment to Vanderbilt.
It was June 6, 2011 and Beede, a senior who had just graduated from Auburn, Mass.’ boarding school Lawrence Academy, was preparing to play baseball at Vanderbilt University. But that was the night of Major League Baseball’s annual First Year Player Draft, and the Toronto Blue Jays had other ideas.
Unlike the case with the NBA and NFL drafts, high-schoolers can be drafted. Those players may also be drafted and see how much money an MLB franchise throws at them before deciding whether to report to campus.
That turns the draft into a game within a game, where MLB teams not only try to find the best talent but also the best talent most likely to sign. The Blue Jays picked 21st in the first round that year, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos, perhaps feeling he needed to take a bit of a gamble — that’s understandable when you compete in the same division with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees — did just that when he used that pick to select Beede, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher with a 93 mile-per-hour fastball.
Beede had made it clear before the draft that he was going to Vandy. However, teams don’t burn first-round picks on players they don’t think they’ll sign. Fourteen other high schoolers would be picked in that first round. All would turn pro. When the Jays took Beede and offered a $2.4 million signing bonus, Vandy baseball coach Tim Corbin thought he’d lost his future star.
“We obviously didn’t anticipate that he would be here when someone is drafted at that level and that amount of money. You would say that it’s going to be a done deal,” Corbin said.
But when the dust settled on midnight of the August 15 signing deadline, Beede told Toronto he was heading to Nashville, citing the relationship he’d built with Corbin and the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally as a Commodore.
“It’s unique. It certainly is. I know a lot of people are passionate about fulfilling their dream of being a professional baseball player and at the time, my dream was being a college baseball player and coming here to play for Vanderbilt,” Beede remembers two-and-a-half years later.