I'll be the first to admit that while I like the game of baseball and generally keep up with it and the Astros during the season, I'm not an avid fan. I'm certainly not enough of a fan or baseball nerd to understand what the 40-round major league draft means or who is being drafted or even where they are holding it. It does bring up a lot of questions, like why is the damn thing so long?
I do, however, follow the Rockets pretty closely and have for many years. And as I did some reading about which high school prospect the Astros took in round 33 (or whatever), I began to realize that the MLB draft is a lot like the a season of basketball for the Rockets, at least in the last few years.
Here are five of them.
5. Both showcase potential. The Rockets are one of the younger teams in the league and their rotation included rookies, second round players and guys in their early 20s. But, none of them are star-caliber assets. They all have that magical word: potential; but none are there yet. More so than any other draft, the MLB draft is filled with uncertainty. Occasionally, there is a must-have first round player, but more likely -- like this year -- every pick is a crap shoot and all you really draft is a potential big leaguer.
4. Many involved are unknowns. The baseball draft is filled with guys that will go on to exciting careers in accounting and waste management as well as a lucky few who will make their living on the diamond. After basically the first handful of picks in any given year, the players are near-complete unknowns unless they had a HUGE college career or are the son of a famous former players.
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Once you get past the starters for the Rockets -- and, depending on the lineup, maybe before then -- the casual fan is left wondering, "Who is THAT guy?" all too often. I'm sure the prospect of Donatas Motiejunas, the exciting young European point guard not named Goran Dragic, joining the team this offseason has the most dedicated fans thrilled. The rest of the world hears that name (and probably Dragic's too) and responds with a blank stare.
3. Both require a lot of patience. Sitting through seven rounds of the NFL draft is nearly unbearable. Who wants to sit through 40? By the same token, sitting through an awful lot of Rockets games the last few years was difficult. 2. Neither provide any real answers about the future. I'd love to tell you that the last couple of Rockets seasons told us anything about where the franchise is headed in the short or long term, but there are no clear answers being generated on the floor. The lineup is in flux and a significant shuffling of the roster is more likely than its stabilization. In much the same way, no one can predict with any certainty what will happen to players drafted by the Astros or any other team from the first round right on through to the end. It's an absolute crap shoot.
1. Only the most hardcore are watching. No matter how much the MLB network tries to push it, there will be more people watching the French Open this weekend than watched day one of the draft. That's tennis...IN FRANCE! While the Toyota Center wasn't exactly empty this year, the substantial television ratings drop the Rockets suffered the last couple years is evidence the losing is wearing on even the most loyal fans.