Michael Chavis reflects on his hug-the-commissioner moment


The differences between the NFL and MLB Drafts are too many to mention.

Put it this way: Major League Baseball will never be able to fill the streets of Nashville to announce the first picks of their event, and for good reason. 

Go down the list. Few have seen these baseball prospects play. It might be years before they actually contribute to the team that is drafting them. There is hardly any build-up to the day the ballplayers are selected.

Rick Porcello, one of the most highly-regarded high school pitchers in the 2007 draft, got picked by the Tigers in the first round while sitting at home with his family before continuing his day with practice at Seton Hall Prep (High) later that afternoon. Get the picture.

But Michael Chavis did live the life of an NFL draft pick, at least as much as a baseball draftee could. He was, after all, the one that got to hug the commissioner.

"I know I hugged Bud Selig and everyone made a big deal of it. I was excited," Chavis told WEEI.com when talking about being drafted by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2014 draft. "I was like, ‘Come here, man!’ I didn’t know it was a thing. ... When I went in I’m pretty sure he extended the hand but I just went for the hug. I was excited, man."

In the NFL Draft, it is commonplace for those selected in the first round to give full-on embraces of commissioner Roger Goodell.  In the MLB Draft? Not so much.

The whole scene for Chavis that day was somewhat surreal, having been summoned to the MLB Network studios along with a group of potential first-rounders to participate in the made-for-TV event MLB was putting on as their answer to the NFL's pomp and circumstance.

Chavis had just recently graduated Sprayberry (GA) High, having committed to Clemson. But the fact his hometown Braves had let the infielder know he wouldn't be making it past Atlanta's pick at No. 32 there was little chance the collegiate option was going to come into play.

So when the 18-year-old and his family joined the other prospects in a tour of Citi Field before settling into the television showcase he had a pretty good idea whatever team called his name would be his future employer. And for just a few seconds Chavis was convinced that club would be the Mets.

"One of the teams that was really looking at me was the Mets," he remembered. "I was aware of if a team really liked me so if like Oakland came up I knew I wasn’t going to go there. But the Mets were one of the teams that really liked me. So when they said, ‘With pick 10th the Mets select Michael …’ I literally went to stand up. And then went ‘Conforto’ So I just sat down. Conforto doesn’t know me but I know him really well. That was wild."

Sixteen picks later, Chavis got a chance to spring out of the make-believe dugout.

That pink and gray bow tie was finally able to be put on display. ("There was a lot of thought that went into it. It was the first time I had to buy really nice clothes. I wanted to look, not flashy, but different. So I was like, bow tie.")

"I was nervous without a doubt," said Chavis, who didn't know the Red Sox were picking until the on-camera announcement -- which ended up being his first live TV interview ever. "I was excited, but in the moment after I was drafted they were doing those interviews and there was a lot going on. It was kind of similar to when I was called up. I was excited, trying not to mess up and trying to clear my thoughts."

And then came the hug, the minors, and, nearly five years later the big leagues.