By Ben Fagan
For every kid who has ever picked up a baseball bat, dreaming of one day playing on the game’s biggest stage, there is a day in June where a handful of these dreams begin to become reality.
This certain summer day plays host to Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. With numerous hopefuls out there, 1,215 young men with lifelong visions were selected during the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
To be one of the names called is an incredible honor. It is a representation of a lifetime of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. Twenty-three rounds in and 689 picks later, the Miami Marlins made a dream come true for a kid from Newburgh, N.Y.
The baseball journey of Lynn’s Tyler Curtis began with his mother.
“I got into baseball because my mom started bringing me to games,” Curtis said. “I realized at a young age that I was good at the sport. It just became my lifestyle because I did it all year round.”
The New York native found his way to Lynn when he caught the eye of former assistant coach Donovan O’Dowd for his outstanding numbers at Triton College, a junior college in Chicago. Still, the recruiting process is a two-way street. After all, no matter how much a coach likes a player, the athlete is likely to not commit unless they also enjoy the school.
Fortunately for the Fighting Knights, Curtis did decide to sign with Lynn to continue his baseball journey. Coming to Lynn was an easy choice, based on the combination of athletics and the chance to be a part of a unique school.
“I came to Lynn because of both Coach Garbs and Coach O’Dowd giving me the opportunity to play the sport I love,” said Curtis. “I chose the Fighting Knights because the university is constantly trying to find ways to be better for the community.”
Curtis played two years for Lynn’s baseball squad, capping it off with an award-filled senior campaign. His .433 batting average, 15 doubles, one triple and 13 home runs over 47 games earned Curtis Sunshine State Conference player of the year and first-team All-American honors. Additionally, he was named a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award, a prize given to the best Division II college baseball player in the nation.
Just as his impressive play caught the attention of Coach O’Dowd, Curtis’ remarkable season got him noticed by Major League Baseball.
On that summer day in June, Curtis heard his name called to play professional baseball, courtesy of the Miami Marlins.
“The feeling was unreal,” recalled Curtis. “I was sitting there all day with my fingers crossed, not knowing anything going into it. It honestly didn’t feel real at that moment, but about 30 seconds later my phone rang. It was the Marlins confirming their draft pick. It was probably the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.”
After his first year of pro ball, Curtis is hungrier than ever. Part of the reason he has made it this far is the fact that he is never satisfied.
He has goals in mind and refuses to stop short of them. From the moment Curtis picked up a bat, he has worked hard every day to improve.