by Alex Poletti
While most players and families would celebrate ecstatically after being selected with the first overall pick in the MLB draft, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman frantically looked for his phone as he attempted to transfer to the University of Oklahoma to become a quarterback in an effort to avoid playing for the Baltimore Orioles.
Seeing how the tactic worked out for former ninth-overall selection Kyler Murray, who signed with the Oakland Athletics before declaring for the NFL draft, Rutschman pleaded with Sooners coach Lincoln Riley to give him a chance.
“Please, God, please let me play quarterback,” Rutschman said over the phone to the Big 12 coach. “I need to get drafted by the NFL. You can’t let me play in Baltimore. Do you know how bad that team is?”
Unfortunately for the catcher, he had a career junior season, batting .418 for the Beavers with a Bondsian 1.344 OPS. Although he desperately hoped to fall to the Royals or White Sox, he simply performed too well to let that happen.
“You know, it’s my own damn fault,” Rutschman says. “I should’ve at least struck out a few more times, maybe hit a few less home runs. Hopefully I can correct this at Oklahoma.”
With a phenomenal arm behind the plate, Rutschman should be able to transfer his ability to the gridiron. If he can secure a Heisman trophy like Murray before him, he may be able to skip the Orioles altogether and play for the NFL.
“He’s got a good arm and he’s a tremendous athlete,” Riley says of the catcher, who has one more year of NCAA eligibility. “I thought we might as well give him a shot. It’s not like we have anyone else waiting in the wings.”
Behind Riley’s shoulder, Jalen Hurts snapped his finger angrily and said “Rats!” before slumping off dejectedly.
If Rutschman brings the same drive and dedication to the football field as he did to the baseball diamond, he should be able to at least secure a third round selection, saving him from the hell that is the Baltimore Orioles organization. Their farm system is ranked as the worst in the majors by several lists, meaning they won’t be any better when Rutschman comes up.
“I love baseball, but I know that Maryland is where baseball dreams go to die,” Rutschman says. “I think this will be best for me, because I can still be a professional athlete and make an impact—oh shit, what if I get drafted by the New York Giants?”