Ever since Minooka pitcher Mike Foltynewicz was old enough to remember, he liked to tell people one simple thing.
"I've been dreaming about it since I was five or six. I would tell everybody when I was growing up that I wanted to be a professional baseball player," he said. "And I meant it, too."
On Monday evening, he made a believer of the Major League Baseball team out of Houston, especially since the Astros selected the Minooka senior with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
"Obviously we knew about it ... we talked to a lot of people who gave us some insights into what could happen," Minooka baseball coach Jeff Petrovic said. "We anticipated him being selected in the first round. Maybe him being selected that high was a little earlier than we thought, but it's not a huge surprise."
It turned out to be a bitter-sweet moment for the Minooka baseball team, especially seeing they were on a bus on the way home from a loss in a sectional championship contest.
"It was crazy because he was so upset at having given up runs in a game he wanted to win so badly and so the team sulked half the ride home," Petrovic said. "Then the second half of the ride it was the opposite because everyone was so excited for Mikey."
Foltynewicz recalled getting the call from his adviser Bobby Witt while on the bus.
"We (the Indians) had been sharing a lot of tears about our disappointment. They were tears of sadness over losing, but then they became tears of happiness and it became a good feeling," he said. "Bobby told me they took me at 19 and the back of the bus went crazy. Everyone in the back was trying to listen in on the conversation and then everyone went crazy. I think it kind of freaked the bus driver out because she didn't know what was happening."
With a full-ride baseball scholarship from the University of Texas already on the table, now is the time for Foltynewicz to determine what has the best value for him.
"It's all a matter of the when and how much for his family," Petrovic said. "We've kept this quiet for a while and now it's time for him to focus on his future. I think it's safe to say that Mike is relatively certain of his future at this time."
Speculation had been mounting for some time as to where Foltynewicz would be slotted in the MLB Draft. Some were close, then others were so way off it was almost laughable.
"One of my assistant coaches said that one of the mock drafts didn't even have him it the first round at all," Petrovic said. "It's almost comical. His agent did everything to make sure everyone knew where he was sign-able at, and obviously now he's moved up the draft board and I can bet some people out there are shocked."
Everyone but those closest to the situation, that is.
"Bobby told me to look between rounds 11 and 35 and that I could fall anywhere in between," Foltynewicz said.
Though there is certain to be extensive contract negotiations with the Astros at present, all Foltynewicz knows is that it's time for him to get ready for the professional life.
"There's not much to think about. I think the signing bonus in that range has been somewhere around a mil or higher, but that has to be negotiated," he said.
And what about the scholarship offer to Texas?
"I don't want to close the door on anything, but I'll probably take my chances and play pro ball," Foltynewicz said. "I want to get started playing as soon as I can."