Mier signs on the dotted line…and heads to Greeneville.
Jiovanni Mier didn’t have a lot of time to acclimate himself to Houston on Friday — in fact, it was one of those here today, gone tomorrow trips that involved taking care of business quickly and moving on to the next task.
That’s fine with Mier. Over the course of 36 hours, he will have signed his first professional baseball contract and arrived to the city where he’ll reside for the next several months — Greeneville, Tenn., home of the Rookie League Greeneville Astros.
Mier, the Astros’ first-round Draft pick, will assume the full-time duties at shortstop as early as Sunday. Prior to his departure, the California native spent a little over a day in the Bayou City, where he signed on the dotted line, autographed a handful of baseballs, met with the media, took batting practice on the field with the Astros and waved to the Minute Maid Park crowd as he was introduced by P.A. announcer Bob Ford in between innings.
Not bad for an 18-year-old only three weeks removed from his high school graduation.
Here’s a quick pictoral overview of Mier’s day:
Mier and Doug Deutsch, the scout who signed him, chat with club owner Drayton McLane.
After a brief exchange of pleasantries, it was time to get down to business. I quickly learned signing a professional contract is sort of like closing on a house. Requires lots and lots of signatures, and then when you think you’re done, you sign your name around 10 more times (Scouting GM Bobby Heck on left).
That’s his brother, Robert, and his mom, Leticia. Mier’s other brother, Jessie, is a catcher in the Dodgers system.
Leticia had to sign the contract as well, because Jiovanni is under the age of 21 — the legal age in New York, where Major League Baseball is based. As Heck pointed out, that is why the relationships between the team and the family of the player is important — the parents or guardians have to know the club will take care of their son.
Group photo — Heck, McLane and Deutsch; Leticia, Jiovanni and Robert Mier; agents Brodie Scoffield and Greg Genske.
Mier signed about a dozen baseballs — the first of many, many dozens of baseballs he hopes to sign throughout his career.
The Mier family brought personalized champagne bottles to the front office as a thank you…each bottle came with a picture, and the words “in appreciation in joining the Houston Astros.”
Jiovanni suits up in the clubhouse. I have to say he did a phenomenal job of acting natural despite the cameras following him around.
Now comes the hard part: meeting the team. Everyone was very welcoming (yes, Tejada included).
Mier takes batting practice, while Wade takes in the scene from behind the cage.
Read Jason Grodky’s full report of the signing here.
Other news from Astros camp includes this bit about Mike Hampton coming off the DL in time to pitch Tuesday.
Mier’s BP session was fun to watch, but not quite as entertaining as Ed Wade and Carlos Lee’s exchange behind the cage while the young shortstop was hitting. The two had some laughs as Wade sent some pretty funny zingers Lee’s way. My favorite:
Lee (noticing Mier is a good hitter): “He swings like me.”
Wade: “He swings like you. I just hope he doesn’t run like you.”
For those of you on Facebook (and really, these days, who isn’t?), are you member of the Astros Facebook page? It’s a useful tool — sort of one-stop shopping for information about promotions, ticket specials and player appearances, while also providing links to this blog and the news of the day from Astros.com. I’m also posting a bunch of photos under the fan photo section at the top.