OMAHA—Inspired by John Manuel's blog post last night—Cole Talks Yankees—I decided to throw together a few leftover quotes into a post about the other unsigned first-round pick here in Omaha, Texas Christian's Matt Purke.
The No. 14 overall pick by the Rangers last year, Purke actually wanted and expected to sign before last August's deadline, unlike Cole, who had mostly made up his mind to attend UCLA. When the Rangers' financial problems prevented the club from making the offer it knew would be required to sign Purke, he was hit hard.
"Any guy's dream is to play professional baseball, and to get drafted by a team in your home state that's close to home, it was huge," Purke said Saturday. "We thought it was a good situation and it was going to work out. I'm not going to lie—my family was heartbroken. My mother, three weeks afterward, still couldn't drive by the stadium and not cry. It was devastating. But two hours after that I was on my way home to get my stuff, and I just had a real calming peace come over me, knowing that I had made the right decision, that I'd done right. I've been full TCU all the way since then, and it's been really good."
Purke said he and his family did not know about the Rangers' financial problems until deadline day. But like Cole, he harbors no ill will toward the organization that drafted him.
"We got word of (the Rangers' financial struggles) really late—it was real late, and we didn't see it coming at all," Purke said. "I have complete respect for (Rangers president) Nolan Ryan and the Rangers, they're working to build that place up. I have zero problem ever playing for them again. If they want to call, I'll definitely go. He's one of the greatest—I have complete respect for the man. I've talked to him about it, and he was just as heartbroken as I was. He's just like us; I'm from the country and so was he, so he knows about hard work and what it takes. But eveyrthing's fine, they're doing well and I'm doing well."
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