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Lois Ortmeier's Draft Journal

Publication Date: June 13, 2002

Lois Ortmeier is the mother of Texas-Arlington outfielder Daniel Ortmeier and a former volleyball player for Tennessee. She agreed to share her thoughts with us on the major-league draft process from this last week.

A Little Background Info

Our son, Daniel, turned 21 this past May and finished his 3rd year as a baseball scholarship athlete majoring in Sports Management at UT Arlington last week. Yesterday he was drafted in the 3rd round by the SF Giants. It was the best day of his life.

I think of us as a fairly typical suburban Dallas family. My husband is a high school athletic trainer and I teach at a local elementary. In addition to Dan we have one other son, Chris, who is a junior in high school and pitches for his varsity team. We're active in our church, community, and school athletics.

Dan began working seriously towards a professional baseball career after his senior year in high school. He had always hit from the right, even though he was left handed, and did well enough to earn First Team All Area for both Dallas and Ft. Worth as well as All State. Despite a good GPA (3.85), he didn't get much D1 attention and signed with a top JUCO that February as a 1B/OF/P. In April, however, UT Arlington showed interest. Coach Gould felt that he could help Daniel develop into a top five rounder by changing him into a switch hitting centerfielder. Daniel didn't want to pitch at the next level and loved the idea. Everyone else thought it was crazy. Coach Gould was very persuasive and won the recruit's heart. When he was drafted that June by the White Sox in the 27th round, the decision was revisited, but Daniel still felt his best opportunity for development was with Coach Gould. He was an amazing coach whom Daniel loved and respected more than anyone. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed that following February with colon cancer and died 18 months later at the age of 29. He coached the team until late April of last year -- long enough to make a huge difference in our son's life.

The other day I found one of his emails sent during the recruiting process. In it he predicted that Dan would lead the conference in most areas, hit 14+ HR's, and be a top 5 round pick by his junior year. That seemed unbelievable at the time, but we admired his positive attitude.

It's amazing how close his predictions were. Dan finished this year leading the Southland Conference in triples (7) and HR's (14) with a .341 BA, made First Team Southland Conference for the second year in a row, was named UTA Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, and was drafted yesterday in the 3rd round -- as a switch hitting outfielder.

Draft Day

Even though we had a pretty good idea by the end of May that Dan would be drafted, the uncertainty of when and by whom was nerve-wracking. Monday night Dan and his brother went fishing until the wee hours of the morning, so they didn't wake up until 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. I had their favorite breakfast ready -- biscuits and gravy -- and turned on the webcast around noon for the big event. The minute Daniel heard the draft begin a "basic flight instinct" hit. He and his brother bolted to the nearest golf course to await the news via cell phone. My husband tried to relax a little by watching a Law and Order rerun. I settled down in front of the computer just as the second round was beginning -- ready to handle whatever the day would bring. I can't begin to tell you the relief I felt when his name was called.

Actually, what I really felt was immense and indescribable gratitude. Gratitude to the Giants for believing in our guy enough to select him, gratitude to his advisor who has been there for him through thick and thin, gratitude to Coach Gould for bringing out the best in our son, and gratitude to the good Lord for blessing us in so many ways.

His advisor, Billy Martin Jr., got to him first and began the conversation with, "Have you ever been to Alcatraz?" By the time I got through on the cell Dan was shaking and had to sit in the golf cart for a few holes. The rest of the day was absolutely wonderful -- filled with congratulatory calls from friends and relatives, interviews with the papers, drop in visits from neighbors, and "the call" from the Giants scout, Todd Thomas. Later that night we took a large group out for dinner to Daniel's favorite restaurant, Saltgrass. At one point he looked at me from across the table and whispered, "This is the best day of my life!" I'll never forget it!

The Future

We know the road ahead will be filled with many ups and downs, but we have seen the best and worst and know our guy can handle it. He's loved his time at UTA but is ready for a new adventure and challenge. He's so excited about the possibility of being part of the Giants organization and knows that it was handpicked for him by the good Lord. Last night, after every one had gone to bed, the two of us sat on the couch talking and reliving the day. Near the end of the conversation Daniel said, "No matter what would have happened today I know that I gave my best these last 3 years, and I would have no regrets." That's how he is -- he gives his best and trusts that God will guide his path -- and I know he will continue to do the same at the next level.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Lois Ortmeier's Draft Journal About the author, Boyd Nation