SECAUCUS, N.J. - It was a gamble and it surely showed that the innocence of high school is over for Millville centerfielder Mike Trout.
Last night, Trout fulfilled a dream when the Los Angeles Angels chose him with the 25th pick in the first round of Major League Baseball's first-year draft, staged in Studio 42 at the MLB Network.
"It's a dream come true," said Trout, the only selection to attend the draft, whose first round the MLB Network televised.
Leading up to the draft, Team Trout took a gamble in putting out an asking price that some would consider steep.
One major-league official said the Trouts, who are advised by Craig Landis, had said the asking price was $2.5 million.
Jeff Trout, Mike's father and a former minor-league player, said that was true.
"We put the price at the mid-twos," Jeff Trout said.
His reasoning was that his son is as talented as players asking for millions more.
"It may have complicated things," Jeff Trout admitted. "I'm sure that some clubs may have backed away."
Last year, the 25th player in the draft, Eastern Kentucky pitcher Christian Friedrich, received a bonus of $1.35 million, according to figures provided by the Associated Press.
So if the Trouts stick with their figure, which his father suggested could happen, something might have to give.
MLB rules stipulate that players must be signed by midnight Aug. 15. Trout has a scholarship to East Carolina, but if he doesn't sign with the Angels and attends that four-year college, he will not be eligible to be drafted again until after his junior year.
What this shows is that as much as there is a love for the game, there is also a principle here. The Trouts and their advisers have every right to ask for what they feel is fair market value for a player who set the single-season South Jersey record with 18 home runs.
This is a business, and even though Mike Trout will not turn 18 until August, he is all of a sudden in this knee-deep.
And he is truly a commodity, one who possesses a desired skill.
The family will focus on negotiations beginning today, but the mood was slightly different when Trout's group left the studio.
"You never know, but the signing could be complicated," Jeff Trout said. "Right now, we're going to enjoy the night."
And that is the way it should be. Mike Trout and his family paid a tremendous price to get to this point. Last night was a time to celebrate.
This morning, the negotiations begin.