Jesse Biddle was trying to catch his breath amid the myriad phone calls and text messages from everyone for whom he played and everyone with whom he ever played.
They all seemed to get the news at the same time, a great confluence of well-wishers converging on him around 9:35 last night when it was announced the Phillies took the hometown kid with the 27th overall pick in the first round of Major League Baseball's amateur draft.
The 6-5, 225-pound Germantown Friends lefthander was sitting with his family in Havertown when baseball commissioner Bud Selig came to the podium and announced Biddle's name. Then all hell broke loose.
"It was crazy, really unbelievable," Biddle said. "I heard it on the air with everyone else in my family and I was sitting on the sofa and just fell on the floor. Everyone jumped on top of me. It was a dogpile in the living room. When I worked out for the Phillies last , they were joking with me not to throw too well when I went to Milwaukee over the weekend. They also told me that they would pick the best player available with the 27th pick.
"That's pretty amazing, to go in the first round, and to go to your hometown team. I knew I'd go somewhere, and after Milwaukee picked 14th, it didn't matter, I knew I wanted to be picked by the Phillies."
Biddle, who already has committed to the University of Oregon, was receiving heavy interest from the Phillies, along with Atlanta, St. Louis, the Brewers, the Los Angeles Angels and LA Dodgers. Biddle, 18, broke every school pitching record at Germantown Friends, leading the Tigers to a seventh straight Friends Schools League title.
This season, Biddle posted a 9-2 record, with a 1.06 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings, giving up a scant nine earned runs. He has an overpowering fastball that has been clocked as high as 96 mph, and averaged 91-93 mph. Plus he has added a slider to his repertoire of pitches that also includes a curveball.
Biddle was receiving feedback that he could go anywhere in the first round to a top-40 overall pick. Oregon's coaches told him that they weren't expecting him to attend the Pac-10 school, opting instead to begin his pro career.
"I was told by a lot of people, a lot of scouts, I wouldn't be picked by my hometown team," Biddle said. "A lot of people told me it wouldn't be possible. I told a lot of people that it would happen, and it did. I haven't planned out anything out after today. But the way I'm looking at things now, I have a whole new life ahead of me and I don't know what to do with it just yet. This is just the first step of a bigger process."
Phillies scout Eric Valent called Biddle just 30 seconds after Selig made the announcement. But a representative for the San Francisco-based firm representing Biddle, Sosnick and Cobb, was told earlier that the Phillies would be taking him.
"[They] wanted to keep it a surprise," Biddle said. "It's still sinking in. You dream your whole life about playing in the majors, and about playing for your hometown team, and now it's happening."
It's an exciting time in which his whole family is rejoicing. In fact, after Biddle was selected, the Phillies flashed the news on the big screen at Citizens Bank Park during the game against San Diego.
"A dream door has been opened, and as a father you always wish this for your son, and sometimes you get lucky by doing everything right," said David Biddle, Jesse's father.
Biddle had been forthright in the days leading up to the draft about being signable if selected in the first round. He also let it be known how much he wanted to be a Phillie.
"It makes everything worth it, all the hard work and commitment," Jesse said. "It's all paying off. I don't plan on sleeping tonight, because it feels like I'm dreaming right now."