From being Omaha-bound to being a No. 1 pick, Dansby Swanson had a crazy 15 minutes Monday.
Swanson proved to be the hero for his Vanderbilt Commodores against Illinois, sending his team to the College World Series just minutes before the Arizona Diamondbacks selected the shortstop with the first pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The moment was unique, Swanson told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday.
“I loved every second of it,” Swanson said. “When you’re able to be around your loved ones, your family, your best friends, your teammates, your coaches. When they’re all there to cheer for you, it’s special.”
Swanson didn’t feel the pressure Monday, knocking a two-run black off of fellow top-10 pick Tyler Jay of Illinois, and said Tuesday he doesn’t feel extra pressure now that he was the top pick.
“My dad always told me, ‘Control what you can control,’ and that’s what I’ve been trying to do,” Swanson said. “People may label you as (the No. 1 overall pick), but when it comes down to it you’re still going out there to play baseball.”
Swanson, Jay and Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fullmer were all selected within the first ten picks of the draft moments after the Illinois-Vanderbilt game ended.
Swanson went No. 1, with Illinois’ Jay going No. 6 to the Minnesota Twins and Fullmer going No. 8 overall to the White Sox.
Swanson said the afternoon went perfectly for Vanderbilt.
“You honestly couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Swanson said. “We punch our ticket (to Omaha), we’re dog piling, then we huddle around so we can hear everything. That goes wild.
“Then I go to the press conference and MLB Network and Baseball Tonight and I’ve got the earbuds in so I can hear the draft and I heard ‘The Chicago White Sox select right-handed pitcher Carson Fullmer’ and I just started going nuts.”
Swanson, who joked about having former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby’s jersey, is no stranger to following athletes closely.
Swanson said he idolized several star shortstops growing up, with one standing out above the rest.
“My No. 1 guy all-time is Nomar Garciaparra,” Swanson said. “He went to Georgia Tech, I’m from Atlanta. I’ve always watched this video called ‘Superstar Shortstops’ and it features all the great shortstops with Nomar, (Derek) Jeter, when (Alex Rodriguez) played shortstop, Cal Ripken.
“You name it, they were on there. I grew up watching all those highlights. I just was drawn to Nomar. I just wanted to be like Nomar.”
The Diamondbacks have until July 17 to sign Swanson to a professional contract. Swanson and the Commodores open their College World Series campaign against Fullerton on Sunday, June 14.