The Texas Rangers are always trying to expand their fan base. From El Paso to Galveston, and from Japan to the Dominican Republic.
Go ahead an mark off the Peach State as mision accomplished.
The defending American League champions selected University of Georgia OF Johnathan Taylor with their 33rd round selection in this years MLB Amateur Draft.
Why all the fuss?
Taylor is paralyzed from the waist down and may never walk again, let alone play major league ball.
Taylor was involved in an on-field collision with teammate Zach Cone in which he broke his vertabrae. The Texas Rangers selected Cone with their 1st overall selection in the draft, and quickly realized the opportunity to capitalize on such a great story.
Majority owner and hall of famer Nolan Ryan reasoned that by drafting Taylor, who most likely will never play for them, the Rangers would be accomplishing two very important needs.
First, they will have given Taylor hope. Hope that he has an entire organization and a battery of teammates behind him in his quest to walk again. Second, they are reuniting him with the same teammate and close friend, that was inadvertently involved in this tragic life changing accident.
“This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted.”
Johnathan’s mother described the news as “awesome” and said her son’s face “lit up” when he heard about the pick.
Taylor is currently confined to a wheel chair and undergoing intense therapy and rehabilitation. Although he has a long journey ahead of him, his motivation just skyrocketed knowing that new teammates Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young, and Ian Kinsler, will be in his corner the rest of the way.
Note: The Texas Rangers may have started a trend. Their southern neighbors, Houston Astros, drafted San Jacinto College pitcher Buddy Lamothe with their 40th round pick. Lamothe, who was injured in a swimming accident, is also paralyzed.