Commentary

A 1998 draft-day flashback

Morgan Ensberg was dreaming about his future, but it had nothing to do with baseball

Updated: June 5, 2010, 10:27 PM ET
By Morgan Ensberg | Special to ESPN.com

Ring, ring …

Oh my gosh, here it is.

Ring, ring …

Be the Dodgers … be the Dodgers.

Hello?

Hi, is this Morgan?

Say Dodgers … say it!

Yeah.

Hi, this is Doug Deutsch …

Doug Deutsch? Doug Deutsch … nope, don't know him. C'mon, say Dodgers.

… with the Houston Astros!

[+] EnlargeMorgan Ensberg
Vincent Laforet/Getty ImagesEnsberg was drafted by the Astros with the 272nd overall pick in the '98 draft.

Crap! [University of Southern California coach] Mike Gillespie told me that Houston and Montreal didn't pay guys well. Pay well, what are you talking about? You are a senior so you don't have any leverage! Hey, you want leverage? So why did you choke it off last season during your junior year? Save it with the pay, Morgan. What do you want to go get, a "real" job?

Great!

Have you been to Houston?

Good question. Yeah, on a layover but that doesn't really count. Let's see, Houston, huh. "Bad News Bears" movie. Bet they have cars with huge longhorns on the front. Women probably use a lot of hairspray. Place has to be hot. Probably like a desert.

Not really. Just on a layover.

Well, it is a great city.

City? No, Houston is not a city. L.A. is a city, homeboy.

That's what I hear.

Well, we plan on sending you to Auburn, New York, in the New York/Penn League.

New York/Penn League? Never heard of it. Where is Auburn, New York?

Auburn is about 30 minutes from Syracuse.

Thirty minutes from Syracuse. No beach there. Wait a minute, where am I going to find a wife? Man, you dropped the ball on that one, Morgan. Christi Asaro was hot! Man, you dropped the ball on that one! Now what? Are you going to find someone from Auburn, New York?

Oh … OK. Well, I am excited about it. So what should I do?

Well, there is nothing to do right now. You guys have a big game today, huh?

Yeah, I am wearing my cup and sliding pants … thinking about throwing some eye-black on in the hotel room, here.

Yeah. Bus is in 15 minutes.

You guys have been playing well. Came through the loser's bracket? …

How about that? First game, lose to LSU by two … then Florida … gone, beat them … Mississippi State … gone … LSU? gone … gone (beat them twice) and now Arizona State. We own them!

Arizona State has as well. They're throwing Ryan Mills? He went top-10 with Minnesota.

Shocker, guy throws 95 mph and is left-handed. Carved us up in that game at Arizona State two months ago. Had to be the best he has ever pitched. Of course, the lights at A-State are horrible. Who cares? He would have dominated you that night, anyway. He was filthy.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Good luck! I will call you in a few days, after the College World Series.

Thanks, Doug!

Man, I wish I had someone to share this time with. Here I am fulfilling a dream, when my real dream is to be a husband and father.

Astros, dude! Ninth round! I say to my room-dog Jeff DePippo.

Nice! You going to buy a cowboy hat? How about some boots?

Yeah, I'll probably take a horse to the field.

Let's have a celebratory dip!

Oh, that would be awesome! But you quit, dude! Remember that junior college coach who got cancer? He got his jaw taken out for goodness' sake! You've made it five months, man. Don't do it. But I want a dip. Don't do it! Stop it! NO!

I'm cool, dude.

I know, I was just trying to be that guy! I wouldn't have let you.

Thanks, Jeff.

But after the game you have to, right? Pip says with a little smile.

I won't, dude.

Six months later at a sandwich shop near USC …

Hey, Jason!

Morgan! What's up? Congratulations on the national championship! That was awesome! You stole home?

Can you believe that? Gillespie has some guts, huh?

Yeah, he does! Were you safe?

Man, cameras are weird. As I was sliding, it wasn't close in baseball terms, but on the replay it sure looked close. Man, I can't believe Gillespie called that! Guy is always right. Unbelievable …

Yeah, the cameras made it look a lot closer that it was.

Well, congratulations. Hey, did you hear about Christi?

Christi Asaro! Man, she is hot! No way, she, Astra and Diane moved into a house two blocks from my parents' house in Hermosa. Now if she would just dump her boyfriend.

No.

[+] EnlargeMorgan Ensberg
John Williamson/Getty ImagesFive years ago, Ensberg batted .283 with 36 homers and 101 RBIs, finishing fourth in NL MVP voting.

Yeah, she broke up with her boyfriend.

Dude! I can't believe it! I have to figure out a way to get over there. Dude, she is hot! We had that class together freshman year and I just stared at her. That one time she looked at me and I just kept staring. That was definitely a moment. That is probably the same thing she thinks of when she hears my name. Man, I would love to go out with her!

Oh, really.

Nice act, dude. What are you trying to do, act cool? Jason can probably see right through this. Why don't you just act excited. I mean, you are. No, you have to be stoic -- that way nobody knows what you are thinking. What? Nobody knows what you are thinking? You are standing in line at a sandwich shop and the girl that you think is the most beautiful girl in the world is available and you say … "Oh, really?" Morgan, you are a mess.

Yeah. We are going out tonight around 10 pm. Going down to the [Hermosa Beach] Pier. Your parents live a couple blocks from there?

Yeah, that's what happens when you are a PRO BALLPLAYER. Pretty cool, eh, J? Livin' with your parents … maybe if you had played well your junior year instead of choking, you would be renting an apartment. Choker!

Yeah. It's only two blocks. Small world, huh?

Nice comment. You drop a "small world" on him? Sound like a complete dork.

Yeah, I guess …

He thought that was dorky, too. He's right.

That sounds good. I'll give her a call and head over there.

Nice story, but what happened?

That same night I saw Jason, I showed up at Christi's house about two hours early with my shirt buttoned, looking as best as I could.

On Sept. 23, we will have our 10-year wedding anniversary. My dream was fulfilled on Jan. 4, 2006, and Aug. 12, 2008, with the birth of our kids. We have three kids: Beckett and Chase, who are identical twin boys, and Ava, who is our daughter.

The last time I had tobacco was February 1998. I was not going to give myself cancer and leave the family that I didn't have yet.

Christi has zero recollection of that moment we locked eyes our freshman year. That makes me laugh every time!

Astra married Jason, and Diane is now married with two kids and lives two blocks from us. We hang out all the time.

Small world, eh? Still sounds dorky.

I never let Christi out of my sight that night or any other. Christi Ensberg is still really hot! I just got the chills.

Morgan Ensberg, who played for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees from 2000-08, is a college baseball analyst for ESPN.