BROOMFIELD — On a Monday afternoon run back in his hometown, Brandon Bailey had a chance to reflect on where it all began.
He made his way down Main Street and past his old stomping grounds at Broomfield High and realized how far he has come in his baseball career.
No, he didn't get to play a lot for the Eagles over the final two seasons because of Tommy John surgery, but it was where it all began, where he cut his baseball teeth.
Bailey's childhood dream to play baseball professionally has finally become a reality after he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round of the amateur draft last Friday with the 172 pick overall.
"This is what I wanted to do since I was 3 years old and it feels like just yesterday I was pitching at Broomfield," said Bailey, a right-handed pitcher who will forego his final year at Gonzaga and sign with the A's. "It's amazing how fast college has flown by. I really thought high school did, but college has been the blink of an eye.
"And now having the chance to play professional baseball, it's a dream come true."
Bailey, who became eligible for the draft after his junior season for the Bulldogs, had some serious decisions to make about his baseball future coming in to the draft.
The improving Zags qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2006, playing in the TCU regional in Fort Worth, and the chance to come back and be a part of something special was one thing. A much coveted internship at Nike in Oregon was another.
So soon after the Gonzaga season came to an end, he had a sit down with his advisor to weigh his options.
"We started crunching numbers and we were able to figure out exactly what it would take to forego my senior year," said Bailey, who went 10-3 with a 2.42 ERA and struck out 125 in 100 innings of work this season in Spokane. "As the draft got closer, I started getting a lot of calls from the Pacific area scouts."
Bailey had a pretty good inkling that he wouldn't go on Night 1 of the draft and prepped himself for Day 2. He was teased a couple of times and assumed he would go the Chicago Cubs, but that went by the board and before he knew it Oakland made it official with the 172nd pick overall in the sixth round.
Things will become official in the coming weeks after contracts are signed and physicals in Arizona are completed.
"I think it'll hit me then," he said.
The next stop in his baseball journey will be with Oakland's short-season Single A affiliate in the Vermont. Bailey will play with the Lake Monsters in the New York-Penn League.
"Short season Single A is the most advanced league you can go to right out of the draft," he said. "I'm really excited and couldn't be more happy with the team that drafted me, because of the whole Moneyball thing and Billy Bean, they are huge into performance rather than body.
"So this could happen real fast and I could be at AA within a year and on a fast track to the big leagues if I pitch the way I'm capable of."