In the Bleachers with Billy

When making the biggest decision of your life, things should take awhile.

After meeting with Tampa Bay Rays representatives a couple weeks ago, Madras graduate Devin Ceciliani still hasn’t signed a contract to enter the Rays’ organization.

And that, my friends, is a good thing.

There’s no reason for Ceciliani to take the money and run, so to speak, because quite frankly there’s not a ton of money to be had after being drafted in the 34th round — relatively speaking, of course.

This is a family decision — first and foremost — and Devin’s older brother, Darrell, didn’t even get drafted out of high school. He took a year to develop in the Columbia Basin College program, which is a very good one, before he went to the Mets.

“We’re still weighing our options to see what’s going to be best for Devin,” Devin’s dad, Darrell Sr., said. “As far as we’re concerned, he’s getting ready to play both football and baseball, and no decision has been made yet.”

That’s fine. In fact, I feel that’s how it should be at this point. Ceciliani — well, the Ceciliani family — has until July13 to either agree to a contract or forfeit the opportunity to join the club for this year. If he goes to a four-year university or college, which is still the plan until something different comes up, he won’t be eligible for the draft until after his junior year of eligibility.

If he were to go to a junior college, like his older brother, he would be draft-eligible after his first year, but that doesn’t sound like that’s in the cards.

Ceciliani has intentions to honor his commitment to Western Oregon University to play football, and he’s even more pumped up about the East-West Shrine Football all-star game he was selected to play in, coming up in August.

“Devin has really been looking forward to playing in that game,” Darrell Sr., said. “He’s not about to pass up on that opportunity.”

Other colleges have been in contact with Ceciliani about potentially playing both football and baseball for them, but all signs are pointing toward him suiting up for the Wolves on the gridiron next fall.

I’m all for players going to college before they enter pro ball, and I think the three-year rule MLB has is a good one. It helps the kids — because that’s what these players are — mature and learn how to live away from home in a controlled setting. Their skills are sharper when they enter an organization’s farm system after collegiate development, and they are able to handle living on their own better.

Even one year, in the case of older brother Darrell, is better for a player than to go straight to a big-league club out of high school.

If he decides to also play baseball at WOU, which he would be able to do if he chose to, it wouldn’t hurt. If he wants to pursue baseball and break into pro ball, he needs to play in college.

The Wolves had two players taken in the draft this year, and WOU is one of the best teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference every year. He’s already on teams’ radars, and further development in a good program would help him greatly, especially at the plate.

If Ceciliani is to have a pro baseball career, he needs to go to college and develop his skills, first. Not only will it help him physically, the signing bonus and paycheck will rise, too.

Ceciliani is in a great spot, all things considered. While it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, as Darrell Sr. said, they are “going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

What are they doing, exactly? They are being prudent and reasonable, and not making a rushed decision. That’s a good thing.

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