By Wendy Osher
***Interview conducted by Fred Guzman, Sports Director for ESPN 550 AM, KMVI.
The excitement surrounding the recent draft selection of Maui’s Branden Kaupe by the New York Mets is still sinking in.
“It’s pretty crazy how in just one day my whole life changed from just kicking back, playing on my PlayStation–from there right after that happened–I was like Dad, I gotta go run,” said Kaupe who sat down for an exclusive interview with Pacific Radio Group’s ESPN AM 550 KMVI and Maui Now.
“I hit the stadium and started running already. All of that came into play in just one day,” he said.
“These past few weeks and days has been going by too quick. It’s just an overwhelming feeling is kicking in,” said Kaupe. “But,” he said, “I don’t think I’m really going to get the feeling until I actually get on the field in Florida and start playing with the other guys that I’m going to realize, man what am I doing here?”
The 18-year-old Baldwin High School graduate was the 140th overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft. He was selected in the fourth round by the New York Mets, becoming the second-highest draft pick from Maui County, behind Oakland Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki.
“I was watching the MLB draft live on the computer and as soon as I heard my name, I couldn’t even believe it. I was speechless. I just stared at the internet screen and looked at my dad and grin and looked back, and I couldn’t say anything,” said Kaupe.
When the announcement was made, the phone calls came pouring in to the Kaupe household from supporters, friends and family members.
“I wasn’t really prepared for the fourth round, but I was just watching it and sure enough they called my name, and that’s when everything just turned on. There were over 50 or 100 phone calls in the next 15 minutes, adding my sister’s phone, my dad’s phone, my mom’s… it was just going crazy,” said Kaupe.
Kaupe is expected to train in Florida for about two months before returning to Maui in August for a couple of weeks. Kaupe said his first minor league assignment may be in Kingston, Tennessee.
He was supposed to head out on Saturday, but Kaupe said he is hoping to attend graduation parties for his fellow 2012 classmates before heading out on Monday.