ATLANTA -- Andres Perez celebrated his 18th birthday much like he had countless other days, by coming to Turner Field to watch a Braves game. But this trip proved to be much different than any other he had experienced during his previous trips to his father's long-time office.During the seventh
ATLANTA -- Andres Perez celebrated his 18th birthday much like he had countless other days, by coming to Turner Field to watch a Braves game. But this trip proved to be much different than any other he had experienced during his previous trips to his father's long-time office.
During the seventh inning of Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Cubs, Perez went to the family room to escape the hot and humid conditions for a few minutes. As he prepared to return to his seats, he glanced at his phone and saw both text and Twitter messages that alerted him to the fact that the Braves had just selected him in the 36th round of the MLB Draft.
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"It's just surreal, everything that I'm feeling right now," Andres said after being congratulated outside the Braves' clubhouse by his father, Eddie Perez, who had just spent the previous few hours completing his duties as Atlanta's first-base coach.
The elder Perez served as Greg Maddux's primary catcher in Atlanta and helped the Braves reach their most recent World Series appearance when he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 National League Championship Series. He has enjoyed a vast array of experiences spending most of the past 30 years serving as either a player or a coach within Atlanta's organization.
But this moment Perez shared with his son after Saturday's game was obviously unique.
"It's about him," Eddie Perez said. "He loves the Braves. This is the only team he's been watching since he was a kid, and the only ballpark he's been to is this one. He's a die-hard Braves fan."
Andres Perez recently graduated from Pinecrest Academy and is committed to North Georgia College. While there is a good chance the 6-foot-7, 260-pound catcher will stick with his plan to attend school, the proud father indicated they will soak in the moment by at least discussing the possibility of signing with the Braves.
"He's been working so hard in school and baseball," the Braves' coach said. "I don't know how we're going to take it, but I guess this is the beginning of a good thing."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.