Brewton native signs contract to play ball with Atlanta Braves

Published 9:02 pm Monday, July 26, 2004

By By JOHN WALLACE Special to the Standard
The first pitch was too low. The second one was grooved right down the middle. It was perfect.
Andalusia's Tyler Wilson was drafted by Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves in the amateur draft earlier this summer. The club made him an offer prior to the seventh round of the draft and Tyler said "No thanks."
Several rounds later, the Braves drafted Tyler and told him they would look at signing him later this summer.
Tyler signed with the Braves for what one scout called "seventh-round money" in a Georgia hotel lobby following a four-inning pitching performance at the Perfect Game Tournament in East Cobb, Ga. earlier this week.
Atlanta Braves' scout Al Goetz has been on Tyler's trail and he wanted Roy Clark, also with the Braves, to see the hard-throwing lefty in person. Goetz invited Tyler to the Perfect Game Tournament with plans to sign him, according to Tyler's parents. Tyler did not know about the plan and was not pleased with how he pitched.
Tyler said he did not "have my best stuff," but it was more than good enough to impress Clark.
Tyler was offered a deal moments after the game and told to call Goetz if he wanted to sign.
The deal is much better than the one the Braves offered Tyler when they were considering drafting him in the seventh round earlier this summer.
Tyler would not be specific when it came to a dollar figure.
The deal ends Tyler's amateur career, including summer ball as a member of the American Legion Post 80 team. He will continue to attend the games and cheer on his teammates, but it will be difficult knowing he can't compete.
Tyler will return to the diamond in September when he reports to the Braves' Instructional League near Orlando, Fla. He and selected players from the Atlanta Braves organization will compete in the league using the same facilities the Braves use for Spring Training.
Tyler will spend about two months at the instructional league. He will have the winter off before returning to Florida for Spring Training when pitchers and catchers report.
The whole process is still a blur for Tyler, but he said he is ready to move forward and work hard.
His decision has been a little difficult for his family, especially his parents.
David Wilson agreed with his 18-year-old son.
Right now, David said it has not really set in that his son's is a professional baseball player. He expects the excitement to come next spring.
Michelle Wilson said she is happy for her son, but not sure how to explain her feelings.
Signing with the Braves was easier than it would have been to sign with any other club.
The question remaining now is: Will Tyler Wilson make it to the big leagues?
David said the question is one only Tyler can answer.
When asked about the pitfalls of a professional athlete's life, David said he thinks Tyler will make the right decisions.
Steve Helms, who has coached Tyler the last few summers and recruited him to become a member of the LBW Community College baseball team, said the future is bright.
Helms said he is especially happy for Tyler because of his opportunity to play instructional ball in September.
Tyler will be playing baseball with athletes just as good as him and Helms said that should push him.
The bright lights will be shining on Tyler and Helms said he is worried about certain aspects of being a professional athlete.
Helms said Tyler has something else that will keep him from making any poor decisions.
Tyler continues to chase a dream.
Tyler has grown up a fan of the Atlanta Braves and is now a member of the organization.
Wilson is a native of Brewton, the son of David and Michellle Norris Wilson, formerly of Brewton. He is the grandson of James and Betty Wilson of East Brewton and A.C. and Ree Norris, formerly of Brewton.