The Boston Red Sox took Ty Buttrey in the fourth round of the MLB draft on Monday night, the same night his classmates at Providence High School in Charlotte, N.C., were rehearsing for their June 12 graduation ceremony. But Buttrey wasn't there. He was too busy getting rich.
The students were told there would be a strict no-cell-phone policy at the rehearsal, which was bad news for Buttrey. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, each team has a short window to sign players and a limit on the size of its bonus pool for draft picks—things have to move quickly. Buttrey needed to be by the phone Monday night, waiting for his future major-league club to call. The six-foot-six Buttrey, who averages 94 miles per hour with his fastball, was considered by many to be the second-best right-handed high school pitcher available in the draft.
Buttrey tried to bargain with the school to attend the ceremony. He asked if he could have an exception to the no-phones rule; the school denied him. His parents and coach asked the principal to make a special exception to let Buttrey walk at the ceremony without attending the rehearsal, but, according to Buttrey's father, "[the principal] wouldn't have anything to do with it."
Nonetheless, Buttrey's father didn't seem terribly upset that his son wouldn't be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony:
I told him I don't care what the teachers say or the principal say. This is more important than that. I'm not going to deal with the administrators of Providence High School versus my son signing a million-dollar contract with the Boston Red Sox.
We don't know where he got that million-dollar figure from: the league's suggested bonus for pick #118 is $400,500. But the kid will still get the last laugh. Sure, he won't be with his classmates on the 12th when they graduate into a wretched job market. He'll be at home, swimming in cash.
UPDATE (June 7, 7:15 pm.): Fox Charlotte now reports that Buttrey will be able to walk. Apparently his parents just assumed he couldn't. Crisis averted.
Teen athlete denied access to graduation after pro baseball draft, family says [WBTV]