Michael Heesch would have been happy for any team to select him in the MLB Draft. As each pick came in, the southpaw followed along nervously, hoping for his name to be called. However, Heesch couldn't help feeling a bit anxious each time his favorite team was on the clock.
A native of Crystal Lake, Ill., Heesch grew up a Cubs fan, which stemmed from his first visited to Wrigley Field. It was love at first sight.
Heesch had always hoped to play professional baseball, but dreamed of being a Cub. That was made a reality, when he was drafted with the Cubs' 254th overall selection.
"It was unbelievable," said Heesch of being selected by the Cubs. "To be drafted by your favorite team, there's so much history in that organization. I've been a part of the successes and the failures of the last 15 years or so. It's unbelievable to know that you're going to be a part of that.
"To be able to say I was a part of that team, that organization, is an unbelievable thing. Unbelievable thing, for a guy who's from Chicago, followed (the Cubs) his whole life."
A star at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, Heesch joined University of Illinois-Chicago, but departed after two seasons to join the South Carolina Beauford baseball team, feeling that could improve his chance of getting drafted.
Heesch excelled with the Sand Sharks, posting a school-record 78 strikeouts in 2011. The difficult transition and hard work all paid off.
"It has been long journey and a lot failures, struggles, and pain, but a lot of happiness," said Heesch. "It has been great to finally get here and to know that I'm good enough to be drafted. It's a good feeling. A lot of hard work and dedication, and it's nice to see that it pays off."
As a lifelong fan, Heesch has a unique knowledge of the Cubs organization that few of his future teammates possess. He has endured the triumphs and tribulations that the Cub faithful have experienced. After all, he was in attendance at the infamous Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS.
"It becomes your entire life," Heesch said. "You're apart of the tradition, the family. You know the pain, when they lose, you know how it feels. It's definitely a different thing."
Like most Cubs fans, Heesch was thrilled when Theo Epstein was hired as president of the organization. He was thrilled by the thought of a different direction. Now, he's a part of it.
"To be a part of the rebuilding year, that first year, it's an honor," he said. "To be a top-10 pick by the guy who broke the 'Curse of the Bambino,' it's an honor."