Grove Preaches To Kids: ‘Dream Big’

Former Park standout talks at Foundations Baseball event

Photo by Seth Staskey Los Angeles Dodgers draft pick Michael Grove, who is a Wheeling Park and West Virginia University product, signs an autograph for Milano Ammirante during the ‘Foundations Baseball’ camp held Thursday at the Chambers I-470 Complex.

WHEELING — Dream big.

Michael Grove heard that advice when he was a young baseball player in Wheeling and it paid dividends.

The Wheeling Park and West Virginia University product was drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB Draft in June and signed his contract in July.

But, even before the ultimate dream of being a professional athlete was fulfilled, there were big dreams that came true along the way.

Maintaining the dreams and continually working hard were parts of the message Grove delivered Thursday evening at the Chambers I-470 Complex to some 60 youngsters taking part in the inaugural ‘Foundations Baseball’ event.

Grove, who is headed back to Arizona to continue his rehab from Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss his entire junior season at WVU, admitted that when he was growing up being a professional was a dream, but it was further down on the list than most would imagine.

“When I was a kid, playing for the Ohio Valley Mudcats and in Wheeling, I just wanted to play varsity in high school and hopefully get the opportunity to play in college,” Grove said. “Then you start thinking ‘well if you get the opportunity to play in college and it goes well, there might be a chance to play in the pros,’ but it’s really a dream.”

The dream of being a professional really didn’t even start to become a reality until just a few months prior to the draft. Grove was hearing from advisors that clubs were interested. He actually made a few visits, but Dodger Stadium wasn’t one of the venues he experienced.

And the dream was actually tempered a bit because of the surgery.

“I really didn’t have any expectations going into this draft because of missing half of my sophomore season and all of last year,” Grove explained. “Luckily, there was some good video and numbers about me out there. I was just hopeful that something would happen.”

Even after being selected in the second round in a spot that included a lucrative signing bonus, Grove had a decision to make.

“It was a tough decision because playing at WVU and just college in general is a lot of fun,” Grove said. “I wouldn’t trade that (experience) for the world. It just had to be the right situation and luckily it was.”

Everything — for Grove — has boiled down to dreaming big and working hard.

“Getting to where I am now is just something you dream of when you’re these guys age,” Grove said. “It was awesome to come and speak to these kids and hopefully they all continue to dream big and work hard, too. Because, you never know what can happen.”

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