Paul Cusick Signed by Phillies; Set for Action in Florida

Paul Cusick has signed his name countless times over the course of his life leading up to Thursday night at the kitchen table at his parents' house in Wilmington, Del., but the signature he placed on one special piece of paper is the one he had been waiting his whole life to perform - the one on a professional baseball contract.

Cusick, chosen in the 29th Round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday by the Philadelphia Phillies, made it official with his "John Hancock" on the contract offered to him by his favorite Major League Baseball team.

The last few days, which started with his name read by a Phillies scout at about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night and culminated at his house roughly 30 miles from Citizens Bank Park had been called "surreal" by Cusick a few times. However, the signing makes things very real. Cusick will fly to Florida on Tuesday, joining the GCL Phillies in Clearwater, the home base for Philadelphia's Florida Operations. He will join other recent draftees and signees by the Phillies for a crash course in professional baseball. A few days of mini-camp will lead to games starting on June 20th. From there, the possibilities include a promotion to the Phillies' New York/Penn League affiliate in Williamsport or even the Lakewood BlueClaws of the South Atlantic League in New Jersey.

Cusick, who immediately went to his old American Legion team's field to throw a bullpen after signing the contract, knows he has his work cut out for him and is excited at the chance to compete in one Major League Baseball's premier organizations.

"As I told my parents, I finally got a job," Cusick said. "I am excited t get the opportunity to continue playing baseball and having it be with the Phillies is an added bonus."