Tigers' Casey Mize enjoying new wheels, wedding planning
Detroit — Life has a way of coming at you fast.
Case in point, Casey Mize, who a year ago was smack dab in the middle of finals week at Auburn University, while preparing for what would be his final season of collegiate baseball.
Now, he's one of the brightest professional prospects in all the land, as the Tigers' choice with the No. 1 overall pick in June; he's $7.5 million richer; and he's about to become a married man.
And lest you think he's taking up residency on the sidelines of wedding planning, think again.
"Oh, it's the worst," he said with a laugh last week during a quick stop in Detroit for a meet-and-greet with fans at Comerica Park. "It's all the small stuff you don't think about."
Then there's the big stuff, like the venue.
Which Mize actually picked out, on his own.
Mize and Tali Milde, still a student at Auburn set to graduate in May, are getting married in Tennessee, and that's where Mize is setting up shop these days so he can work out at his agency's compound. They're getting married in Franklin, about 15 minutes south of Nashville.
"I went and toured some venues on my own," Mize said. "She hasn't seen it in person. I just went and saw it and said, 'This is the one.' She's seen pictures of it."
Mize, 21, got engaged in November, and has been in planning mode ever since.
But he's about to turn the reins over to Milde, once baseball season starts — and it's expected to start in early February for MIze, at big-league camp in Lakeland, Fla.
After that, planning will be on Milde — side-story (and small world), at her sorority at Auburn, she's mentoring a new member, a "Little," the girlfriend of Lions running back Kerryon Johnson — including the cake-testing, which Mize is going to have to miss.
"That's down the road," Mize said. "I know. I have to miss all the good stuff."
Of course, there's plenty of good stuff to go around in Mize's life these days, after the Tigers called his name on June 4. The right-hander, considered by many baseball experts to be major-league-ready right now, then signed for a record bonus.
Naturally, everyone wants to know if he splurged on anything.
And, of course, he did. Well, sort of. He didn't go wild or anything.
"I bought a car," he said. "I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so that was my big item. High-rolling! It's got all the heated seats and stuff. It's awesome man, compared to my '06 Tacoma, it's everything I want."
Tell us more about the Tacoma?
"The AC was out, it had a hole in the exhaust pipes, the windshield was cracked, a couple blinkers were out," he said of the 200,000-mile beast. "It was all fixable stuff, but you could tell the car was on the way down."
Goodbyes can be hard, and so Mize didn't say goodbye to the Tacoma. The family kept it, maybe just to "haul wood or furniture." He's been home a couple of times, and still gets behind the wheel for old time's sake.
While that car's on the way down, though, Mize certainly is on the way up.
He got a little introduction to pro ball last season, 13.2 innings between rookie ball and Single-A Lakeland, before the Tigers decided that was more than plenty on the heels of a long grueling college season. The results were mixed (13 hits, 14 strikeouts), but didn't mean much. Small sample size.
That short season capped what had been quite the whirlwind several months.
When, in reality, life's likely only just begun.
"Looking back now, man," said Mize, "it was crazy."