MIAMI -- Sean Gilmartin has a lot in common with many of the Braves fans who will now eagerly track his playing career. The young left-hander grew up admiring Tom Glavine and was disappointed to see Glavine notch his 300th victory while playing for the Mets.
Raised in Moorpark, Calif., Gilmartin and his older brother, Michael Gilmartin, an infielder in the A's farm system, used the power of TBS to bring the Braves to their living room on a regular basis.
Thus it's easy to understand Gilmartin was thrilled late Monday night, when the Braves took him in the first round with the 28th overall selection in this year's First-Year Player Draft. The 21-year-old left-handed pitcher learned of this selection while watching the Draft with some of his Florida State University teammates.
"Every single time [my brother and I] talk on the phone, something about the Braves always comes up, no matter what," Gilmartin said. "They've definitely been around for as long as I can remember."
CWS, DET, NYY and PHI did not have first-round selections.
Once Florida State's season comes to a close, Gilmartin will focus on signing his first professional contract and gaining the opportunity to officially consider himself to be a member of the Braves organization that he's been familiar with for so long. The Seminoles will host either Arizona or Texas A&M this weekend to play for the right to go to the College World Series.
"I definitely want to play Major League ball -- that's been a lifelong goal for me," Gilmartin said. "I definitely want to play. The sooner I can do that, I look forward to that. Right now, we're still playing here at Florida State, and we still have things going on. We're trying to go to the College World Series and win the College World Series right now. That's basically my main focus."
Gilmartin's dream to play at the Major League level was fostered within a baseball-rich environment. Two of his uncles played professionally and his father, Paul Gilmartin, hit .263 over five seasons at the Class A Minor League level.
Hoping his sons would be able to share his passion for baseball, Paul Gilmartin routinely made sure Sean watched games pitched by Glavine. While he was just eight when Glavine won the second of his two Cy Young Awards, the Braves' newest first-round selection said he still remembers watching those games and allowing his youthful naivete to allow him to believe he could be even better.
"There were a lot of times where me being a little kid and thinking I knew better than him, I was saying, 'I'm left-handed too and I'm going to be better than this guy,'" Gilmartin said. "Certainly I've got a long way to go if that's the case."
While going 12-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) for FSU this year, Gilmartin has certainly exceeded expectations. Opponents have hit .208 against him, and he has struck out 122 in 113 1/3 innings.
Gilmartin says his success is a product of the determination he developed after going 9-8 with a 5.24 during his sophomore season in 2010. Both mentally and mechanically, he knew things had to change. After reviewing film and allowing himself to reflect, he returned this year having much more confidence in a pitching arsenal that includes an underrated fastball and impressive changeup.
"Having the ability to throw what you want whenever you want is a key at any level," Gilmartin said. "I had to make sure that I was going to be able to do that this year. I think I've done that fairly well."
Courtesy of his commitment to improve, Gilmartin delighted in the opportunity to call his proud father Monday night and celebrate the fact that their baseball-rich family now includes a first-round selection.
"It was pretty special," Gilmartin said of the call. "It's something I'll never forget. He said he was very proud of me and knew everything I've worked for in my life was for what happened last night. He was very proud and happy for me."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.