Being drafted 44th overall doesn’t exactly sound like the start to an underdog story, but for Scott Rice, it was.

At 17 Rice was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999. Rice persevered through 14 years in the minor leagues, along with three stints in Independent ball. Originally drafted as a starting pitcher, he was moved to the bullpen early on in his career.

The Mets signed the lefty in November after spending last season in the Dodgers organization, going 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA over the span of 54 relief appearances.

While playing in the Dominican Republic this winter Rice heard personally from Terry Collins with an invitation to spring training and guaranteed consideration for the big league roster.

Over his 11 appearances this spring, Rice posted a 2.92 ERA for The Mets. On the final day of Spring Training, Rice was given word that he had accomplished something he had never done before. He made a big league roster.

“It’s something I feel has been a long time coming,” Rice said after finding out the big news. He beat out Robert Carson and Pedro Feliciano, two lefties with experience in the majors, for this final role in the bullpen.

Scott Rice Mets

Scott Rice & John Buck

It all fell into place for Rice on April 1st, Mets Opening Day. He came in for the ninth inning with an 11-2 lead.

His first big league opponent was the Padres catcher, Nick Hundley. Rice struck him out. Rice continued by getting centerfielder Cameron Maybin on strikes. Will Venable followed with a groundout to finish off the game and Rice’s first major league appearance.

After an Opening Day where almost everything went right for the Mets, this is a story that sticks out because of Rice’s perseverance and dedication to the game he loves.

With more than 500 minor league games of experience with the GCL Orioles, Bluefield Orioles, Aberdeen Ironbirds, Delmarva Shorebirds, Frederick Keys, Bowie Baysox, Ottawa Lynx, AZL Rangers, Clinton LumberKings, Frisco RoughRiders, San Antonio Missions, Tulsa Drillers, Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Chattanooga Lookouts, and Albuquerque Isotopes along with the non-affiliated Long Island Ducks, Newark Bears, and York Revolution, Rice finally made it to ‘The Show’ with the New York Mets.