Baseball On My Brain

All those eyes!
June 17, 2008, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I got a good read out of this article by Ryan Fagan in the May 19th Sporting News. Not only does it give you a good insight into the scrutinizing world of being a highly recruited high school athlete, it might just put this in your head.

I’m sure that a lot of us wish we were born with the kind of talent that Tim Melville has been blessed with – the kind of talent that folks covet so highly that they’ll drive for hours to see and pay millions of dollars to acquire.

Melville was taken with the 115th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals – the 3rd pick of the 4th round – and as of this writing has yet to sign with the club. Surely an interesting dilemma — I’m sure he’s being offered decent money, but he’s also given a commitment to the University of North Carolina, an outstanding school and baseball program.

The debate has been ongoing for several years as to whether a kid should go to college or take the money and sign professionally. It’s fair to say that both the largest signing bonus and the best college education can be wasted; likewise both could be invested and reap great rewards.

It would be incredibly tough for me to tell an 18-year-old kid who is sitting with a large signing bonus check in front of him not to take it. Could I name what the amount would be for him not to take it? Not really. It would have to be fairly life-changing, and he’d had to be pretty disciplined not to spend it all on something that won’t last. I’d also think that he’d have to be committed to giving college a shot when his playing days were over, which I know can be a tall order to expect someone to be a college freshman when they’re in their 20s or 30s.

Otherwise, I would give college a very strong recommendation, and here’s why. You don’t have to really think about the draft for three years. Sure it’ll be in the back of your mind, but it won’t be front and center, giving you time to grow and develop somewhat out of the spotlight and pressure. You’re generally in a system dedicated to your growth and development. Collegiate programs generally have a reason to see you succeed – both in the classroom and on the diamond. Plus, if you can get a good scholarship, that can be worth just as much if not more as a signing bonus, plus if you invest in yourself and your studies, it will bear interest for the rest of your life.

It’s a decision I wish I had to make based on talent I wish I had. What would you do if you were faced with the decision? Go to school or go pro? What would be your threshold? And what would you say to someone if they asked you for advice?


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