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16 Year Old Skips The Last Two Years Of High School To Play Profesional Baseball

by The Happy Rock on June 18, 2009

harper-baseball-money-1616 year old Bryce Harper has chosen to forgo the last two years of high school in order to get his GED and enter the Major League Baseball draft.  Harper, sometimes called baseball’s Lebron James, is bigger, stronger, and better than most 20 somethings.  The phenom is looking to cash in big with a guaranteed signing bonus  when the draft rolls around next June.  He is under the guidance of the notorious super-agent Scott Boras who routinely brokers the biggest and craziest contracts in Major League Baseball.  Major League Baseball most likely won’t interfere even though he is so young, since they often draft in foreign players at that age.

Parents Gone Wild.  Money Fever.  Call it what you want, but this just seems crazy.

So much for being a kid, because I can’t help but think of what it took to get to be that good at 16.   He is obviously supremely blessed athletically, but one can only assume that his parents groomed him from an early age.  Long time scout, Gary Hughes chimes in about how parents are pushing their children at an early ages.

Traveling squads for little kids, parents paying up to a thousand bucks for a weekend. I have a 10-year-old grandson who is a closer. A closer. I know one family where the parents are assessed 45 bucks per kid – they have two kids – for a session with a strength and conditioning coach. They’re 9 years old.

How knows why parents do this sort of thing, we can only guess: vanity, living their dreams through their children, for the money, or maybe for fame.  Anyway you slice it, it doesn’t quite seem fair to the children.

I grew up playing baseball at an early age and loved it.  I played on multiple teams each year and it took up the majority of my time, but it was because I wanted to.   I could have been better if I lifted weights or did more formal training and my parents tried to give me those options if they could, but in reality it was too much.   You need time to hang out, play capture the flag, school dances….kid stuff.

I know it takes that sort of dedication now a days, but at what cost?  Is this just too much or am I missing the bigger picture?  Should he make sure to grab the money before people find out he isn’t that good or before he gets injured?  I mean imagine all the records you can break if you are in the major leagues by age 18!

Source : MLB Yahoo

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

ed June 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

Years ago, I would have said that this a terrible mistake. Nowadays, I’m more of a “follow your dreams” kind of person. With that said, if the parents determine that he has enough maturity and self-disciple then this could be a great opportunity for him. If they ignore those things, then this could be terrible.

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Debt Destroyer June 18, 2009 at 10:53 am

This kid has been on the baseball track his whole life. I agree with Ed that as long as he has good guidance, he’ll be fine.

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kosmo @ The Casual Observer June 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

For what it’s worth, Harper has a 3.5 GPA, and baseball draft picks get a college scholarship from the drafting team as a standard perk – so if he wants to go to college at a later point, the opportunity will be there.

Of course, even if he flames out, he could probably live pretty well on the signing bonus for the rest of his life, if he’s not dumb with the money.

For what it’s worth, foreign players (outside of Canada and PR) are not drafted, they are signed as free agents (must be at least 16). Harper’s enrollment in community college should gain him eligibility via the draft eligibility rules.

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Money Magazine Hoss June 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm

This is a tough one. The Kid and he is still a kid may be a great athelete and fantastic ball player but what does he know about life?
Sure,follow your dreams, but be cautious there are many people out there that would love to get their hands on any money he may earn.
Great young ball players and other atheletes have come under the wrong influence and had their careers and lifes ruined.
Like I said its a tough one.

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Richard Wohnungssuche June 19, 2009 at 11:41 am

I wish that guy all the best of luck in exploring this great sport. I myself left college early to take up a career in hockey with got me playing for the LA West Side Skate & Hockey Club. Worth going for. I would definetly recommend believing in yourself and going your own way.

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Laura June 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Hmmmm… well, if he is smart, this could be a great way to set him self up financially for life. As long as he has a good support system in place (friends, faith, etc. etc.) hopefully he’ll avoid the pitfalls so many young superstars face.

I do agree it is so sad how many kids are pushed into this though. My husband and I coached YMCA soccer last fall – two teams – a 3 year old co-ed team and a 2nd grade boys team. This is a free league – all you pay for is your uniform… The 2nd graders were fine on our team, all just out to have some fun and enjoy the sport.

But we had a 3 year old little boy on our team, man, was he GOOD! But after the 2nd or 3rd week, we realized he had no choice. His parents would scream at him from the sidelines to get his act together, be aggressive, go faster, play harder, yadda yadda yadda. At the last game of the season, I heard his mom actually tell him, when she pulled him aside during a water break, “Aiden, if you don’t start playing the game better RIGHT NOW, we are leaving. You are better than this!”

The reason for her tirade? He was giggling and passing the ball back and forth to his teammates, having fun instead of rushing the goal. The poor kid went back out on the field with his shoulders drooped… and then she wouldn’t even let him stay to get his token medal (that every participant receives) when the game was over, because (her exact words) – “…his big brother has a football game in 15 minutes, and that is much more important than Aiden’s game.” (The big brother played in a highly competitive paid league… at the age of 7.)

It’s a sad day when a 3 year old boy gets yelled for having fun playing soccer. I can imagine he just might get drafted at 16 if his parents keep pushing him – but at what cost? The look in his eyes at that last game isn’t worth all the money in the world through the eyes of THIS parent.

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Car Insurance Phi June 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Who wouldn’t do the same? These days, college diplomas won’t mean much.

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kosmo @ The Casual Observer June 22, 2009 at 9:50 am

Laura – that’s so sad. I’m a huge sports fan, and never had much of a chance to play as a kid (grew up on farm – too much work to do).

Still, I have no plans to push my kids into sports if they don’t like them. Part of them probably stems from the fact that my interest in sports is most definitely NOT hereditary, as the rest of my family doesn’t care about sports – so I would see it as perfectly normal if my kids had different interests than me. My parents let me find my own way in life, and I’m deeply appreciative.

A 3 year old rushing the goal? My daughter will be 2 at the end of August. She’s at the point where she’ll kick a ball about 5 feet. I can’t imagine her turning into a goal-scoring machine in another year.

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kitty June 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm

There are a number of fields where you have to start at the early age to get anywhere, and not just in sports.

For example, you cannot become a ballerina unless you start from a very early age, work very hard and experience a lot of pain while doing it. You cannot become a concert pianist or violinist unless you start at a very early age and practice for hours every day. This is life – to be excellent in some fields requires you to start early. You just cannot, for example, start in your teens and become a concert pianist. Doesn’t work this way.

This boy is doing what he likes, and he is going to make millions. He probably enjoys playing too. What is so bad about it?

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John Doe December 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm

This kid is a freak! We are looking at a one of a kind athlete here. I have been reading about Bryce Harper for a couple years now and let me tell you that barring a crazy injury this kid will probably go down as one of the best baseball players ever! He has no choice but to go to the draft. He is destroying the competition at his age level. He hits the ball so hard that these high school players are afraid to even try to field his line drives. He has hit the longest home run at Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays)Oh yeah and his pitches have been clocked at 96 mph! This kid lives and breaths baseball and anyone who thinks that he is losing out on his youth is just crazy here is a quote from Bryce “People say, ‘Weren’t you deprived of your childhood?'” Bryce says. “No way. I would not take anything back at all. Everything about it was great. I got to go places, meet people, play baseball against older kids and better competition. I had a great time.”
I don’t understand these people who think he was forced to play baseball and thats why he is so good now. The fact of the matter is that at a young age he was playing at the same level of his older brother Brian (who by the way is also a pretty good player and was just drafted by the Nationals) and his parents recognized his gift for what it was and then worked with him to make him great. My prediction is he will be playing in the Majors buy 2012 and everyone will see how great this kid is.

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