This is going to sound odd, but I want to set aside my hatred towards the LA Angels for a second and talk about something rather amazing. Parker Bridwell.
Parker Bridwell, in case that name is not familiar to you, grew up in a small town not to far from where I grew up, called Hereford, TX. He graduated from Hereford High in 2010 and had a decision to make – to go play professional baseball, or accept a free ride from one of the numerous colleges that offered him such a scholarship. At the age of 18, Parker made the decision to forego his college opportunity and was drafted in the 9th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
From there, Parker spent 8 seasons in the minors, many of them being below AA. In 2016, he was finally called up to the big leagues and made his major league debut as a reliever for the Baltimore Orioles. Although he was in the Majors as a reliever, his stats were not all that great. In 2016, he pitched 3.1 games, had 5 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 2 home runs, walked a batter and struck out 3 to give a total ERA of 13.50.
He was then sent back down to the Minors where he stayed until April of this year and was traded to the LA Angels and made his first major league start on May 30, 2017 against the Braves. This time, he had a much better outing! Over 6 innings, Parker had 6 hits, 3 runs (all of them earned), 2 home runs, hit a batter, but struck out 4 to have a total ERA of 4.5. Oh, and he got the W!
So, after saying all of this, my question for you is this — if you were/are a father of a young teenage boy who is highly regarded as one of the best players in high school, and had multiple full ride offers and had the opportunity to forego college to be drafted, what would you tell him?
As a father of two girls and a 3rd child on the way, I don’t think I will ever get to have this dilemma. However, I do think about it often. What is the best for our children? For their future? Do we allow them to chase their dreams of becoming a professional ball player even though that means they won’t get a college degree? Or do we encourage them to play college ball and then have a better shot of being drafted higher while getting that degree? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do have some thoughts to consider.
For me, I think my gut would say “go to college”, but when faced with the opportunity and seeing my son at the dinner table asking me “Dad, what should I do?! The Orioles want me!”, I may tell him to take the opportunity.
You see, you only have one shot in life. We pray for opportunities. We pray that the Lord opens doors for us so that we could be successful, but then when the opportunity comes, do we take it? At the same time we are processing that question, another one comes to mind — is this a test? Is this Satan’s way of testing me to see if I am greedy. But you could play the exact opposite as well, saying “by going to college, I am basically guaranteeing myself a higher rookie salary, higher draft pick and more recognition.” So is that considered greed?
You also have the argument that it is always best to get a college degree so you have something to fall back on if playing baseball doesn’t work out. To that I say AMEN! But, our college education system isn’t all that great.. let’s be honest. I am a college graduate and I think a college degree isn’t worth NEARLY as much as it used to be.. but that is another topic all together.
At the end of the day, if I am sitting there next to my son and he asks me the question of “Dad, what should I do?”, you know what I am going to tell him?
“It’s your choice. I can give you all the arguments and debate both sides with you. If you say you will go to college, I will support you 100%. If you decide to go play ball in Single A, I will be at your games, no matter what! Son, you are a grown man now. You get to decide what you want to do with your life. I am here for you and will help guide your decisions, but at the end of the day, it is your choice. So… what are you thinking?”
I encourage your feedback on this as this has been on my mind lately. What are your thoughts? Do you agree, disagree or have a hybrid viewpoint?
Oh… I almost forgot..