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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blue Jays only team not to sign first round pick

The Blue Jays were unable to reach an agreement with first-round pick Tyler Beede prior to Monday’s midnight ET deadline.

Toronto selected the pitcher with the 21st overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. The native of Massachusetts will instead attend Vanderbilt University in the fall and is not eligible to re-enter the Draft until 2014.

There appeared to be a large gap between the two sides during the final week of negotiations, and they never got close to getting something done. Beede was reportedly looking for $3.5 million, while the Blue Jays were willing to offer one million short of that.

“They were still far off,” Beede told the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette. “They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn’t what we valued the Vanderbilt education at. It was obviously the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I’m tremendously excited.”

Paul D(uda) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 01:26 PM | 118 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, high school, minor leagues

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   1. Matthew E Posted: August 16, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3901131)
Just based on the sound of their names, I'm glad the Jays ended up with Norris over Beede. Which is a silly way of judging things, of course, but given how little we know about these guys at this point of their careers, it's all I've got to hang my hat on. I mean, Beede? Sounds like the Jays had Twiki announcing their picks.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 01:58 PM (#3901137)
“They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn’t what we valued the Vanderbilt education at.

Someone's really unclear about the value of a Vanderbilt education, and/or the ability to still get one at age 26 if the whole MLB thing doesn't work out.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3901141)
About a week before the draft, I had Norris pegged as a top 15 pick, and Beede as a supplemental pick. I don't think the difference between them is huge, and I'd rather have Norris.

Of course, I'd rather have both.
   4. zack Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3901142)
Someone's really unclear about the value of a Vanderbilt education, and/or the ability to still get one at age 26 if the whole MLB thing doesn't work out.


Well it's not only a Vanderbilt education, it's that plus an 80% chance at a $9 million signing bonus in 2014.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3901147)
The native of Massachusetts will instead attend Vanderbilt University in the fall and is not eligible to re-enter the Draft until 2014.


I thought draft picks who don't sign often go back into the draft the following year?
   6. RJ in TO Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3901151)
So, of their seven picks in the top 78, they signed six?

In that case, I can live with Beede getting away.
   7. BDC Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3901158)
Yes, it would have been much cooler if his first name was Adam.

They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn’t what we valued the Vanderbilt education at


I'm always intrigued by this kind of calculus. Every year there seems to be some draft pick that figures it this way – though often one suspects it's a matter of pride; "Adam Beede" or whoever has been told by his advisors all along that he's a $3.5M guy easily, and $2.5M comes to seem an insult. The Vanderbilt "cost of attendance" is about $60K a year at the moment, so a four-year full ride is going to be at least a quarter of a million dollars. In other words, their math is off by roughly a power of ten. The "value" of a Vanderbilt education, in this case, has to partially include the value of having the college experience as a young person with your age peers, and the concomitant networking for life that one does at a prestigious school. Otherwise, you could invest your baseball earnings and even if you wash out of the minors, head to U-Mass in a few years' time and get a great education, way more than paid for, enough left over to send several people through law school or an MBA program.

That's assuming that talk of the "value of a Vanderbilt education" isn't a disingenuous way of expressing sour grapes.

If players like this are secretly thinking, hey, I'll pwn the SEC for a few years and parlay this Vanderbilt thing into a $5M bonus, they ought to be taken to the gambling thread and have a few things explained to them.

Edit: Some lemon for Snapper's Coke
   8. Matthew E Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3901167)
Not only that, but if you graph out the draft picks with their draft position along the x-axis and how much they signed for on the y-axis, Beede would have been a pretty noticeable spike if he signed for what the Jays offered him, never mind how much he was asking for. I know if I was him, I'd be having second thoughts.

Oh well. Good luck to the guy.

(Nice George Eliot reference in 7.)
   9. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3901170)
The "value" of a Vanderbilt education, in this case, has to partially include the value of having the college experience as a young person with your age peers, and the concomitant networking for life that one does at a prestigious school.
This is exactly what they're talking about. Also, Vandy recruits tend to be costly to sign away, maybe moreso than recruits of any other school (given that there aren't a lot of guys deciding between pro ball and the Ivy League).
Jim Callis (I think it was Callis) has said it would take $5M to sign his kid away from college (note: kid is not a prospect, this talk is in the abstract) and, while I don't know if I'd go that high, I'd place a big $ value on having my kid develop as an adult at school versus as a traveling professional athlete.

I prefer Norris to Beede as well.

In that case, I can live with Beede getting away.
Not only that, but you get a replacement pick next year (in about the same spot). Unless you want to pay through the nose, you've got to be willing to let guys sometimes walk away.

8: Well, that doesn't mean much in and of itself. Norris would be that way and he signed for less than I expected. Now, if you wanted to compare something like pre-draft rank with bonus, that's different.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3901175)

I thought draft picks who don't sign often go back into the draft the following year?


If you're a high schooler and attend a four year university (like Vanderbilt) you cannot re-enter the draft until your junior season or until you are 21, whichever is first.

He could go to a junior college or indy professional league, and be eligible next year.

Also re: Blue Jays, apparently Jake Eliopolous failed to sign for the third straight year. He is Canada's Matt Harrington.
   11. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:21 PM (#3901177)
Eliopoulos: But he still has a very loud website!
   12. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:23 PM (#3901179)
Well it's not only a Vanderbilt education, it's that plus an 80% chance at a $9 million signing bonus in 2014.

This seems hugely optimistic.
   13. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3901191)
Someone's really unclear about the value of a Vanderbilt education, and/or the ability to still get one at age 26 if the whole MLB thing doesn't work out.

Somehow, I don't think the scholarship opportunities at Vandy for 26yo former ballplayers are quite as good. Assuming you'd even still get accepted without your athletic thumb on the scale.

And a Vanderbilt education is quite valuable - there is plenty of merit in that statement.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3901192)
FWIW, the Royals offered Jason Esposito $1.5 million three years ago. He supposedly backed out of a deal and went to Vandy. He signed last night with the Orioles for $600k.
   15. Greg K Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3901194)
Somehow, I don't think the scholarship opportunities at Vandy for 26yo former ballplayers are quite as good. Assuming you'd even still get accepted without your athletic thumb on the scale.

Speaking as a Vandy reject, (coincidentally enough when I was 26) I agree.
   16. RJ in TO Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3901197)
FWIW, the Royals offered Jason Esposito $1.5 million three years ago. He supposedly backed out of a deal and went to Vandy. He signed last night with the Orioles for $600k.

So, when you consider that the value of a Vanderbilt education is about $3.5M, it means that Esposito came out ahead by roughly $2.6M. Smart move by the kid.
   17. ColonelTom Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3901198)
This seems hugely optimistic.

This. Turning down a guarantee of $2.5M for the hope of an additional $6.5M in three years is a big bet on your ability and health. It's especially big if you figure that Beebe will likely reach the majors later by taking the college route, since he'll probably require a year or two in the minors after college before reaching the big leagues. That will probably cost him a year or more of free-agent earnings down the road if his bet on his ability/health is correct and he turns out to be a star.
   18. caprules Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3901207)
Turning down a guarantee of $2.5M for the hope of an additional $6.5M in three years is a big bet on your ability and health


It also seems to be a big bet that signing bonuses won't be capped with the next CBA.
   19. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 16, 2011 at 02:59 PM (#3901213)
That extra million is worth holding out for. What could go wrong for a young pitcher in three years? I predict we will never hear from this kid again.
   20. The_Ex Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:00 PM (#3901217)
How many players got $9m in this draft? One or two. That 80% number should be about .8%. Maybe Zack was advising the Beede family?

The other aspect of this is that most good baseball players who go to college leave after three years, so they don't end up with a degree. Beede is likely placing his $3.5m value on three years of Vandy education, which education has to be scheduled around baseball travel and practices. It's not easy to get a good education and play on the baseball team.

I say its a 90% chance he leaves after three seasons and it's a 99% chance he gets less money.
   21. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3901230)
erm, i know it's not usual for athletes to actually study in school, but the value of a degree and connections made at a top flight university have to be worth millions as well, right? It seems like a very reasonable hedge to me, especially against 2.5M
   22. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3901231)
Whenever I hear about Vanderbilt, I think of Will Perdue. I imagine an entire school full of tall, awkward people who look like they've just gotten a haircut and will eventually be traded for Dennis Rodman.
   23. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3901234)
I'd like to know what percentage of the people smart enough to be accepted to Vanderbilt would make this same decision. (I bet it's a small number.)
   24. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3901235)
This has nothing to do with this topic but: the biggest mistake I made in my academic career (one of many) was not going to Vandy. (Not said with regret - it was the right choice at the time.)

***

I say its a 90% chance he leaves after three seasons and it's a 99% chance he gets less money.
I'd go 90%/80%, but yeah. Having said that, this choice should be about maximizing utility, not income.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3901239)
erm, i know it's not usual for athletes to actually study in school, but the value of a degree and connections made at a top flight university have to be worth millions as well, right? It seems like a very reasonable hedge to me, especially against 2.5M

Millions? Hard to imagine. Even if the average Vandy grad makes $100G p.a., how much of that is attributable to the Vandy degree? If the same person with a Tenn. degree makes $80G (SWAG) then the Vandy degree is worth $20G p.a., over a 40 year working life, that's about $300G at a 6% discount rate.

To get to $2.5M, you'd have to think the Vandy degree increases his earnings by ~$165G p.a. Highly, highly, highly unlikely.
   26. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3901243)
To get to $2.5M, you'd have to think the Vandy degree increases his earnings by ~$165G p.a. Highly, highly, highly unlikely.

You'd have to think that their salary stays stagnant at 100k to buy that - people get raises that exceed inflation. And 100k really isn't all that much any more - a Vandy man should get past that pretty quickly. You'd also have to think there is no possibility that being hooked into the Vandy alum network with some degree of notoriety is the same as the UT network. Pretty sure I would dispute that. And you have created a false dichotomy - it isn't Vandy v UT, it's Vandy right now vs who will have me at 26.
   27. Greg K Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3901255)
Geez, before this thread I was feeling ok about not getting into Vanderbilt...thanks a lot.
   28. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3901256)
it isn't Vandy v UT, it's Vandy right now vs who will have me at 26.

But he'd presumably have some of the $2.5 million left with which to pay full ride out of pocket. How many schools, even elite schools, are turning that down these days?
   29. booond Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3901260)
There has to be data on unsigned first and second round draft picks... this seems to be a large gamble.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3901264)

You'd have to think that their salary stays stagnant at 100k to buy that - people get raises that exceed inflation.


And his raise would have to exceed the raise of a Tenn. gard.
   31. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3901266)
And his raise would have to exceed the raise of a Tenn. gard.

No it wouldn't - snappers computation assumes static real wages for both, and since as I pointed out before, Tenn v Vandy is not the choice here, it's moot anyway.
   32. zack Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3901267)
Yeah, 80% was too high, but my general impression is that college pitchers get a whole lot more money than high school pitchers, and that bonus inflation has been pretty big the last couple years. I was thinking specifically of Cole as a guy who was a 1st round pick out of HS, but went to college and got a lot more money at the end.

Unfortunately there aren't a whole lot of HS pitchers who pass on 1st round money as compareables. Since 2000, I only see 3:

Cole - who was drafted #28 and then #1, passed on a rumored $4mil and signed for $8
Jeremy Sowers - who was drafted #20 and then #6, passed on $1.75* and signed for $2.4
Alan Horne - who was drafted #27 and then in the 30th round and then in the 11th. Passed on $1.6mil, probably got $50k or something.


(Couldn't find a number, but the pitchers drafted around him got around $1.3)

The point is, a guy with the pedigree to be a 1st round pick in HS has a good shot to make his money back if he doesn't get hurt (which is what happened to Horne).
   33. Swedish Chef Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3901275)
Just based on the sound of their names, I'm glad the Jays ended up with Norris over Beede.

Wouldn't it have been fun to call him The Venerable Beede?
   34. BDC Posted: August 16, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3901285)
there aren't a whole lot of HS pitchers who pass on 1st round money

One more reported just this morning: Matt Purke, who passed on $4M two years ago and has just signed with the Nationals for $4M.
   35. zack Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3901307)
If we expand it to 2nd round guys, who gave up a lot less to go to college:

Sean Black - drafted #59, redrafted in the 7th. "Slot" was $600k, ultimately signed $150k.
Micah Owings - drafted #50, redrafted in the 19th, redrafted in the 3rd. "Slot" was $800k, signed for $440k.
JP Howell - drafted #52, redrafted in the 1st (#31). "Slot" was $750k, signed for $1mil.
Matt Chico - drafted #61, redrafted in the 3rd. "Slot" was $650k, signed for $365k.
David Taylor - drafted #75, redrafted in the 20th and the 7th. Slot was $550k, likely signed for very little.

Usually a bad move for these guys in dollars, but the difference is a relative pittiance compared to the 1st round guys. All stayed relatively healthy, as far as I can tell. Owings and Chico were redrafted after only 2 years.

Source for the bonus figures is Prospect Watch, which I had never heard of before, but is a pretty amazing resource and even more amazing for being straight out of 1997 (but still updated actively).
   36. cabintwelve Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3901317)
I'm amazed that angelfire still exists. Who knew?
   37. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3901322)
And a Vanderbilt education is quite valuable - there is plenty of merit in that statement.


A good college education registers for exactly 5 seconds during an interview. I say this as someone who used to hire for a software company. The prestige of the undergraduate education wears off and is completely gone by the first day that the new hire works. Where one went to college might occasionally come up in conversation, but it has little to do with salary or anything important. College is general training for the workplace, in that it means you're accustomed to being told what to do, showing up on time, etc. What would be better for his long term financial well-being would be to take the $2.5MM and invest it, go to the minors and if he flames out, get a college education and then take a salary and retire fabulously wealthy at 45.
   38. Dave Spiwak Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:26 PM (#3901329)
“They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn’t what we valued the Vanderbilt education at.


More evidence for the skyrocketing costs of higher education...
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3901330)
No it wouldn't - snappers computation assumes static real wages for both, and since as I pointed out before, Tenn v Vandy is not the choice here, it's moot anyway.

Fine, assume wage growth at inflation (say 3%) so reduce the discount rate from 6% to 3%. The Vandy education would have to increase his annual income by $108,000 to be worth $2.5M.

The comparison is versus Tenn. (or some other large state school). There's no way a guy who can get into Vandy (even with the sports bump) is not going to get into his state univ. in 5-10 years when he can pay full-freight.

There's no conceivable way this is a good economic decision, weighing the odds (it may turn out good if he bucks the odds and stays healthy and effective enough to get a similar or larger bonus in 3 years). I hope he's making the decision based on non-economic factors, otherwise, he screwed up bad.
   40. booond Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3901336)
Financially it's a dumb decision as the upside is limited and the downside huge. He could double his money but that will be very hard to do and losing it all or much of it would seem very easy.

I always think Matt Harrington.
   41. billyshears Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3901342)
As a parent, I'd tell my kid to take the money, because I understand now that $2.5 mil doesn't come around every day. Flashing back to myself as a high school senior, I may have been torn because going to college seemed like just about the coolest thing in the world at the time. I'm not sure which way to come out on this because my college experience seems invaluable, but the $2.5 mil number kinda makes me really want to drill down on the concept of "invaluable".

One note though, I know nothing of Beede or Vanderbilt, but at my reasonably prestigious university, the athletes generally (a) didn't deserve to be there academically, (b) hung out mainly with other athletes and (c) did not avail themselves of many of the resources that make an education at a university of that caliber so valuable. Obviously there are exceptions, but I'm not sure the educational component of attendance at Vanderbilt is monetized quite as effectively by star athletes as it is by other students.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3901353)
Flashing back to myself as a high school senior, I may have been torn because going to college seemed like just about the coolest thing in the world at the time.

I'm guessing it would have been way cooler if I was 25 and had $2M in the bank.
   43. BDC Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3901354)
take the $2.5MM and invest it, go to the minors and if he flames out, get a college education

I agree with both snapper and this comment by piehole. A Vanderbilt degree will be an invaluable plus if you intend to devote a substantial amount of time to your networking, and if you have a business idea you want bankrolled by all the preppies you intend to meet there à la The Social Network or if you right now as a kid are obsessed with the idea of some day sitting on the Tennessee state supreme court or something like that. Which is unlikely for a lad from Worcester, Mass. And even at that, going to a "flagship" state school isn't useless, either.

There's some small chance that the kid and family both really value a conventional college experience at an exclusive university. In which case, I would hardly argue against that. Again, you can only be a 19-year-old in college with other 19-year-olds right now. Given the rate at which athletes leave school two years later without their degrees, I think that vanishingly few of them truly hold that value, though. (I'm talking pro prospects here, obviously. There are lots of ballplayers at Vanderbilt or Rice or Stanford who know they're never going to play in any major league, and are determined to have a great all-round college experience on scholarship.)
   44. Swedish Chef Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3901371)
On the other hand if the team sensed the player was a ##### that would grab anything because he was worrying about his future, the $2.5 mill wouldn't be forthcoming. Here's half a million, take it or leave it....
   45. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3901373)
I still think its ridiculous to claim a Vanderbilt education is worth millions. However, I do think there are some things more important than millions of dollars. If Beede grew up in a fairly affluent lifestyle, I can see how $2.5 million may not be worth passing up the chance to experience college as a young person. I can see myself rejecting it, or having my kid reject it, because honestly we have all we need now. A couple million bucks would be fun, but so is college. And if he blows it and never gets offered a million dollar contract, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to have him go out and have to earn a living like everyone else.

I think we get tied up too much in this country trying to quantify everything in dollar terms.
   46. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3901376)
I'm guessing it would have been way cooler if I was 25 and had $2M in the bank.

Or 22 with $2M in the bank. If this kid's 18, he should have a good idea by age 22 if he's on the fast track to a big-time MLB career or if he's headed toward journeyman status.

Anyone know what this kid's family background is like? I wonder if he's from a wealthy family or if it's more of a Matt Harrington-type situation, where the family was blue-collar but allowed ego to trump common sense.
   47. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3901391)
I'm not sure why people are framing this a solely an economic decision. Put another way:
"I think we get tied up too much in this country trying to quantify everything in dollar terms."
I'm all for talking about this stuff in dollar terms ... by placing a dollar value on the stuff you're foregoing to play ball. That other stuff is key and not limited to having a piece of paper saying you've graduated (or being 75% of the way there or whatever).

Anyone know what this kid's family background is like?
The dad played pro ball out of high school, didn't make the bigs. Kid transferrred to a prestigious prep school partway through HS, was considered a tough sign going into the draft.
That's all I know.

***

One more reported just this morning: Matt Purke, who passed on $4M two years ago and has just signed with the Nationals for $4M.
Purke had a pre-draft deal for $6M (as bonus, as opposed to the 4.x big league deal). That was a weird case.
   48. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:26 PM (#3901397)
Sowers didn't want to sign out of HS - he was drafted with the intention of flipping the pick 'til the next year.

Alan Horne got 400K and had turned down 1.6M.
   49. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:30 PM (#3901403)
One other thing: it can hurt your negotiating position in the long run, but players arguably have a responsibility to signal to teams their willingness to sign out of HS. (For example, Lincecum floated a price of 1M which was too much for the tiny HS kid with the weird motion and high pitch counts, so he went toward the tail of the draft.)

If you're picked high (suggesting that teams think that you'll be willing to sign) and you don't - I think that's considered a potential flag when you come back out for the draft as a junior (or sophomore). Not a deal breaker, but it doesn't help.
   50. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3901408)
A good college education registers for exactly 5 seconds during an interview.

Wow. As someone who's been in that business for 20 years, I don't think you take my point about value. "Vandy" isn't something you put on your resume, it's so you can call the dad of that walk-on you played with and not have to look at a hiring manager. There is a reason that people who go to elite universities have a better chance at a great career, and it ain't because of the faculty. I see BDC has alluded to this upthread, and I would ask this - if the fear that he will get hurt or not prosper enough to go on comes to pass, don't you think a fellow would you know, take advantages of the opportunity of being at an elite school?

No one seems to have thought about opportunity cost either - if he's a bust at pro baseball for whatever reason, he'll have to start education later, which will certainly lead to lower total lifetime earnings, and certainly with fewer school options, plus having to pay for it, that all have a large negative impact potential to the value and form of his non-baseball career.

Further, you don't get 2.5M. You get 2.5M - agent's fees - income taxes, which would trim that by a non-trivial amount. Folks being what they are, I'd think the fellow might even spend some right off the bat., so that nest egg gets even smaller.

And in any event is he STILL has a great chance to make a lot of money playing baseball. Gaining a hedge, plus an opportunity to make an even bigger bonus vs taking the initial offer is the construct here, with a three year gamble to stay healthy and pitch well.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:38 PM (#3901418)
I'm not sure why people are framing this a solely an economic decision. Put another way:
"I think we get tied up too much in this country trying to quantify everything in dollar terms."
I'm all for talking about this stuff in dollar terms ... by placing a dollar value on the stuff you're foregoing to play ball. That other stuff is key.


Because we're talking about his career, which is fundamentally an economic decision.

His choices are to play baseball for money, or go to college and develop his professional (either athletic or intellectual) skills. There's no rational way this is not primarily an economic calculus.

The idea of paying $2.5M so you can "experience college" (which I guess means either a) get drunk and bang college chicks or b) go to class and develop your mind for its own sake) at 18 rather than 22 or 25 (if you flame out) or 40 (if you're a fabulously successful MLB player) is ludicrous.

There's nothing you can get out of college at 18 that you can't get more of (either in college or elsewhere) at age 22-25 with $1.5M+ in the bank.
   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3901424)
There is a reason that people who go to elite universities have a better chance at a great career

Yes, because they were smart enough to get in in the first place.

A guy who's only there b/c of his athletics is unlikely to get anything like the (non-sports) career benefit of the students who are there b/c of their smarts.

There has been plenty of research that shows the value of an "Ivy League" education is mostly screening and signalling; i.e. you passed the rigorous screen which signals to future employers, "Hey this guy is really smart".
   53. JRVJ Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3901425)
Alan Horne got 400K and had turned down 1.6M.


Damn, this guy has really had bad luck then, because injuries completely derailed what would have been the 4th member of what turned into the Yanks "Big 3" generation (the others being P. Hughes, J. Chamberlain and Ian - now a Diamondback - Kennedy).
   54. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#3901430)
A guy who's only there b/c of his athletics is unlikely to get anything like the (non-sports) career benefit of the students who are there b/c of their smarts.


I'm not sure I believe this - high-profile college athletes are surrounded by boosters and generous alumni, they are well known among the student body - a crafty kid could easily turn this into a good network.
   55. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#3901432)
There is a reason that people who go to elite universities have a better chance at a great career

Yes, because they were smart enough to get in in the first place.

Have it your own bootstrappy way. GWB is proud of your POV.
   56. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3901438)
There's nothing you can get out of college at 18 that you can't get more of (either in college or elsewhere) at age 22-25 with $1.5M+ in the bank.

My thoughts exactly. If the kid has a trust fund already, then it might not be a big deal. But otherwise, this is a crazy risk.
   57. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3901440)
Wow. As someone who's been in that business for 20 years, I don't think you take my point about value.


I'm not framing this as an economic decision. Beede did. I'm a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature and I left computer programming because I didn't care about money. It's been nearly a decade now and based on my last salary when I left programming, I'm sure I'd be making 20 times what I'm making as a graduate student. I think I understand "value."

As to "opportunity cost": It's you, spike, who doesn't understand opportunity cost. Putting $2.5MM minus fees and taxes into an investment now and taking the minor league salary even if he flames out will net him more money over the course of his life than almost any other career choice he can make. Going to Vandy doesn't get him as much money as taking the money now and taking a salary later. Basically, by not taking the money he will very likely retire at the normal retirement age rather than around 40 which he could have done by playing baseball in MLB and having an excellent career, or taking $2.5MM and flaming out then going to college and taking an average middle-class salary. The point is, the signing bonus is the lost opportunity, not a Vanderbilt education.
   58. Flynn Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3901450)
erm, i know it's not usual for athletes to actually study in school, but the value of a degree and connections made at a top flight university have to be worth millions as well, right? It seems like a very reasonable hedge to me, especially against 2.5M

I imagine having played in the big leagues or even just pro ball is a pretty sweet way to gain connections and open doors. Plus MLB has the College Scholarship Program, so he could have negotiated in his contract that the Jays would pay for his education if he washed out.

If the dad played pro ball I'm wondering if dad didn't go to college and maybe struggled a bit economically and that's influencing his decision, or maybe it's just a bad advisor who told him he was worth too much. But even a good well-run college program like Vandy that doesn't frag their pitchers is a less optimal place to develop into a big leaguer than pro ball.
   59. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:11 PM (#3901454)
snapper, if you actually believe:

The idea of paying $2.5M so you can "experience college" (which I guess
means either a) get drunk and bang college chicks or b) go to class and develop your mind for its own sake) at 18 rather than 22 or 25 (if you flame out) or 40 (if you're a fabulously successful MLB player) is ludicrous.


then I don't think we'll be able to bridge any gap in philosophy here. That seems so reductive and simplistic (placing $0 value on the value future athletic endeavors should they go to college net lost post-FA years from going pro early; more importantly, debasing time spent in school as an accumulation of sexual experiences and accrued credits) so as to be laughable. Have you known people who went to college after high school and those who went later in life? They're very different experiences - not saying one is worse or better (for a given individual) but they're different.

Moreover, is your career designed to maximize your income? I could double my salary doing something else. I could double my free time with a different choice. I have the career I do (beyond entropy) to maximize some kind of work/life balance - and imagine most people here (everywhere) aren't all that different in that regard. *This* is the economic decision, this is first day econ 101.

To be unnecessarily clear, going pro early is fine. Going to school is fine. It's up to a given family/kid to figure out what is right for them and that includes a lot of concerns beyond the contract offer on the table.

***

As for signalling/screening - that's generally true, but networking is normally considered (in the lit I've read) as part of the lumped in effects; so, they're trying to remove the impact of "the education" and looking instead at "the other stuff".
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:12 PM (#3901455)
I'm not sure I believe this - high-profile college athletes are surrounded by boosters and generous alumni, they are well known among the student body - a crafty kid could easily turn this into a good network.

Maybe for Football and Basketball, if you're a star at a factory-school, you can make a career selling insurance or stocks to alums, but I doubt there's a huge cadre of Vandy Baseball boosters who're going take care of Beede if he blows out his shoulder next March.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3901457)
Have it your own bootstrappy way. GWB is proud of your POV.

I think the fact of who his Dad was mattered a whole hell of a lot more than where he went to school. I don't think his career differs materially if his resume read UConn and NYU B-School rather than Yale and Harvard.
   62. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#3901460)
Basically, by not taking the money he will very likely retire at the normal retirement age rather than around 40 which he could have done by playing baseball in MLB and having an excellent career, or taking $2.5MM and flaming out then going to college and taking an average middle-class salary.
Age 40 is, imo, wildly optimistic (short of big league success).
   63. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3901463)
I imagine having played in the big leagues or even just pro ball is a pretty sweet way to gain connections and open doors

But the prop was that he might never make it to the big leagues so he should take the money. If he's good enough to get to the pros the point is moot.
   64. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#3901466)

Because we're talking about his career, which is fundamentally an economic decision.

His choices are to play baseball for money, or go to college and develop his professional (either athletic or intellectual) skills. There's no rational way this is not primarily an economic calculus.


Primarily, but economics is the not the totality of the calculus. I agree with Der_K. Certainly money is important, but once you get past the essentials and are at a "comfortable" level, it will get less important to some people. We can only analyze the dollar figures because that is what we have to go on, but anyone suggesting that its a pure mathematics equation is being absurd. There are dozens of factors that go into a life-altering decision like this and money is just one of them.


No one seems to have thought about opportunity cost either - if he's a bust at pro baseball for whatever reason, he'll have to start education later, which will certainly lead to lower total lifetime earnings, and certainly with fewer school options, plus having to pay for it, that all have a large negative impact potential to the value and form of his non-baseball career.


Yea, but he's graduating with probably a million dollars in the bank (teams also often pay for college education as part of their contract). I graduated with nothing - actually less than nothing since I owed tens of thousands in student debt.

Not to mention that being a pro baseball player could make for a something to stand out on your resume. And the minor leagues are a way to "network." There are more than a few career minor leaguers that have parlayed their crappy careers into a lifelong career in baseball or even other ventures because of people they met along the way.
   65. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#3901470)
My thoughts exactly. If the kid has a trust fund already, then it might not be a big deal. But otherwise, this is a crazy risk.

For most people, I think that's true - it's certainly not wise as a negotiation strategy*. But if college is that important to you and you're that willing to potentially forego a lot of money, go to college.


* Well, I guess you could look at it from the perspective of something like (very reductive here):
- play softball, get medium bonus, 100% chance of signing
- play hardball, get big bonus 80% of time, nothing 20%
But real negotiations are obviously more complicated.
   66. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#3901471)
Basically, by not taking the money he will very likely retire at the normal retirement age rather than around 40 which he could have done by playing baseball in MLB and having an excellent career, or taking $2.5MM and flaming out then going to college and taking an average middle-class salary. The point is, the signing bonus is the lost opportunity, not a Vanderbilt education.

Invalid comparison. How does not taking the money now reduce his chances of a successful pro baseball career? He can be just as easily injured in A ball as SEC ball. His performance and ability to remain injury free in either pro or amateur ball will get him to the next level or not, independent of choice
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3901472)
then I don't think we'll be able to bridge any gap in philosophy here. That seems so reductive and simplistic (placing $0 value on the value future athletic endeavors should they go to college net lost post-FA years from going pro early; more importantly, debasing time spent in school as an accumulation of sexual experiences and accrued credits) so as to be laughable. Have you known people who went to college after high school and those who went later in life? They're very different experiences - not saying one is worse or better (for a given individual) but they're different.

Moreover, is your career designed to maximize your income? I could double my salary doing something else. I could double my free time with a different choice. I have the career I do (beyond entropy) to maximize some kind of work/life balance - and imagine most people here (everywhere) aren't all that different in that regard. *This* is the economic decision, this is first day econ 101.

To be unnecessarily clear, going pro early is fine. Going to school is fine. It's up to a given family/kid to figure out what is right for them and that includes a lot of concerns beyond the contract offer on the table.


I really can't see how going to school at 18 is any better than going at 22 when you're rich. I would have enjoyed college a lot more when at 30, with a bankroll, both socially and intellectually.

No I don't maximize my income, I trade-off income for working hours, and working environment, but that's not the issue here.

Beede is going to be playing baseball. His choice is to play baseball for the Jays and get paid $2.5M, or play for Vandy and get paid $160,000, in kind. Given that, I think it's crazy not to take the extra $$$$.

If Beede turned down baseball to become a Dr., or a teacher, or a rabbi, or a priest (like that A's prospect did) I'd have no argument with his decision, b/c he'd be making a real tradeoff.

In this case, Beede is just getting paid much, much, much less to play ball, and get his degree now (maybe, he probably won't graduate) rather than getting his degree later.
   68. bookbook Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:27 PM (#3901479)
Yeah. I'm sorry. I don't know what they're smoking at Vandy, or what shady dealings they cut their alumni in on, but there's no way that degree beats $2.5 million cash in hand. What do I know--they don't teach business at Stanford.
   69. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3901482)
There's some small chance that the kid and family both really value a conventional college experience at an exclusive university.

A first round MLB draft pick at Vanderbilt isn't going to have anything resembling "a conventional college experience", though.
   70. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3901483)
I would have enjoyed college a lot more when at 30, with a bankroll, both socially and intellectually.

Damn, dude. I still perform music 2 nights a week at age 50, but hangin' with college kids for several hours a day after your own sell-by date is really not so good.
   71. bookbook Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3901484)
That said, it's his choice. College is a valuable experience regardless.
   72. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#3901486)
How does not taking the money now reduce his chances of a successful pro baseball career?

Because, if he enrolls at Vanderbilt and MLB rules remain the same, he'll have to remain healthy for three years and remain one of the top 20 or so baseball prospects in the country. It's the baseball equivalent of driving without insurance for three years. Even if the odds are in his favor, the downside is very high.
   73. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#3901487)
(double post)
   74. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#3901496)
Damn, dude. I still perform music 2 nights a week at age 50, but hangin' with college kids for several hours a day after your own sell-by date is really not so good.

These days, the average person takes 5-plus years to complete a bachelor's degree (maybe not at Vandy, but in general) and I'm sure Vandy has all sorts of grad programs in which 20-somethings and even 30-somethings are enrolled. Why would a 22-year-old or even a 25-year-old be that out of place there?
   75. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3901497)
I would have enjoyed college a lot more when at 30, with a bankroll, both socially and intellectually.

This reads as "No one gave me the time of day at 18, and in the other scenario I'm rich."


Because, if he enrolls at Vanderbilt and MLB rules remain the same, he'll have to remain healthy for three years and remain one of the top 20 or so baseball prospects in the country. It's the baseball equivalent of driving without insurance for three years. Even if the odds are in his favor, the downside is very high.

You've completely misunderstood the question. To have a successful pro career, he has to remain healthy and good over the next three years either way. He's no more likely to get hurt or lose effectiveness and derail his chances at a major league career in college than in the Midwest League. You're talking about his chances of maintaining his draft status, which is a different matter.
   76. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3901501)
Well, he will be draft eligible again in three years (sooner if he gets cold feet and transfers to a juco). If his stock plummets, he might get 20K ... if it soars, he could get more. Odds are, he'll get a significant offer (pie in the sky: $1-1.5M) but there's a huge amount of variation there.

No I don't maximize my income, I trade-off income for working hours, and working environment, but that's not the issue here.
Isn't it? He told teams he'd be a tough sign because he wanted to go to college. He's now going to college where he will play ball, take classes, and be a kid in college. They're getting what they wanted (as far as I can tell), maximizing their happiness. I don' think this is a Matt Harrington deal.

This isn't *that* unusual, by the way - Beede is getting attention because he was a first round pick, but there were other guys who were first, supplemental, second round talents who fell because it was known that they'd ask for the moon (to make up for the foregone opportunity). Granted, most guys sign - 'cause it's a lot of money, for most people, tha'ts the right decision.

***

I can't compare my experiences to those of any athlete, but I think it's a very good thing I went to college straight out of high school ... getting away from my family, neighborhood, etc... and building / figuring out / refining my identity in that setting was very fruitful, even though I was intensely broke and socially awkward. Not sure what dollar value to place on it - I suspect it was worth more in retrospect than I would have thought it was at the time. Then again, my - or any other individual's - feelings on this stuff are moot, they need to do right by the kid.
   77. BDC Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3901504)
A first round MLB draft pick at Vanderbilt isn't going to have anything resembling "a conventional college experience", though

Yes; they'd have to be quite idealistic to think so. I don't hold out much hope that this is actually the case. Most of these non-signers are, I think, skewed in their perceptions by the weird inflation of both bonuses and rhetoric. People suggest to an infant amateur baseball player that he's somehow naturally worth $4M by right of having a nice sandlot fastball, and he's so immersed in the system that an offer of $2M is an outrage. I understand that the bonuses are cost-effective from the teams' standpoint: for a small percentage of their ML payroll, they invest in a supply of cost-controlled young players that should yield a lot of value on aggregate. But from a kid's perspective, I rarely understand the refusal: it's a matter of "they're only offering me a few million? I'll take a small fraction of that instead! That'll show them!" But of course, in the system, that's their only real counterweight to the club's offer.
   78. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3901505)
I would have enjoyed college a lot more when at 30, with a bankroll, both socially and intellectually.


I think I would have enjoyed it more intellectually at 30, but definitely not socially.

Why would a 22-year-old or even a 25-year-old be that out of place there?


There's a world of difference between 18 and 22. I mean, just think about his first decision: rich 22 year old would probably live off campus in his own apartment. I wouldn't want to have to bunk with some 18 year old dick that is just now discovering how much fun drinking is. I am sure that the 22-25 year old could easily find a happy community of fellow students of similar ages, but he's not going to experience college the same way, and will miss out on a lot of the quintessential collegeness.
   79. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#3901509)
This isn't *that* unusual, by the way - Beede is getting attention because he was a first round pick, but there were other guys who were first, supplemental, second round talents who fell because it was known that they'd ask for the moon (to make up for the foregone opportunity).


Someone mentioned in the draft thread that Marlins third round pick Connor Barron may have passed up signing because his girlfriend will attend U of Southern Miss, where he has committed to play.

18 year olds don't always make decisions based on rational economic calculations.
   80. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 06:58 PM (#3901513)
This reads as "No one gave me the time of day at 18, and in the other scenario I'm rich."

Well, it should read, at 18 I was socially and intellectually immature (like 98% of 18 y.o.'s), lived in a crappy dorm room, eating crappy dining hall food and wasted a lot of time.

Whatever you want to get out of college, be it serious intellectual pursuit, or partying, is going to be there at 22-25, just as much as at 18, and you'll probably be able to enjoy it more, if you've matured like most people do.
   81. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#3901515)
Snapper - your immaturity, and the fact that you share it with your peers, is an important part of the experience, and what would mostly be lost by enrolling at age 23.

Which is fine, a 23-year old freshman can have an enormously rewarding college experience. But there is some value to going at age 18 that can never be recaptured.
   82. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3901516)
I am sure that the 22-25 year old could easily find a happy community of fellow students of similar ages, but he's not going to experience college the same way, and will miss out on a lot of the quintessential collegeness.

Perhaps, but he will have experienced that "quintessential collegeness," times two or three (or ten), in pro baseball. I can understand the argument that a Vandy education might have a lifetime value north of the $2.5M this kid turned down, but turning down $2.5M so he can hang out with 18-year-olds and get drunk and all that? Relative to the similar or better experiences in pro ball, college is a downgrade.
   83. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3901517)
I'm kind of surprised that so many people frown on a young guy's (and probably his family's) decision to go to a good school rather than play ball in the minors. It may be motivated partly by greed, but I prefer to see it as a noble decision that he'd forego the money to emphasize bettering himself as a person rather than just taking the money and being a baseball machine. Maybe he'll get a little less money, but he might be a happier person in the long run.
   84. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:04 PM (#3901519)
There's a world of difference between 18 and 22. I mean, just think about his first decision: rich 22 year old would probably live off campus in his own apartment. I wouldn't want to have to bunk with some 18 year old dick that is just now discovering how much fun drinking is. I am sure that the 22-25 year old could easily find a happy community of fellow students of similar ages, but he's not going to experience college the same way, and will miss out on a lot of the quintessential collegeness.

Sounds like a win-win to me. IMHO, most of the "quintessential collegeness" is pretty crappy. In reality, 16-22 y.o.'s are generally horrible people. If you could avoid them your whole life, it would be awesome.

The absolute best thing about adulthood to me in the end of cliques/popular people that persists through college. The ability to let an ####### know he's an #######, with no reprecussions on you socially or otherwise, is one of great joys of being an adult. If I could have traded the 10 years from age 13-22 for an extra 5 years of being in my late 20's, I would have done it in a heartbeat.
   85. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#3901521)
Snapper - your immaturity, and the fact that you share it with your peers, is an important part of the experience, and what would mostly be lost by enrolling at age 23.

Which is fine, a 23-year old freshman can have an enormously rewarding college experience. But there is some value to going at age 18 that can never be recaptured.


Yeah well, people have described me as being born a 30 y.o. In an odd way my "immaturity" was an over-maturity, and my "maturing" was learning not to give a F*** what immature ######## think.

I still remember a godd friend of mine in B-School saying "Arthur, when you don't like somebody, you really don't do anything to hide it." One of the great compliments I've ever received.
   86. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3901523)
Just purely speculating here, I would bet that most of the guys who skip college and take the money who don't make it in professional ball, I'd guess that very few of them wind up ever going to college. It's tough to go back to school when you've been out for a long time.

Most 1st round guys who don't suck but aren't good enough for MLB I would guess stick around until they're 26-28, although there's probably a lot of variation there. They'd probably have to take the SAT again, and relearn all that math, which takes way more motivation to do when you're 28 then when you're basically forced to learn it in high school.
   87. Flynn Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3901524)
Invalid comparison. How does not taking the money now reduce his chances of a successful pro baseball career? He can be just as easily injured in A ball as SEC ball. His performance and ability to remain injury free in either pro or amateur ball will get him to the next level or not, independent of choice

Not true at all. Vandy does a better job than most but there are college coaches up and down Division 1-A who will totally blow out a guy's arm in order to get to the College World Series. For them you are only as useful as your time at the university, they couldn't care less what happens to you when you leave.

College is about winning, the minors are about development. Do you not want development?

Snapper - your immaturity, and the fact that you share it with your peers, is an important part of the experience, and what would mostly be lost by enrolling at age 23.

It's not nothing, but there are upsides too when you go as an older student, as long as you're not so old that hanging out with 18/19 year olds is creepy. I started university at 22 and I wasn't so much older that I couldn't relate, but it was nice having a certain perspective. There were plenty of first year students who were totally self-destructive in their inability to manage themselves, and it was nice being able to wave goodbye at 3 am and walk home to my own flat and be a grown up again.
   88. spike Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3901525)
"Arthur, when you don't like somebody, you really don't do anything to hide it." One of the great compliments I've ever received.

A Molière fan, I see....
   89. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3901529)
I'm kind of surprised that so many people frown on a young guy's (and probably his family's) decision to go to a good school rather than play ball in the minors. ...

I understand the value of learning for learning's sake, but 99% of the reason for going to college is to improve one's economic opportunities in the future. Otherwise, Vanderbilt wouldn't be able to charge $60,000 per year. With that in mind, baseball just offered this kid a chance to fast-forward through the college phase and essentially set himself up for life.

In a country where fully 25% of the workforce is either unemployed or underemployed, it just seems cavalier to say "no, thanks" to a $2.5M bonus when the kid could have banked the bonus and then gone to college at age 21 or 22 (or even started college immediately by attending in the fall semesters, which was relatively common among pro baseball players not that long ago).
   90. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:16 PM (#3901536)
If you're able/willing to consider life at age 13 to be like life at age 22, then we've got our answer there. ;)
In all seriousness, your college experience sounds pretty different from mine - popularity/cliques weren't much of an issue outside of the frat/sorority scene. (I also wasn't getting drunk, took heavy loads, worked part time, and was involved in all kinds of social activities - so that's possibly non-standard in and of itself.)
Most 22 year olds I know (I know a few) are pretty good people, but there's self-selection going on there.

Barron: That was me; if I understood correctly, she's already a student there. That can be filed under 'stuff I didn't need to ever know'.
   91. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#3901539)
IMHO, most of the "quintessential collegeness" is pretty crappy.


Just because you're so cranky doesn't mean everyone else is or should be. I made lifelong friends in college. I met teenagers that were responsible and generous and curious and excited about the world.

I also don't feel like college was to cliquey for me - that type of thing peaked from 6th grade to 11th. I can't think of many college students that weren't able to establish a good circle of friends. Even in a very small school (2,000 students), the student body was big enough that one could very easily ignore (and in fact be almost entirely ignorant of) the worthless hippies or the pompous crew team or the thick-necked hockey players or whatever group it is that pissed one off.

There was one girl on my freshman hall that we called "Grandma" because she would complain about any amount of noise or fun. I'm not sure how many friends she had. Maybe she was a kindred spirit of yours, snapper.
   92. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#3901540)
Just purely speculating here, I would bet that most of the guys who skip college and take the money who don't make it in professional ball, I'd guess that very few of them wind up ever going to college.

I saw numbers once - it's pretty low. That's one reason teams are willing to offer the benefit as often as they do. Joe, this might be in your wheelhouse - do you have any info here?

In general, 86 and 87 both sound very reasonable to me.

***

I don't want to put down the idea of waiting to go to college until later in life by any means .... my best friend waited until his late 20s which was absolutely ideal and necessary for him.
   93. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3901548)
The idea of paying $2.5M so you can "experience college" (which I guess means either a) get drunk and bang college chicks or b) go to class and develop your mind for its own sake)

Those things don't have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, one can even bang college chicks while sober.
   94. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3901558)
I saw numbers once - it's pretty low. That's one reason teams are willing to offer the benefit as often as they do. Joe, this might be in your wheelhouse - do you have any info here?

I haven't seen any numbers lately but unless the trend has reversed in recent years, it's always been a low number. Scouts used to laugh when players would insist on trading "x" amount of bonus money for "y" amount of college money, since few of them would ever actually collect on the benefit.

The same is true in the Dominican. There are several teams that now offer free school to players who are released down there, and I believe, at last count, the grand total of players who had taken advantage of the offer was three.
   95. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3901562)
but 99% of the reason for going to college is to improve one's economic opportunities in the future


I've probably been crazily brainwashed by my parents (and certainly didn't possess any skills at 18 that anyone would dream of giving me $2.5M for), but it just seems kind of crass to me to think of it as such a purely economic decision. Economics is certainly part of it, but it certainly wasn't 99% for me, and judging by the number of humanities majors out there, it's not that much for a lot of people. Mayeb I'm off-base here, but it's interesting that the idea that money obviously buys happiness and trumps all other concerns seems to be deeply ingrained in culture right now. It's trite, and obviously life can be easier with more money, but the idea that it's cavalier to take less money to do something that you want to do to try to better yourself seems kind of weird to me.
   96. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3901571)
Maybe I'm off-base here, but it's interesting that the idea that money obviously buys happiness and trumps all other concerns seems to be deeply ingrained in culture right now.

Well, the flip side is that happiness won't pay off your $240,000 Vanderbilt loans. This kid seems to be getting a full ride, so that's not an issue for him, but I just can't get my mind around the idea that hanging out with 18- to 21-year-old college kids at Vandy for $0 in actual cash is somehow better or more valuable than banking ~ $1.8 million and hanging out with 18- to 21-year-old minor league baseball players. Life is chock full of tradeoffs, but if this kid blows out his arm, I have to believe he'll look back with regret, rather than saying, 'Well, I could have been set for life, but those frat parties sure were fun.'
   97. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3901572)
Just because you're so cranky doesn't mean everyone else is or should be. I made lifelong friends in college. I met teenagers that were responsible and generous and curious and excited about the world.

I also don't feel like college was to cliquey for me - that type of thing peaked from 6th grade to 11th. I can't think of many college students that weren't able to establish a good circle of friends.


I'm obviously lumping a huge time frame with a lot of change together in two sentences, so take what I say in that context.

It's not like I didn't enjoy college, and I had plenty of friends. But, I feel like it was broadly speaking, a huge waste of time and opportunity, not just for me, but for most students. And this was Harvard, not some rinky-dink school.

The first day of freshman orientation, they were selling t-shirts that said "Harvard '93: The hardest part was getting in", and that couldn't have been more true.

In retrospect, I wish I had faced a classical "Great Books" curriculum like my parents did. That I read more of the classics, had to spend more than 10-15 hours a week studying, learned a foreign language or 3.

As a society, we sink huge amounts of resources into college, and just don't get much return. It's sad, and a waste.

The living in crappy dorms, communal bathrooms, bad food, doing my own laundry; that I could have happily lived w/o.
   98. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3901574)
A Molière fan, I see....

No, is there something of his I should read?
   99. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:46 PM (#3901575)
Another thing to add is that playing minor league baseball is a job, man. You travel all the time, and you work at playing baseball. I don't think it's particularly unreasonable that an 18-year-old might want to postpone that.
   100. billyshears Posted: August 16, 2011 at 07:46 PM (#3901576)
I was completely miserable the majority of my freshman year in college. It was ####### awesome. And I knew it at the time.
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