Thursday, July 12, 2012

Open letter to Yankee top draft pick Ty Hensley, who has until Friday at 5 p.m. to sign

Dear Madam or Sir,

Ahh, I remember 18. The women. The breasts. The playpen. Wait. That was 18 months. But age 18 was sort of nice, too. Graduation from the hellhole. Working at McDonalds. Getting to stay up late and watch Johnny Carson. Eighteen is - well - frickin' eternal. You think you will be frickin' 18 for frickin' ever.
According to Internet scuttlebutt (whoops, a redundancy), you have until 5 p.m. Friday to sign a nearly $2 million contract with the New York Frickin' Yankees. At 5:01 p.m., the unsigned contract will turns into a pumpkin chariot, and two cartoon mice will drive it out of town. You will enroll at Ole Miss to study things like baseball and introduction to typing.

In trying to access your state of mind, I have constructed two scenarios:

1.     You are brilliant in pushing the Yankees to the absolute deadline negotiations limit before signing the paper. You want the best deal possible. This is smart. This is gamesmanship. This is exactly what you should be doing. Fight the bastards. Get the money.

2.     You are an idiot, overcome with the hubris of age 18; you think you're indestructable and that bad things only happen to other guys.  You think the world will always be at your doorstep. This is exactly what every 18 year-older thinks.

OK, let's mention the 900-pound gorilla in this debate: Gerrit Cole. He was drafted by the Yankees a few years ago, they offered him a ton of money, but he went to school instead and became the first player drafted last year. And now he’s in the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and who knows, maybe it will work out.

But for every Gerrit Cole, there are 50 Cole Gerrits, no-name pitchers who refused to sign, tweaked their elbow, fell in the rankings or never got drafted again at all.  It can happen to anybody. It can happen to you.

Listen: I didn't really mean that part about you being an idiot. No matter what you do, I'm sure you'll be happy. But once you get to Ole Miss, you’re on your own.
Sign the deal, and if your elbow hurts, you tell the coaches, and they will rest you, they will examine you, they will fix you.  They will protect you. You are a first-round pick. They will have a lot invested in you.

Reject the deal, and if your elbow hurts... well.. suck it up and keep throwing, pardner. Because they don't draft sore elbows in the first round. (Actually, the Yankees do; or did - Andrew Brackman - but it collapsed, so I don't think they'll do it again.)

Listen: If you attend Ole Miss, no matter what happens – whether you become a star and get redrafted, or you blow out an elbow and never make a penny - I believe you will live a happy life - the fate you were meant to live. You will make lifelong friends. You will have golden memories. But you will always look at the Yankees and feel a wistful sense of regret. Good luck in your decision. Aint 18 a bitch?

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