Did you see the SI cover of this high school baseball player that’s supposed to be The Next Big Thing? Actually, I thought Stephen Strasburg was supposed to be The Next Big Thing, so maybe 16-year-old Bryce Harper here is supposed to be The Next Next Big Thing. And instead of waiting to finish high school and get drafted, Harper is planning to drop out of high school, get his GED, and play junior college ball to make himself eligible for the 2010 MLB Draft. Break it down, Tom Verducci:
“But that’s not the priority,” Ron [Harper, Bryce's father] said, referring to Bryce’s draft status. “We’re preparing him for college. That’s the priority. He’s very bored in school. Maybe it’s because he’s always been around older kids. But he’s ready move on. He was very forceful. He said, ‘I don’t want to be bored any more. I want to do it, Mom. I want to do it, Dad.’ He definitely wants to do this. We spoke with his counselor, his principal and his coach, and they agreed he’s ready for this.”
“Even if he’s not [draft eligible in 2010],” Ron said, “he will play 55 games a year with a wood bat and receive an associate art degree. It’s a good situation for him.”
Seriously, unless you’re borderline-handicapped mentally or just scoring all kinds of tail, the last two years of high school are quite pointless. I like everything about this move: he’ll be close to home, he’s preparing for his career of choice, and he has the blessing and support of everyone around him. It’s really the best you can do when the pro leagues are age-discriminating against the players. Another place that age-discriminates? Taco Bell, with their new menu item, the Pitaphile. I have to pay 99 cents for it, but if you’re 12 or younger, it’s free.