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August 19, 2014

Baseball Therapy

Becoming An Adult f/x

by Russell A. Carleton


Let’s play Family Feud. Name something that you need to be able to do on your own in order to be a functioning adult. I’ll wait while you write a few things down. Here, I’ll even give you a little room

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

Your list probably includes mundane things like being able to do your own laundry or cook your own food. Maybe it contains bigger accomplishments like living on your own or holding down a real job. Maybe it’s managing your own money. Maybe it’s being able to have a stable relationship. But whatever you put down, take a look back over your list and think about how old you were when you were able to do each of those things. I’m guessing that there are two things to note about the answers. One is that you didn’t start doing all of those things at the exact same time. The other is that it’s not likely that the answer is “exactly on my 18th birthday.” Nothing magic happens on your 18th birthday.

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a gradual one. For example, I knew how to cook a little bit when I went to college, but it took the summer that I wasn’t on the meal plan when I was 21 for me to be able to plan out and execute actual meals. I fed myself that summer. I moved into my first apartment (in another city!) when I was 22. But I opened my first bank account when I was 18 and met my wife when I was 19. Then again, my parents were still supporting me financially (at least a little bit) until I was 25. At what age did I finally become an adult?

That range of somewhere between 18 and 25 sounds about right. It doesn’t fit for everyone, and some people might be further along in their development, but it's at least a good guideline. Now let’s take a look at Jason Parkspreseason Top 101 prospects list, also known as the players who will determine the fates of all 30 teams. Take note of the ages of those players. Oh look! Smack dab in that 18 to 25 window!

We often encounter baseball players as little blobs of pixels that run around our TV screens or as characters in video games who politely swing when we tell them but don’t do much else. The reality is that players do not go into hibernation between the hours of 10 pm and 7 pm the next day. In fact, they’re busy doing other things, including developing as human beings. Consider the youngest members of a major-league family. There are plenty of players drafted directly out of high school (20 in the first round, including supplemental picks, in the most recent draft) and plenty more signed at the age of 16 internationally. While these players most certainly have great baseball talent, they are often being sent to live in minor league cities, potentially for the first time ever on their own, and potentially in a foreign country.

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