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Must-click link: The struggles of Shaq Thompson

Jul 21, 2012, 9:30 AM EDT

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Some of you may have heard about the struggles of Shaq Thompson, who was selected by the Red Sox in the 18th round of last month’s First-Year Player Draft.

The 18-year-old outfielder put a bow on his first professional season yesterday by going 0-for-2 with a strikeout for the organization’s rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate. He will now head to the University of Washington to begin his football season, so he’ll finish his pro debut at 0-for-39 with 37 strikeouts.

Thompson’s early struggles have made him a punchline in certain circles, but Alex Speier of has penned an excellent piece providing some greater context on his situation. Hopefully this is just a footnote on a productive career, no matter which path he chooses.

  1. ashipinharbor - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Great article. Credit Thompson for trying (and sticking with) a sport out of his comfort zone despite the lack of success thus far.

    • hittfamily - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      I’d rather give credit to the kids who bust their ass their whole life honing their craft who never get drafted, as opposed give credit to someone whose summer job is being a buffoon on a baseball field. This is insulting to everybody who was drafted below the 18th round, or not at all.

      It’s amazing what football coaches with a lot of connections can do for their recruits.

      • paperlions - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM

        Those kids must be really insulted, from rounds 18-25, about 18% of them didn’t sign, from rounds 26-30 about 1/3 didn’t sign, and after than more than 1/2 didn’t sign. That’s well over 200 “wasted” picks.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        And I busted my ass playing baseball my whole life hoping to play college ball and/or get drafted and I didn’t get either. I’m not insulted about this. I bet most people arent.

  2. schmale82 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Let’s go O’s!

  3. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Its acually a pretty cool story when you actually know the background of it. And while the article is right saying he’s not making a ton of money he’s still doing a lot better than most guys his age between their senior year of high school and freshman year of college. This guy seems willing to put in the work, I hope he has some success.

    • hittfamily - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      He wasn’t willing to put in the work as an amateur, but he is as a professional, so now I am supposed to be impressed?

      • paperlions - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        Dang, who pissed in your wheaties?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        You obviously didn’t read the article so I’ll explain it to you. After all the new debate on football and concussions he decided to return to a sport that he used to enjoy. He just happens to be a good enough athlete where a pro team was willing to take a chance on him while at the same time changing colleges to a place who would let him persue both.

      • hittfamily - Jul 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        I read the article. It said he gave it up in 5th grade!!! Now I’m supposed to find it inspiring because he’s getting $45,000 to strike out in 90% of his PA?

        I’ve read a lot of inspiring stories on here. This isn’t one of them. I’d prefer to read about the kid at Shaq’s high school who spent 3 hours in the batting cage everyday, only to attempt to walk on at the local community college. That is inspiring. A story of courage, and refusing to give up on your dream. Instead, I get an article about how inspirational it is that a great athlete has tremendous opportunities handed to him, because of the college coach he chose to play for.

      • paperlions - Jul 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        It’s just a story. Like it or not, most people are highly resistant to moving out of their comfort zone, they don’t try new things and often don’t even want to change the way they do old things….and usually, if they fail once or twice, as soon as things get challenging, they quit if they have a viable alternative. It is just a story about a kid failing and continuing to work at it anyway….and he didn’t give up nothing to do it, he switched colleges, a significant downgrade from Cal-Berkeley to UW, also moving farther away from home.

        He could have decided not to do it when it cost him something, but he didn’t. Instead, at 18, he went, alone, across the country to try to learn a new trade, and each year he’ll go to school (hopefully), do everything required to play football at a high level, and then work at baseball in his spare time. Doing far more than most college kids do during the year and during the summer (I know, I get to see the results of exactly how little they do on a regular basis).

        So you could just think, “good for him”….instead you chose, “I’m going to be a sour old dick head.” Again, people generally don’t like to venture outside of their comfort zone.

      • hittfamily - Jul 21, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Sour old dick head? I disagree with you, so I must be a dick head. The article was a fine article it wasn’t a “must click”, and when I saw the fawning over this man, I offered the other side. There is a finite number of roster spots. Because he is occupying one, an actual baseball player isn’t.

        There’s a lot of people who would love to make $45,000 a year who don’t. I’m not going to fawn over a guy who tries really hard for 3 months. and makes a pro rated $180,000 salary.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        I never said it should be inspiring. I said once you dig deeper than just seeing the 0 for the season with a ton of strikeouts there’s a legitimate yet odd reason why this particular player is struggling. By all accounts though he is taking his opportunity seriously and working to be better. That makes it a nice story. It isnt as negative as you want it to be.

  4. dgbk - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Calling an 18 yr old a buffon, You seem real mature and classy.

    Good article, obviously he focused more on football growing up. It is good to see he is willing to put in the extra work and not just take a check.

    • hittfamily - Jul 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      It’s more my anger at MLB for attempting this. Mike Vick was drafted, after never playing baseball. There are athletes drafted every year who have no intentions of ever trying to play the game. This kid found a way to make a quick $50,000. Perhaps buffoon was the wrong word. He’s a genius. The scout who recommended him is a buffoon.

      • paperlions - Jul 21, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        You are taking this very personally. Did a talented multi-sport black kid take your (or your son’s) spot on the HS baseball team or maybe in JC?

        The vast majority of kids drafted after the 10th round never make it. The majority of kids taken after the 25th round don’t sign and go to college instead to try and improve their draft stock….those kids didn’t want the $45K, they want more than that and are willing to not sign now to try to get it.

        No reason to be pissed at MLB for anything….again, lots of kids don’t want to sign and most of them have no shot at anything resembling a career in baseball. It isn’t like there are only so many spots that kids are clamoring for…they are willfully passing them up (or not qualified if they get them) in droves.

      • hittfamily - Jul 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        WOOOOAAAHHH. Being black has NOTHING to do with this. I thought it was ridiculous when Brock Lesnar was given an opportunity with the Vikings too (5 years after he failed as a football player).

        The vast majority of players taken before the 10th round don’t make it either!

        It bothers me, it does. I won’t deny that, but being black bothers me far less than not being a baseball player. I am for Affirmative Action. I had it explained to me in a sports metaphor once, and it made a lot of sense. “If you are a coach,and you have 2 fairly equal kids. One has perfect form and throws a 87 mph fastball. The other has terrible form and throws a 83 mph fastball. Do you want the kid with perfect form, and he is as good as he will ever be? Or do you want the kid who needs some polishing, and with proper technique, could be very good?”

        Obviously, I want the kid who has room for growth. However, that kid needs to at least be decent to be a professional baseball player.

    • metalhead65 - Jul 21, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      that inspiring story will be out the window if he lives up to his football hype and becomes the best at his position. then he will declare for the draft after his jr. year and sign the multi- million dollar contract and can forget about putting the hard work it takes to be a baseball player.

  5. deathmonkey41 - Jul 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Maybe he’ll follow in the footsteps of Drew Henson…with a much smaller signing bonus.

    • metalhead65 - Jul 21, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      Drew Henson played both sports his whole life,he did not just wake up one day decide he wanted to be a baseball player.he happened to be very good at both and gave up football for the security of big payday in baseball.

  6. jerryinbrooklyn - Jul 21, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Sounds to me like the University of Washington may have found a way to pay a kid $45,000 to play football for them.

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