Kyle Parker is one of those alpha-male stud athlete types that is easy to either love or hate, depending on one’s perspective. Easy with the gay jokes, I just thought it was a good opening line.
Actually, I kind of feel bad for Parker. It’s not often a guy can play high Division I football and baseball at the same time and still manage to be an NFL prospect and get drafted in the first round of the MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies. Pretty good freaking position to be in, but the inevitable choice for Parker has loomed over him and Clemson all summer.
Parker ended up choosing to not sign with the Colorado Rockies organization (and turn down first-round money) so he can play his senior season at Clemson this fall.
The reason I feel bad for him is his choice was between Clemson football and Rockies baseball. Well, not the majors. Something like the Single-A Tri-City Dust Devils, Asheville Tourists, or high-A Modesto Nuts. Maybe even the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. In any case, he’s choosing between a historically mediocre baseball organization and, well, Clemson football, which would probably hang Rockies-style “1995 wild card champions” flags in their football stadium given the opportunity.
Not exactly winning traditions on either side.
Plus, Clemson just lost C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford and, though Parker is the firmly entrenched starter, if anything goes wrong this season, the fans might be clamoring for the young but hugely talented Tajh Boyd. Maybe he just really wanted to play North Texas and Presbyterian this fall. Nice scheduling for Clemson, by the way.
Let’s break down his choice for the late summer and fall: playing minor league ball would mean road trips by bus all over random small towns and many, many baseball games that mean essentially nothing to anyone, the pressure to prove himself and his draft status, and the better-than-average chance that he can’t hack it in professional baseball anyway. Maybe, MAYBE he gets called up in a couple of years.
Playing for Clemson this fall means the following schedule: vs. North Texas, vs. Presbyterian, at Auburn, vs. Miami (FL), at North Carolina, vs. Maryland, vs. Georgia Tech, at Boston College, vs. NC State, at Florida State, at Wake Forest, vs. South Carolina.
Conservatively guessed, that’s a 6-6 or 7-5 schedule waiting to happen. They only have to get by FSU and BC in order to win their division and make the ACC title game, but it’s not like they’re a national title team. Plus, this is Clemson we’re talking about. They average at least two catastrophic losses every season, so 6-6 is probably where they’re headed.
In the minds of Clemson fans, Parker is supposed to change all that. He is the lone remaining star on the team and probably its leader too. And there is the main reason that probably explains his decision.
The one thing you have to give Parker credit for is turning down what would surely be a life-changing amount of money for one more shot at glory on the gridiron. Not too many guys would do that given the dangers of playing football. One wrong step or missed blocking assignment and his career in both sports could be over.
Parker doesn’t owe anything to the Rockies (yet). He hasn’t bled with them and lost to Maryland for two consecutive years with them. There’s no history. So Kyle Parker, I salute you and your brazenness. I just don’t expect to ever hear from you again. Until the Padres are kicking your ass four years from now. BAM.