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A pitch for the perfect job



Published: Sun, August 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



An open letter and words of advice to all the young people:

In the next few years, many of you will be entering an important time in your life. You will have to make some of the most important decisions you will ever make.

What college should I attend?

What kind of career should I choose?

There are many more questions you'll be asking, to be sure, and answers that you'll be seeking, but this being a family publication we'll leave those to the privacy of your home.

Get ready to spend: And since there are two kinds of colleges -- those you can't afford to attend, and those if you have to ask how much it costs you can't afford to attend -- I'm going to help you settle on your career choice.

Professions in the 21st century will continue to be service-oriented. So you're should focus defining your job skills on assisting others. That could include health care, for instance.

But, I know what you're thinking. You have two questions: How fast can I make enough money to retire, and how fast can I prepare for it in college and graduate?

And, I think I've found the perfect answer.

Bullpen coach.

No, really. I've watched literally hundreds of major league baseball games in my lifetime and I've decided, if I there really is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as Dan Williams.

Didn't you use to be? Williams is the bullpen coach for the Cleveland Indians. Now, I'm sure he was a pretty fair ballplayer as a youngster and he played well enough in high school to be noticed by a few college scouts.

He even played a few years of professional ball in the Indians organization, but as a career .249 hitter, it became painfully obvious to both Williams and the club that he wasn't going to enjoy a long, productive career.

So, Williams agreed to become a coach for the Tribe and shortly thereafter was assigned to duties as the big league team's bullpen coach.

Here is a list of Williams' duties during a typical day around Jacobs Field:

* Catch starting and relief pitchers in the bullpen.

* Throw batting practice.

* Hit fungoes.

Benefits: For this, Williams earns a salary, gets at least two free meals virtually every day from April through September, spends almost two full months in Florida in the middle of the winter and travels around the country.

Granted, the money isn't great (if you want to be a millionaire by age 25, anyway), especially when you consider Williams is working with guys who are millionaires by the time they turn 25.

But consider the perks. Free meals. Free travel and lodging away from home. Free clothes (if you don't mind short pants and colorful socks). Free admission to about 200 or so major league baseball games every year.

Priceless.

And, as an aside, consider you could probably pass yourself off as an actual player to some of the less-brilliant autograph seekers and make a little extra cash selling your signature.

(As a disclaimer, this isn't intended to be dispariging toward Williams and his brethren on other major league teams. His purpose for this letter is simply as an example.)

So, go ahead and consider an Ivy League education, think about getting an MBA, become a CPA or go to law school or medical school.

But, I ask you, why?

Why waste six years of college and graduate school (or more) just to become a dentist, so you can stick your fingers in thousands of mouths for the rest of your life?

Take my advice. Hang out around a batting cage.

XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write him at todor@vindy.com.




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