Put Me In Coach, I’m Ready To Play

While chuckling through one of the daytime serials that my mother insists upon DVRing while she drives the school bus, a newsbreak came on and announced the following: “A little league player is told that he can no longer pitch because he is too good. He throws a 40mph fast ball.” Nine-year old Jericho Scott is like many a young man who enjoys playing baseball in a summer league in Connecticut; however, he finds himself in the middle of a full blown controversy. Opposing teams have forfeited games when they see the pitcher on the mound. Officials for the league have threatened to dismantle Jericho’s team, and either redistribute the players to the other teams, or offer the kids a refund of the $50 sign-up fee. However, Jericho’s coach has not given up and refuses to disband the team.

I suppose there are two ways to look at this. I’m not sure that at nine years of age, I would like to face an opposing pitcher who threw at 40mph. Parents may not want to face the outcome if their child is hit by a ball of such velocity. However, it was reported that Jericho has yet to have his pitches hit even one batter.  Would this not make the opposing teams WANT to work even harder?

If you ask me, the one who is really suffering is Jericho, himself. He misses doing what he loves to do: pitching. Although he has played different positions, should he have to suffer when he has been told that he is really good at something? While thinking about the article, I began to see similarities to Jericho’s dilemma and adults in the work place. Many times, a person is told that he is OVER-qualified for a position because they have received advanced training in the field for which they have applied. Am I correct in assuming that this often boils down to the prospective employer not wanting to pay the person for time learning the trade?

I just think that this is a sad tale and a terrible position in which to place a nine-year-old. Punishing a child because he is “too good” is a horrible message to send to a child.

Ironically, this came to light mere days after a team from Hawaii defeated their Mexican opponents to capture the Little League World Series crown.

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7 Comments »

  1. justj Said:

    on August 26, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    40 mph and doesn’t hit batters, Detroit should keep an eye on this kid. They need pitchers who will throw strikes. 🙁

    When I play Little league at 9, I was worried about the kids who couldn’t throw strikes. Too many wild throwers. I had the bruises to prove it. I wonder what this tells all the kids. Don’t try to get better? Don’t do your best? We want a mediocre league? There should be no challenge in life? What about a kid who hits home runs most of his at bats, would he be kicked off too? The shortstop who never makes an error? Where does it stop?

    Yes, jamiahsh, the over qualified is just an excuse not to pay someone. Or sometimes, they worry that the employee won’t stay at the job. Lack of guts on the employer’s part.

  2. taylhis Said:

    on August 27, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I agree with you guys… not a good thing to teach a child. But I can’t really think of a solution… maybe send him over to the high school to play? I can’t imagine he’d be able to run very fast or be able to hit the balls high school kids would pitch though… poor kid.

  3. jamiahsh Said:

    on August 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Interestingly enough, that was one possible solution… moving him up to a higher league; however, if a high school player were too good, he would not be able to move on to the college level. There may not be an easy solution. Yes justj, I too was tentative about pitchers who couldn’t throw strikes.

  4. justj Said:

    on August 27, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    May not be a good thing to move the kid up a level, what if the only advanced baseball skill is his pitching. Up one level, the kids may be hitting balls back that he can’t field. That is also a scary thought. Funny how I was able to grow up on a non-level playing field. I remember trying to put together a team of the best players. I thought that is what you wanted? Fun is playing and learning the game. Sometimes that means you won’t be able to get a hit off a pitcher, but going against people better than you, will help you improve.

  5. jamiahsh Said:

    on August 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Right-o… forcing one player (let alone the whole team) to transfer because one player is “too good?” Precisely, just because his pitching is fantastic doesn’t illustrate his other attributes. That’s the other part of the story that got me… why would the entire team be made to change or accept a buy out.

  6. derek Said:

    on August 29, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    I’m a little mixed on this myself, but leaning heavily toward this not being fair. Did the NBA ban the Bulls? I know there were a couple of marching bands I wouldn’t have minded being banned for being too good when I was in high school at marching band competitions. This really does send the wrong message to the 9-year-old- “only mediocrity shall be acceptable.”

  7. jamiahsh Said:

    on August 29, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    AHHHHHH…. HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND competitions… need say no more 🙂 I recall one band that seemed to dominate year after year (even going back to jr high when I was a manager

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