Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cry, babies

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott, above, has a gift for throwing a baseball, but the folks in the Youth Baseball League of New Haven, Conn., are trying to take it away from him. It seems that Jericho's fastball can reach speeds up to 40 mph, and some opposing players and parents cried so long and loud that the league told the boy's coach that he could no longer pitch. When Jericho's coach sent him to the mound anyway for a game last week, he said the opposing team forfeited the game, packed up its gear and left. Now the league is saying that it will disband Jericho's team and divvy up its players among other squads. But the coach, Wilfred Vidro, says the team is refusing to disband, and Jericho's parents are considering legal action. Good for them. Vidro suspects that Jericho is being targeted because he declined an offer to join the league's defending champions, a team that just happens to be sponsored by the employer of a league administrator. Hmmmm. Youth sports being sullied by politicking parents? Say it ain't so. The league's attorney, Peter Noble, offered this weak explanation: "He is a very skilled player, a very hard thrower. There are a lot of beginners. This is a developmental league whose main purpose is to promote the sport." Hogwash. The players in the league are 8- to 10-year-olds who will soon be moving on to Little League, where the pitchers might likely throw even harder. This is not a bunch of 5- and 6-year-old T-ballers. Jericho says he's bothered by the league's stance and the fallout from it. "I feel sad," he said. "I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play." Attorney John Williams, who is consulting with Jericho's parents, summed it up pretty well, telling the AP, "You don't have to be learned in the law to know in your heart that it's wrong." When I was in Little League back in the '60s, I was a small youngster, and my stature was matched only by my complete lack of talent. Yet I stood in there against pitchers who were throwing so hard that I couldn't even see the ball, let alone hope to hit it. My parents never suggested that the pitchers be removed, lest I be hit with a ball. And the funny thing in Jericho's case is that everyone involved, including league officials, agree that he has never, not once, hit an opposing player with a pitch. The real solution in this case is for the pantywaist parents and their coddled, pansy-ass kids to get out of baseball and try some other sport. Rhythmic gymnastics, anyone?


Blogger Ellipses said...

Uhm, hello? I had to bat against Pat Saddler in Mustang, Bronco, and Pony... Pat was probably north of 40mph in mustang... he certainly was bigger than that kid...

Hike up your skirt and step into the box.


August 26, 2008 at 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you realize that this kid wouldn't even make an all-star team in the Washington Youth Baseball League. Not because he's not talented enough but because his daddy's not a head coach in the league. Ever wonder why the PONY all-star team is only competitive once every 50 some years?

August 26, 2008 at 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yuk...sounds like sour grapes

August 27, 2008 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

The coaches kids generally DID make the all star teams... but then again... those kids tended to be good because their dads played baseball with them at home AND coached their team... I made 4 all-star teams in my years playing baseball... and my dad only coached once... in pinto, where they don't have an all-star team.


August 27, 2008 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

40 mph wouldn't even see the mound in any game I've seen in WYB.
And Anonymous apparently needs to spend more time working with his kid than complaining about why he didn't make an all-star team.
I've seen coaches kids make it who may not have deserved it. I've seen others who's kid didn't make it and did deserve it.
But all-stars isn't necessarily the 13 or 15 best kids. Sometimes there's a kid or two who have the talent, but not the attitude. Sometimes, the parents are so overbearing, people take it out on the kid. Doesn't make it right. It's just a fact of life.
And Washington's Pony team will never be competitive playing under the current Pony rules. To think that it will is folly.
If they win a game, they've done a good job.
Now, if you're going to make a stupid statement on a post that has nothing to do with this subject, you should at least man up and post your name with it.

August 28, 2008 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

While I think being a kid and facing a 40-mph pitch is intimidating, my thought is that facing pitches like these is an opportunity to improve my own game. I played Little League ball as a youth, and there was one pitcher who threw the ball like a rocket. He also had virtually no control over where the ball went, so many of his pitches were wild and occasionally hit the batter, myself included. I was terrified of going into the batter's box when he was on the mound, but I did it. I secretly felt like a sissy because I was afraid of him. I never told anyone, not even my dad, who was an assistant coach, because I was ashamed of my fear. I was only 10, but I knew I had to "man up" and face this guy.

In our feel-good-kids-can-never-suffer society, it's easier to bitch about a kid with more talent than your own kid than to encourage your own kid than it is to try a little harder and maybe learn a lesson from it.

The article stated that the league wanted to disband the team. What good will that do? Won't Jericho end up on another team with the same fastball?

August 28, 2008 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I wish I could play little league baseball now... I'd be so much better than when I was 8.



August 28, 2008 at 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Joe Tuscano said...

This is one example, and not even the worst, of why parents should not be permitted in youth sports. It also shows one of the reasons this newspaper does not write about youth leagues or their athletes. You wouldn't believe the stories I could tell.

August 28, 2008 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Let's hear some of those stories, omitting the names of the guilty, of course.

August 28, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

I can tell you this, every year we get letters to the editor or calls from people complaining that their kid didn't make the all-star team - from practically every league out there. It's like a rite of summer.

August 29, 2008 at 1:13 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

And what do these numbskulls think the paper is going to do, launch a five-part investigative series on why Little Johnny didn't make the Bronco all-star team? The kids, most likely, couldn't care less. It's just another case of the parents feeling some sort of entitlement and living vicariously through the achievements of a 9-year-old. Pathetic.

August 29, 2008 at 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever see the South Park where the kids kept winning their little league tournaments? It was more of a competition to lose because they wanted to enjoy their summer. Everytime I hear someone complain that their kid didn't make the All-Star team I think of this episode. I'm sure playing organized baseball games all summer long isn't fun for these kids especially the younger ones.

August 29, 2008 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Loved that episode. Isn't that the one where Stan's dad keeps fighting everyone?

August 29, 2008 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I love my children dearly, but I'm quite well aware that neither of them was ever athletically gifted enough to make an all-star team. My son's T-ball team was so bad that when it didn't make the playoffs, the league took the four worst teams, my son's included, and had a mini-playoff game for "the others." Guess what? His team came in last. They didn't care...all they wanted to do was head to the end-of-the-season pool party and cookout, complete with trampoline, gifts and trophies.

I just wish that so many parents could just take a realistic look at their children. Realizing that your child is clumsy and non-athletic doesn't mean you don't love them. It just means that you have a clumsy and non-athletic child.

August 31, 2008 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Joe Tuscano said...

You want a few more examples.

I know of a father who wrapped his son in plastic and set him next to a heater so he could lose weight and reach a lower weight class in wrestling.

I know of a father, who took his son into a corner, and berated him into tears because he lost his wrestling match . . . in the 8-under division.

I know a parent who kept a certifed scale in his kitchen and forced his son to weigh himself every morning to make sure he wasn't sneaking food at night. The kid was a wrestler.

I know a woman who poured some sort of liquid - beer possibly - on the coach who didn't select her kid to an All-Star team.

I know of a team that would not talk to a teammate because a story appeared about said player in the newspaper. This was, of course, when we did stories on youths.

I know of a football coach whose car was fire bombed by people from that school district after a loss.

I could go on but for days.

September 1, 2008 at 11:41 AM  

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