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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
When young players are "too good"

No time to analyze this, but I wanted to call attention to this story about a youth baseball league in New Haven that has prohibited a 9-year-old on one team from pitching because he is "too good" (he throws 40 MPH, apparently with control) and now has taken steps to disband the team. There also seem to be some sub-surface issues about personal disputes between the adults running the league.

Sometimes, there is nothing to say.


I read the story this morning, that is absolutely crazy!

I can understand age limits, I can even understand size limits in peewee football. but to kick someone out because he/she is too good? and for what reason? parity? a level playing field?

this is the opposite of fair play and I hope it gets the attention of everyone involved in youth sports!

Blogger Jimmy H -- 8/26/2008 12:33 PM  

Simply ridiculous.

Blogger qtlaw24 -- 8/26/2008 12:33 PM  

Interesting. What message is the league sending to the kids who are faster, stronger or simply better players? Sorry boys, you can't play because you are dominating your sport.

I understand the safety concerns but if the kids are of legal age, weight, height,etc.. then, not allowing them to play is legally wrong.

g'town student

Anonymous Anonymous -- 8/26/2008 11:45 PM  

As someone who has coached a fair bit of youth baseball, I don't understand why this wasn't dealt with by moving the kid up to play with the next age group up. Obviously he is not challenged at this level and it is preferable for his skill development to play at a higher level. This also solves the problem of weaker children who are scared of the hard pitching. This type of thing is relatively common in our baseball system.

The backstory here, (with some insinuation that parents from other teams are behind the decision because this team is too strong), speaks to the desirability of keeping parents as far away from decision making positions in youth sports. It can be difficult to get other volunteers, but we've had success by limiting parental involvement wherever possible.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 8/27/2008 9:48 AM  

Without taking a position on the merits of either side, I would like to point out the other side, as I heard it on NPR tonight (All Things Considered for those interested):

1. This is not the "Youth Baseball League of New Haven" - that makes it sound like little league. It's the Liga Juvenil De Baseball De New Haven, a league for primary Spanish speakers, many of whom had never played organized baseball before.

2. A key issue is that the opposing players were getting demoralized playing entire games without getting a hit, which was contrary to the league's whole purpose of promoting the game and getting these children interested in and playing organized baseball.

3. They suggested (as anonymous does above) that Jericho pitch in a "competitive" league, like little league, but the parents refused.

Given the above points, I think the normative analysis gets a lot more fuzzy...

Anonymous Michael Risch -- 8/27/2008 7:35 PM  

Nine well-intended suggestions to solve the Jericho Scott crisis:

9. Encourage mother to enter bidding for Chicago Cubs.

8. Move pitching rubber from 46 feet to 460 feet.

7. Sheathe all batters in bubblewrap.

6. Adopt new Little League rule - all pitchers named for biblical cities must toss underhand.

5. Youth bocce season just around the corner.

4. Even things up by allowing opposing team to sign Danny Almonte.

3. Let Bud Selig worry about it.

2. Ask Chinese gymnasts to vouch that Jericho is really 9.

1. Can't the adults handle this?

Anonymous Mark Hyman -- 8/28/2008 7:56 AM  

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