In case you haven’t heard, the Youth Baseball League of New Haven has banned 9-year-old Jericho Scott from pitching. Why? He’s too good, apparently. He reportedly throws around 40 mph, which is considered too fast for his fellow 9-year-olds to handle. One team forfeited their game and left as soon as he was put on the mound.
This story irked me on many different levels. As a former youth baseball player, a summer camp counselor, and a baseball fan, I can safely say that this constitutes one of the biggest outrages the sport as a whole has ever seen.
I’ve faced some fast hurlers in my day. Definitely fast enough to hurt me. I even got hit in the arm by one. Was I afraid to step in the box the next time against him? Sure I was. But I did. Cracked a double.
Every little league has one or two players who are far above the rest in terms of ability. There’s the hitter that, no matter what, will get at least 2 extra-base hits against your team every game. And the pitcher who throws so fast you can’t catch up to the ball. They have been blessed with talent and practiced hard to hone their skills. How can you justify banning a player based on his superior ability?
Clearly, some parental complaints must be at work here. Mommy or Daddy doesn’t want little Johnny getting hit with a hard-thrown baseball. Well, then don’t sign the little tyke up for the league. My parents didn’t want me to get hurt playing youth football. Did they sign me up anyway and try to get the hardest hitting linebacker banned? No. They didn’t let me play. Honestly, at that age, I was probably a little undersized for the game anyway.
The bottom line is, let the kid play. If you’re the coach of a team who’s about to face him in a game, that means you better throw your team some extra BP. This is a clear example of encouraging kids to run away from life’s challenges instead of standing up for themselves.
Kid pitches too fast? Choke up on the bat. Speed up your swing.
This, parents, is how you build character.