Excess excellence

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out,” reports the AP.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Jericho has never hit a batter. Apparently, he has excellent control too. But rival players can’t get a hit when he’s pitching.

Via Outside the Beltway.

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Comments

  1. More to the story?

    “…he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league’s administrators.”

  2. Nels Nelson says:

    Age is a rough measurement of ability, a proxy, to avoid having to evaluate every player, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to sometimes do an individual evaluation. Surely there’s another league in New Haven that would be better suited to this kid. As a pitcher, he’s effectively ruining half the game, both for the opposing team and his teammates in the field.

  3. “The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.” People need to read Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.”

  4. Mark Roulo says:

    ‘The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.’ People need to read Vonnegut’s ‘Harrison Bergeron.’

    This could also be the equivalent of a varsity level player competing on an intramural team.

    A 9-year old with an *accurate* 40 MPH fastball suggests that he’s played before. Probably for several years. If the youth baseball league is for beginners (which it sounds like it is … my son plays little league and could hit a 40 MPH fastball at the local batting cage when he was 7. He isn’t exceptionally great, either, so if *none* of the 9 year olds can hit this kids fastball, then this really does look like a non-serious, beginner, rookie league), he’s in the wrong league. A fall Little League would have no problem with a 9 year old that can throw 40 MPH.

    Of course it also looks like there may be some internal politics going on …

    -Mark Roulo

  5. Holly, said, “The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.” People need to read Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.

    Thanks, Holly. The fathers of the other players should tell their sons to tough it out because life ain’t fair. Of course, it’s hard to tell the boys to grow up when they have such poor role models in their parents and the other adults who exhibit such childish (Wah! It isn’t fair! My son can’t hit the ball! He throws too hard! Make him stop! I’m going home!) behavior. And we wonder why our culture is so feminized and the males are such wimps?!

    Someday, our country will turn to males because it will need to be defended. But, the country will find that there aren’t enough males who are men. Only then will we lament that so many males were feminized by the culture that they don’t know the proper way for men to behave when their country needs them.

  6. Rock on, holly and anon.

  7. Devilbunny says:

    Weird responses. It’s a recreational league, by all appearances. The following is skipping the backstory – which might alter those appearances significantly – but goes to the focus most people have.

    I played Ultimate Frisbee in college for a year or two with a group of friends, as an intramural sport. Late in my sophomore year, it became a club sport, they started having serious practices, and they played teams of people both locally and from nearby universities who actually had played it for up to a decade. I quit: not because I’m a wimp, but because I didn’t want to put in the kind of effort needed to become good at Ultimate, a skill I would have precious little chance to use. Unfortunately, I no longer had anywhere to play, because the team used up the intramural fields my friends and I had played on, at the time we wanted to use them.

    Yes, it’s important for those who can excel to be allowed to do so, but sometimes we set things up just to have fun, and kids are no different. Let those who can’t hang at the higher level have fun; it’s not as though the kids don’t know who the better athletes are, and there’s no compelling reason to tell them that if they can’t compete at a professional level, they have no place playing at all.

  8. Mark Roulo says:

    Good news is that there *is* fall Little League scheduled about 5-10 miles north of New Haven, so the kid *can* pitch starting in about 3 weeks.

    http://www.millonline.org/

    I do wonder why the league he is in waited until 8 games in to decide that he couldn’t pitch, though. Eight games into a schedule with only eight teams total means that his team probably faced most of the other teams … some of them more than once.

    -Mark Roulo

  9. Mark said, “I do wonder why the league he is in waited until 8 games in to decide that he couldn’t pitch, though. Eight games into a schedule with only eight teams total means that his team probably faced most of the other teams … some of them more than once.”

    It seems obvious why they waited. The other teams may have found that they could hit the pitcher and beat his team. Once they found out that they could not, the crying from the feminized males began. The lessons that these adult males who have chosen not to become men will reverberate in the lives of their sons. Over time, all of their sons will surely be male but too many will not become men.

  10. Mark Roulo says:

    It seems obvious why they waited. The other teams may have found that they could hit the pitcher and beat his team.

    I think this would have been obvious sooner than eight games. Maybe playoff time is approaching?

    -Mark Roulo

  11. “The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.” People need to read Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.”

    I don’t see why. Lots of people regard sports matches as more interesting when there’s plausible doubt over the outcome of the game. Some adult sports have formal systems to encourage close matches, eg handicaps in golf, the ranking system in squash, and there are many informal systems, eg spotting a rook in a chess match.

    If the good players were never permitted to excel that would be “Harrison Bergeron”. But to have an explicit system to allow close matches strikes me as a very different case.

    In this particular case, reading the story, I get the sense that there’s a lot more going on here than the reporter has mentioned. All this is in response to the general point about Harrison Bergeron.

  12. I wish someone would tell me I was too good and make me stay home.

  13. superdestroyer says:

    I wonder how many people realize that the league the kids is in is a developmental league and is co-ed. How many of the PC polics will change their minds when they learn many of those who cannot hit are girls.

    The politics of the situation is fighting over a wringer who is throwing complete games which I understand is also against the rules. There is probably much more to the story and can be learned in one short news article that took a side on the issue.

  14. superdestroyer says:

    From today’s New Haven Register,
    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20092648&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=635049&rfi=6

    Jericho plays on the more advanced Dom Aitro Pony League all-star team as well, and when playing at that higher level is only an average or slightly above average pitcher for his age, said Steve Fertig, a coach in that league. But in the developmental league, Jericho is a star, he said.

  15. Constantine says:

    When I played in the Minors for Little League (for 9-12 year olds, but almost 11 and 12 yo’s and most 10 yo’s were in the Majors), there were a couple of 12-year-old kids who decided they still wanted to play in the Minors, where they could be stars, rather than in the Majors, where they might only be average. We always thought those kids were losers, because a good athlete (particularly at an age where you’re supposed to be developing) always wants to play the best competition. If the kids already plays a a higher level (Pony League is a significant step up from rec-league), why is he playing in the rec league?

    Instead, we get prattle about “PC! PC! Harrison Bergeron iz heres!” from the usual suspects, who haven’t bothered to learn the whole story.

  16. “Someday, our country will turn to males because it will need to be defended. But, the country will find that there aren’t enough males who are men. Only then will we lament that so many males were feminized by the culture that they don’t know the proper way for men to behave when their country needs them.”

    Wow. What a pathetic response.

  17. superdestroyer says:

    Constantine,

    You have to wonder about the life experiences of people who identify with the ringer anytime a “ringer” type sports story comes up. Have these people ever played pick up ball where a group of friend always tries to stack a team or have they never been soccer moms and seen a team stacked by parents/organizers.

  18. You know, while I’m as tempted as anyone to call out cases where genuinely talented people are hampered by political correctness, I just don’t see that here.

    What I see is a kid playing in a league he’s too advanced for at the same time he’s playing in a league he’s competitive in. Knowing the situation, I’d use the opportunity to get him other places on the diamond besides the mound. It’s a great opportunity for him to learn the other positions, especially the other infield positions, something that’ll help him out on the mound.

    But that’s just one baseball nut’s take on it.

  19. Constantine says:

    Also, the coach of the team or the kid’s parents sound like they’re willing to ruin the kid’s arm to prove a point. The article says he pitched three consecutive games in a five-day span (Aug. 9-13), including two near complete games (I assume these kids are playing 5-6 inning games). Note that Little League rules force kids to take one game off after pitching one game like that, let alone three, alongside several days rest.

    If the kid is pitching this much, and is being told to pitch as hard as he can, while also playing for another league, his parents and his coach aren’t doing him any favors. The kid may be ruining his arm to prove the parents’/coach’s point.

  20. Constantine –

    Good catch. I must not have seen his workload in the article. Someone needs to talk to his coaches…

  21. Me said, “Wow. What a pathetic response.”

    Come on, Me. You can do better than an ad hominem attack. Deal with the point that was made about how the culture has done its best to feminize males for many years now and that this situation is another example of such feminizing.

  22. Actually way too much is being made of this – they should just move the kid up a division. If there is a danger of him throwing too hard at kids then there is a legitimate concern both for the other kids safety and for competitive reasons.

  23. Bandit said, “Actually way too much is being made of this – they should just move the kid up a division. If there is a danger of him throwing too hard at kids then there is a legitimate concern both for the other kids safety and for competitive reasons.”

    Actually, too little is being made of this situation. The adults are handling it exactly the wrong way for the boys involved. In the long ago past (the 1950s and 1960s), boys were expected to deal with tough situations. I played baseball and other sports for 10 years until graduating from high school. When I was 9 years old, we faced a pitcher who was 5’10” and had amazing control only 45 feet away from the batter. He threw hard and he looked huge. Our coaches told us to quit complaining about his size, how it wasn’t fair, and go up and swing the bat. We did in large part because the coaches would not tolerate any whining or complaining. Over the years, we had to face him at least twice each year. He never no-hit us and we even beat him a couple of times. Imagine how good a little 4’8″ boy feels when he gets a hit (or even a foul tip) off of someone like that. It made us better players and it was one small part of growing up to become a man. (That pitcher became my teammate in high school (a good thing!) and went on to sign with the Pirates.) My son was an ice hockey player and faced the same situation in more games than you can imagine. Think about the boys who may be 12 years old but haven’t yet hit puberty playing a rough sport like ice hockey against other 12-13 year olds who have some facial “hair” and hit anything on the ice that moves. No one cried and asked the association to make those kids play in another league or not allow them to play. Instead, the kids went out on the ice and did what they were supposed to do–play the game, shake their opponents’ hands afterward, and tell them “good game” win or lose. That’s the way it’s done. That’s one way that males become men. Our culture seems to have forgotten that.