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Rick Reilly raises ethical dillema in youth sports

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by suburbia, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    I don't think it's about protecting the kid. I think it's about asshole coaches who seem to think that winning a 9-and-10-year-old league championship is some kind of life-altering event. I'm guessing half the team would rather go to Dairy Queen afterward than win the game.

    It's not about the kid with cancer. It's about busting out strategy in a kiddie game. A fucking kiddie game. They're 9- and 10-years-old.

    Let the pitchers pitch. Let the hitters hit. Let the fielders throw the ball six rows up. That's what 9- and 10-year-olds do. At that age, they should be allowed to play the game with a minimum of adult interference. My God, stay the fuck out of the way. Please.

    Wait until they're a little older to start busting out your IBBs, double-switches and LOOGYs.
  2. D-Backs Hack

    D-Backs Hack Guest


    Of course, it wouldn't be a controversy if some McCain-esque attention-whore state politician didn't involve himself.

    This is, center stage, a ample display of what is wrong with youth sports. And it's got nothing to do with the coach.
  3. prhack

    prhack Member

    You may be right, but if it wasn't for the kid's health problems, I doubt very seriously we would be waxing eloquent about the evils of intentional walks in little league baseball.
  4. doubledown68

    doubledown68 Active Member

    It's one of those situations that's unbelievably juicy, with valid points on both sides and really no wrong answer.

    Some interesting points raised by Olbermann today on Patrick's radio show:
    1. If it's a non-competitive league (4 runs per inning, etc.) then why is there a championship game?
    2. If it's a terrible hitter coming up who is your average, healthy 9-year-old, then is this really a story? (Hell, no.)

    At what point does the urge to win supercede the goal of simply having fun?

    I hate these leagues that don't keep score, everybody wins, yada yada. What a crock. My little league team sucked. It was legendary. I made a friend at a summer job one year when I was in college. He was a year or two younger. We started talking about little league baseball, and I told him what team I played for. His immediate response: "Jesus, you guys sucked!" And we did. Hopefully a life's lesson was learned.

    It's pretty fucking gutless to use intentional walks in a 9-10 year old suburban city championship game. That's probably the same guy that restarts the PlayStation when something doesn't go his way.

    But then again, if the goal is to not show special favor to the cancer survivor, then it was accomplished.

    But mostly, it's pretty pathetic to act like Tony LaRussa in a crappy championship game. Perhaps the good hitter was stealing signs.

    Fuck. I don't know.
  5. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    I'm calling bullshit on both coaches.

    First of all, it's a championship game. You don't put a sick kid in a championship game. You make him manager or ball boy or give him the game ball.

    Second, the Yankees coach is a dickweed. You don't teach stragety when there is a nine-year-old cancer surviror on deck. Grow a sack and pitch to the best hitter.
  6. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    Whoa, there.

    1. You let the sick kid play and make his outs.
    2. You don't try to be Joe Torre with 9- and 10-year-olds.

    Anyone making this about the sick kid is missing the point, IMO.
  7. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    No way. This would be completely different if there was healthy crappy player on deck. You just don't fuck with sick kids.
  8. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Sad. Dopey.

    At the 9-year-old level, practically every at-bat is an intentional walk. The pitchers are just as likely to hit a car behind 3rd base as they are to get it over the plate. Any coach who would intentionally walk a 9 year old--regardless of whether the next kid has cancer or no legs or whatever--is just an egomaniacal moron.

    That said....no kid wants to be the last out. Even the best player would have cried if the game ended on his K. This boy could have been the last out anyway....that's baseball. Surely his parents didn't sign him up expecting him to get special treatment.

    No doubt this tough little cancer survivor knows the truth: life isn't always fair. No doubt he could teach the coaches a few things about winning--and losing--with class.
  9. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    Maybe this makes me an asshole, but I do exactly what those coaches did.  Walking a batter intentionally is part of the game, and it happens at any age.  I'd guess those kids have seen it on TV, I bet parents were screaming for it, and I bet ol' Romney's coaches might have done it some time in the course of a season too.

    Kids who are nine and 10 know about winning and losing, don't get me wrong.  Otherwise, if it wasn't such a shame to lose, why would old Romney be crying all night? Both teams wanted to win that game and I think if Romney wasn't strong enough to be batting behind the "big hitter" the coaches probably shouldn't have had him there.

    Lets also put it this way, suppose Romney got a hit.  Reilly would probably be writing the teary-eyed story about how the cancer victim came through in the clutch.  If the kid's well enough to get the headlines, he's well enough to lose them and certainly, his own parents should be teaching him the life lesson that the game is  over win or lose.

    I just hate this entitlement and coddling society that we have today.  I was the fat kid who got cut and sat on the bench in some sports, but I realized that was part of the game and I didn't wish for charitable pitches or people to let me score.  I just wanted an equal chance to play to the best of my abilities - and I think that's been given here.

    Kids should be taught that putting in a fair effort and doing their best is what you get out of sports.  Instead, in my area we have teams now who don't show up for playoff games if they're going to lose, and we have coaches who stress letting lesser athletes have a break.  Teach them the life lessons that come with the game - fairness, sportsmanship, and effort.

    I remember when I was first coaching football, we had a scrawny little kid - younger than most, who we kept trying to get a touchdown in our final game - to the point where we put our best linemen back into the game in front of him and everything.  I thought to myself, why?  He'll know he can't do it on his own and what gain is either team getting from this?

    Luckily, our kid got the touchdown and he wasn't like little Romney.  That said, I really don't think he learned anything from it and I think we made a mockery of ourselves and the other team by trying to force the issue.   On that note, anyone see that episode of King of the Hill where Bill's record was broken illegally?  Same principle.
  10. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    Um, fat is different from cancer.
  11. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I hope you're coaching my kids someday. That's the perfect attitude as far as I'm concerned.

    That the kids has cancer is tragic, but that coach would be an asshole no matter how you slice it for issuing an IBB. My son played 9- and 10-year-old Pony League (Mustang, in the Pony parlance), and believe me, there were some true assholes coaching in that league, including one assistant on my son's team who got booted off an F-bomb Hiroshima aimed at players and coaches one game. (Fortunately, so to speak, my son had slammed a car door onto his throwing hand and had to miss that game.) But I NEVER saw a coach issue an IBB.

    Of course, these guys were all about manning up. If a big hitter came up in a big situation, they would position players, yell out instructions, talk to the pitcher, do anything but order an intentional pass. The other coaches would think you were the world's biggest pussy.

    Anyway, to answer Olbermann's points:

    1. It's not a noncompetitive league. There are limits to make sure games don't get out of hand. (In my son's league, there wasn't a run limit, but the half-inning was over if everybody on the team had batted once.) This isn't necessarily to protect the kids' egos. It's to make sure the game don't last for five hours. Believe me, a cool early May Oak Lawn, Ill., day feels like the North Pole when one of those innings comes up.

    2. No, it's not a story if the kid is a terrible hitter. Instead, the people who saw and the other coaches would talk about what a pussy this coach was. Although to the cancer point -- you can't tell me the coaches didn't know about this kid. Word spreads fast about just about every kid in the league, even in big leagues. Had it been the kid's turn at bat, and he struck out, that isn't being cruel. Walking a guy to get to him is.

    Oh, and about no-score leagues:

    Yeah, people hate them because they don't teach you kids about how had life is blah blah blah. The reason for the no-score league isn't the kids. It's the parents and coaches like this asswipe who issued the IBB. I coached a no-score league once in 6- and 7-year-old basketball. When a kid would ask me the score, I wouldn't know (I was too busy keeping track of playing time and talking to kids about their game and whatnot), but all the other kids on the bench did. Particularly my son.

    If you've ever seen two toddlers fight to the death over toys, then you know you don't have to teach kids how to be competitive. (In fact, the best thing about baseball in particular for my oldest son is that it's helped teach him how to deal with failure and focus his competitiveness in ways other than chucking the bat at the backstop.) It's just that in a no-score league, the parents and coaches stop worrying about who wins, which means the coaches actually worry about teaching and player development. Which is supposed to be the point in kids this young, right?
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Nothing wrong with calling for IBB in a 10-year-old game.
    The kid who is a poor hitter is there to play just like the kid who is the best hitter.
    The situation was it was. The best hitter did not get a chance. The worst hitter did.
    That's the game.
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