1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Rick Reilly raises ethical dillema in youth sports

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

  1. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    It's a huge difference in terms of life, yes, but in terms of sports?  I don't think so.  From everything I gathered, the kid was healthy enough to play and he did play regularly.  This wasn't a "we'll put Romney into the final game as a special instance" thing, from what I read, he was a regular part of that team and I think he should have been treated as such.

    I guess we don't have the context of whether that was Romney's only at bat and just how much weaker he might have been than the other kids, but I think every player has his or her own unique struggles.  How about the kid who goes home to the dad that screams at him for hours about the way he played and fears for his life?  What about those other genetic issues?

    Yes, cancer is a deadly disease, obviously one of the worst.  I've had family members who had cancer, and I had a growth on my head when I was 13.  It was painful and it recurred later in life.  I'm thankful every day it wasn't cancer, though they think it might have been a blood blockage.  When it was that bad, I couldn't even get out of bed, let alone play sports.  

    I'm not saying I suffered Romney's pain, not by a long shot. That said, he could play sports and he did play sports regularly.  Every person I know who has suffered and was a survivor didn't want that special treatment, all they wanted was a chance to be an equal with the boys.  Romney got that chance, he struck out.  He dealt with it with class and he'll be better for it than if they chose to deal with him as a victim and placated him.  

    If it was a special case where he was only getting one swing, great, help the kid out.  If it's the end of a championship game and he's in the lineup,  I'd say he's the same as anyone else — healthy or not, good or bad.
  2. Ashy Larry

    Ashy Larry Active Member

    Zeke.....I understand what you're saying......but as an adult, you know a kid has just battled cancer..why intentionally walk the best player to get to him?   He's 10 years old, why put that weight on his shoulders knowing there's a great chance he's going to fail, let his team down and be the last out for losing the Championship?  He's probably been through enough lately......if they didn't IBB to get to him I wouldn't have a problem with it, play the game...but targeting him to me is too much.   He's 10 years old!  

    Now...I'd agree with you if we're talking about 15, or 16 year old kids.  At that age they clearly like baseball and play because its their choice.........at 10 years old, you're interests change like the weather.
  3. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    Agree 100%. And the coach is still a jackass for the IBB.

    As someone mentioned earlier, though, I am a little curious as to how the lineup was constructed and whether or not the kid's coach was trying to pull one over on the other team.
  4. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    BNC --

    You can't have it both ways. Competition means strategy. Period.
    My friends and I used to play sandlot baseball as little kids, younger than this. And while there wouldn't be an intentional walk, because walks were impossible, there would be beanballs and fistfights and accusations of cheating and the like. We played to win.

    And I know every parent on this board will jump down my throat, but 95 percent of parents add nothing positive to their child's experience. And everyone thinks they are part of the five percent.

    And it's fun to swing for the fences when you're 10, and everybody should learn to hit. AND everybody should learn to bunt. You'll have to if you want to keep playing the game.
  5. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    Agree with everything, except competition meaning strategy at that age. If the pitcher, on his own, throws four balls waaaaay out of the strikezone, I think I might be OK with that. You can chalk that up to being afraid of getting beat. But to have the coaches call for an IBB at that age? I'll never be able to agree with that. Regardless of who is on deck.
  6. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    Agreed, though I think I'd agree regardless of why the kid behind the good kid was a weaker hitter.  That said, as much as I boo coaches who intentionally walk anyone at any level,  I accept that it is part of the game.
  7. Ashy Larry

    Ashy Larry Active Member

    Zeke....we can agree on that for sure.  If we were playing strikeouts, there's no way we'd give one of our friends an ounce of leeway, whether he had 1 arm, brain cancer, etc.  

    But this was an adult making this decision that I don't like.........it would be a more satisfying win anyway if his "ace" struck out their slugger..it certainly sounds anti-clamatic the way it unfolded.  
  8. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Larry --

    Here's the interesting thing I've been mulling. Is an intentional walk ever a good strategy in 9-10 baseball?  Given the high propensity toward wild pitches, better players stealing at will, etc, there's an excellent chance that had I been coaching, I'd have pitched to the first kid, if only not to put the winning run on.

    But I still don't think you can fault the original coach. He was trying to help his team win.
  9. Ashy Larry

    Ashy Larry Active Member

    I agree with ya there.....IBB at 10 years old, friggin 90% of bats are basically IBB because no one can hit the plate! So, let your 10 year old ace go at him......good chance he walks him anyway, 70% chance the kid gets an out.....and little Tommy with Cancer can believe that Big Papi blew the game and there was no way he wasn't taking the Ace deep!

  10. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Here's the other "ethical" quandry that Reilly's column raised with me...

    What are the ethics of the big-time SI columnist taking a little league coach to the woodshed for what was a debatable/questionable decision, but wasn't cheating or anything verging on it?
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I'm surprised at how many people think the coaches did the right thing. These are 9 and 10 year old kids. I am about the most competitive person I know, but I think you'd have to be a real asshole to win that way if you are the adult in charge. At that age, it should be all about the lessons learned from winning and losing, not about the actual wins or losses.

    Kids aren't stupid. They know that they won by picking on the weak kid. Championship game or not, that is a crappy lesson to teach your own kids and a shitty thing to do to the weak kid.

    Kids are impressionable and are usually incapable of seeing very fine distinctions. What kind of lesson do you think they REALLY took home from the "it's just strategy" bullshit justification? It'd have been a much more meaningful victory--in every way possible--if they had won (or even lost) by challenging the other team's best player.

    Think about it. Which do YOU find satisfying, challenging a good player and beating him or wiping the floor with someone who sucks?
  12. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    A win is a win is a win is a win...

    You focus on your own performance.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page