The Boy Who Was Too Good for Baseball

Patrick CwiklinskiCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2008

Imagine you’re a nine-year-old boy, and you don’t have any bills to pay, no taxes to attend to, no wife at home, and all you want to do is play baseball all day, everyday.

You don’t want to be stuck in a classroom; you want to pitch a ball as fast as you can and make that batter sweat until he starts shaking. It’s the highlight of your day, and you finally arrive at the field after a long, boring day. The sun is shining bright outside and there’s no other place you’d rather be.

You go to your coach to report for practice, and he tells you something that breaks your heart, “You can’t play.” You stare at him for a moment in confusion and then ask, “Why?”

The answer, “You’re too good.”

Now, I’m sure that’s not the exact way that Jericho Scott’s story went down, but I know the reaction would be the same for anyone who was just told that you can’t participate in your favourite sport. We all know how guilty kids feel when they’ve done something wrong, but should you feel that same guilt for being too good?

Scott, a New Haven, CT native, was told that he pitched too fast and could no longer play in the Youth Baseball League of New Haven. His fastball, which reportedly reached speeds of up to 40 mph, supposedly frightened opposing batters. Because of this, and safety concerns, an extremely talented nine-year-old can’t play baseball with his team.

His story made news all over the United States and even made its way up to Canada, as media outlets all over published and televised the controversy. Protests followed and e-mails poured in, but Jericho Scott still wasn’t allowed to come back.

In the end, Scott’s parents were asked to move Jericho to the more advanced league that he also played fourth-string for, but the league denied a permanent move. So now, caught in a baseball purgatory, what’s next?

Instead of promoting a young talent like this, you throw him in this kind of situation, with media and lawyers sure to follow, and all the while all he wants is to play baseball. Should the league have the right to tell someone that they’re too good? I mean, you wouldn’t tell Tiger Woods to stop winning PGA Tours or Wayne Gretzky to stop scoring goals, would you?

I’m fully aware of the age of these children, but look at what’s now happened, fourth string? Fourth string for a kid who should be playing with kids his own age but is just too much for the league to handle, so he’s punished unreasonably because he can go where the others can’t. So he has to sit home and feel bad that he throws too hard? Something is wrong with this picture.

I thought that we lived in a society where you should be rewarded for your strengths, not benched for them. But it all comes back to the parents of the other kids. "My son doesn’t want your son to play because he throws too fast." "My son is scared of your son."

There are kids who are playing strictly for fun, and that’s absolutely okay as well, but I don’t hear about Jericho hitting anybody with a ball or being cocky that he's so good, so what’s the problem? Until he does something wrong, let him play.

If you want to punish someone, punish the rash decision-making of the league for not letting Scott play. He’s basically guilty until proven innocent, and at that age, he’s far too young to be exposed to these kind of real, politically-correct issue that normal people face daily.

By not letting Jericho throw a baseball, you’re slowly stripping away his childhood, a childhood that every single human being on this planet deserves to have, especially if they’ve done nothing wrong.