Kick Out the Fifth Grader

Connecticut little leaguer Jericho Scott is a hotshot, up-and-coming baseball star. He’s 9 years old, with a 40 mph fastball. Naturally, that got him banned from Little League. From ESPN:

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’s coach and parents say the boy is being unfairly targeted because he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league’s administrators.

Jericho instead joined a team sponsored by Will Power Fitness. The team was 8-0 and on its way to the playoffs when Jericho was banned from pitching.

“I think it’s discouraging when you’re telling a 9-year-old you’re too good at something,” said his mother, Nicole Scott. “The whole objective in life is to find something you’re good at and stick with it. I’d rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner.”

Unfortunately, the other side of the argument is pretty compelling. Though given the opportunity to advance into the defending league champion, Jericho’s parents opted to place him in another team.

Safety concerns also became an issue, whether it really was or not. Jericho hasn’t hurt, anyone, yet, but that’s no guarantee that he never will. Given that other parents raised those safety concerns to begin with, the league had no other options left but to acquiesce to the wishes of a vast majority of parents.

Because it’s apparently the policy of the league to not place Jericho in a more competitive age bracket, officials had no mutually agreeable options left on the table. If only policy conformed to reality, he wouldn’t be in this mess.

Sure, it’s a shame that the league told a fifth-grader that he’s too talented for his age, but it would have been a greater shame to ruin the fun of the game for even one more team — whether because the other coach called a draw, or because he called an ambulance.

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