Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nine year old pitcher told he's too good to play

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player - too good, it turns out.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 miles per hour.

He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch anymore.

When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear, and left, his coach said.

Officials for the 3-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho's team, redistributing its players among other squads, and have offered to refund $50 sign-up fees on request. They said Jericho's coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.

But Vidro says he did not quit and the team is refusing to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league's field Saturday, urging the league to let Jericho pitch.


When someone becomes too good for the comfort of the sheep around him, and is obviously a much better talent than most in the crowd can handle, the crowd attempts to shuffle that talent away instead of allowing it to develop. The modern logic is this: "He'll strike everyone out and hurt my kid's precious ego. He'll be the biggest and brightest star in the league, and there will be no room for anyone else to be king for a day while they're in this league. I can't have that, even if it's an important lesson for my kid - I'd rather he face similar talent and never know that there are better players out there, so he has hope until he's about 18 and realizes he's not all that special after all."

Maybe that's not what these mothers and fathers tell themselves before going to sleep each night, but if they looked into their subconscious, this is exactly the type of bitter jealousy they would find, buried deep down.

This isn't about one kid who's better than the rest, and it's not as if he can skip a grade like a superior intellectual talent in public school. You can't just take this kid and promote him to a better league - there is no better league until he grows big and tall enough to play against a different age group. This is it, his only chance to shine right now, and he's being told that it's better he handicaps himself at second base and not do what he does best, for the benefit of the morons around him who aren't as good. The lesson he's learning right now is that it's better to hide your talent away until you can get paid millions of dollars to show it off. Otherwise, it's shameful to strut yourself out on that mound and strike everyone out.

What happens if another kid comes along next year with a 40-mph fastball? Do the parents forfeit those games, too? What if there are two or three within a few years, and the talent level is obviously increasing among some kids in a certain age group, but not others? Does the entire league disband?

This is a great mirror for modern logic as it pertains to evolution. We don't want to admit, for example, that certain recessive traits are desirable, so we shuffle away anyone who tries to show us why they're desirable, and change the rules accordingly so that people can continue believing that we're enlightened and fully evolved, even though nothing could be further from the truth. This type of passive-aggressive behavior, forfeiting games and playing the victim just because your team isn't talented enough to hit a ball (hint: coach them to hit a faster ball instead of keeping a kid down because he's really good!), is typical of society's attitude: Me first, and if anyone shows they are better than me, I'm going to take them down, because the word humility isn't in my vocabulary.

In trying to make everyone equal and yet a unique little snowflake simultaneously, we deny reality, and in this case, the victim is Jericho Scott: a rising young talent who will always remember this experience, and as such, make millions while laughing at the crowd he's paid to entertain. One wonders how many professional athletes are jerks because they were always told they were hot shit, and how many had experiences like this and end up jerks because of the people around them when they were just trying to get ahead.

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