‘Too Good’ to Play Baseball? Game Over

[deleted account] ( 5 moms have responded )

A recent newspaper headline sounded more like a lesson in parenting: Why punish a kid for the crime of being too good?

The kid, in this case, was 9-year-old Jericho Scott, who played summer baseball on a youth team in New Haven, Connecticut.

Jericho’s “crime” is his talent. He’s a pitching sensation who throws an awesome 40 mile-an-hour fastball that’s never hit a batter and rarely misses the plate. But the prodigy pitcher himself was struck out—by adults.

Parents of opposing team members first objected that their kids were unable to hit any of Jericho’s pitches. Strike one.

Then youth league officials wanted to move Jericho up to an older team, but his parents refused. Strike two.

League officials asked Jericho to play any position other than pitcher, but his parents said no again. Strike three.

Game over.

The league disbanded Jericho’s entire undefeated team, and the second place team was declared the season’s winner.

But the post-game show of who’s responsible for the collective benching of so many kids continues to play out across the country, with headlines that sound like…well…more lessons in parenting, like this one from Jericho’s hometown newspaper: Sometimes parent involvement can be way off-base, experts say.

Other adults were criticized, too. “The league obviously felt batters would suffer irreversible shame and humiliation if they had to face Jericho again,” wrote an Ohio sports reporter. “Tell me, how does that prepare kids for the real world? Haven’t we all encountered someone more skilled in our field, and haven’t we all survived?”

Ironically, the only person who stepped up to the plate to accept responsibility was perhaps the least culpable of all: Jericho, now 10 years old. “I feel sad,” he said. “I feel like it’s all my fault that nobody could play.”

Tell us what you think: Can a child be “too good” to play a game, and if so, does he or she have the responsibility to step aside? In the case of Jericho Scott, who’s more responsible for baseball’s abrupt ending—parents…league officials…Jericho?


For information about creating positive sports experiences for kids, log on to ResponsibleSports.com. Sponsored by Liberty Mutual, the site offers parents and coaches tips, tools, and advice designed to help maximize their kids’ youth sports experience. Parents can also take part in online discussions, asking questions and sharing experiences about how best to help kids apply the life lessons of sports—on and off the field. Because, as The Home Run reminds us, there’s more to the game than whining.

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5 Comments

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Amy - posted on 03/13/2010

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If anyone who is talented at something stepped aside, we sure wouldn't have olympics! If a kid is good, he is. Granted i think he should practice all positions - we all had to - but if his talent lies in pitching, it is silly to put him somewhere else. If a football player is good at his game, you play him, not bench him. I think, again, people have nothing to whine about, so they pick something. If a child excelled at Math, you don't omit it from his schooling. Just seems messed up to me.

Kate CP - posted on 03/13/2010

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I think every one here was a schmuck. His parents could have let him play any other position or play with the bigger kids (how cool is that?!) and they said no! I mean, come on! And the league was just being a bunch of big ol' whiny babies. Do you think major leaguers cry and whine when a pitcher who's better than them is on the mound? No! They just play! That's what this league should be doing: just let the kids play.

April - posted on 03/13/2010

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every kid deserves a chance to play no matter what their skills are. what about giving others the opportunity to try and hit off of him...what if they could do it? what about challenging our children to reach their potential?

[deleted account]

Hey Meghan,

Great story, sounds like Jericho has talent, I feel that the league is wrong, what is this teaching his teamates, and the other loosing teams. Children are aloud to loose when it comes to sports, especially at 9 years of age, it is part of the game and a part of life.
There are several options for Jericho and his parents. He can play on an private league, or play travel ball where you have to tryout to be on a team. With LL every child gets to play, and believe me there are 9 year olds that can hit his 40 mile an hour ball, like mine, LOL...

[deleted account]

I'm generally not in favour of too much competition in kids' sports, but having said that, we have to face reality - there are always going to be kids who are better (in this case, far better!) than others. A large part of kids' sport should be about sportsmanship - accepting that some kids are better than others.



Why should young Jericho be discriminated against because he is very talented in his chosen sport? By the same token, we'd be jumping up and down if young Billy, a plodder, was being discriminated against!



KIds' sport is supposed to be a learning experience not only for sports skills, but social interaction, sportsmanship, getting on with a wide variety of people, as well as just having fun. Sometimes I think it's a pity adults aren't barred from kids' sports!

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