August 26, 2008
Too Good to Pitch? 9-Year-Old Is Barred
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW HAVEN (AP) — Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out.
The right-handed Scott has a fastball that travels about 40 miles an hour. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that Scott could no longer pitch in the league. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, Scott’s coach, Wilfred Vidro said.
Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they would disband Jericho’s team, redistributing its players among other teams, and offered to refund the $50 sign-up fees. Officials also said that Vidro had resigned.
But Vidro said he did not quit and the team refused to disband. Players and parents protested at the league’s field Saturday, urging the league to let Jericho pitch.
“He’s never hurt any one,” Vidro said. “He’s on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?”
The controversy bothers Jericho, who said he missed pitching.
“I feel sad,” he said. “I feel like it’s all my fault nobody could play.”
Vidro and Jericho’s parents said he was 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.
He instead joined a team that was 8-0 and on its way to the playoffs when he was barred from pitching.
“I think it’s discouraging when you’re telling a 9-year-old you’re too good at something,” his mother, Nicole Scott, said. “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.”
Peter Noble, a lawyer for the league, said the only factor in banning Jericho from pitching was that his pitches were too fast.
“He is a very skilled player, a very hard thrower,” Noble said. “There are a lot of beginners. This is not a high-powered league. This is a developmental league whose main purpose is to promote the sport.”
Noble acknowledged that Jericho had not hit any batters in the coed league of 8- to 10-year-olds, but he said that parents expressed safety concerns.
“Facing that kind of speed” is frightening for beginning players, Noble said.
League officials said they first told Vidro that Jericho could not pitch after a game Aug. 13. He played second base in the next game, Aug. 16. But when he took the mound Wednesday, the other team walked off and a forfeit was called.
League officials suggested that Jericho play other positions, or pitch against older players or in a different league.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Are You Too Good Too?
August 26, 2008