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View Full Version : OT: What do you do in this situation?



Dunner44
08-10-2006, 12:10 AM
Life of Riley Story (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/rick_reilly/08/07/reilly0814/index.html)

So the long and short is the manager in a little league team (9 and 10 year olds), up by 1 with the opposing team owning a runner at 3rd, 2 outs and the best slugger up, decides to walk said slugger to get to a little boy who is on chemo and has a shunt in his head. Is that ethical? Would you do it?

As for me, heck no. The game isn't worth it, especially at that level. I couldn't live with myself making that kid's state of mind any worse than it already is. You know a kid that has to play center field with a batting helmet gets teased....

Razor Shines
08-10-2006, 12:16 AM
I don't know, if you don't treat him like everyone else then that probably won't make him feel very good either. Even at that age if he's hitting right behind the team's best hitter then he's probably not too bad, if the coach can say that he would have done it no matter what hitter was next then he can sleep easy.

REDREAD
08-10-2006, 12:24 AM
Well, it's tough for any kid to be the goat when the team loses. I was plenty of times when I was growing up.

I agree with Razor. It's sad that the kid had cancer, but if he wants to play, he should be treated like everyone else. Part of sports is learning that you don't always win.

I think it's sad that the sister of the kid yelled "You're picking on Roomey" when the star player was walked. I bet that made the kid feel real good, to be humilated in public. That's worse that the IBB to the star player, IMO.

Another thing, if the kid with cancer had gotten a hit, it would've been a national story, like when that autistic basketball kid hit all those 3 pointers in a couple minutes. So, the kid got the opportunity to bat in the championship game when it mattered. That's a pretty good deal.

Blame the coach for his poor lineup construction, that kid Jordan should've had better protection :)

StillFunkyB
08-10-2006, 07:57 AM
Another thing, if the kid with cancer had gotten a hit, it would've been a national story, like when that autistic basketball kid hit all those 3 pointers in a couple minutes.

That was unreal. I remember watching that on SC. What a great story, and the fans were going absolutely nuts.

Yeah, the sister shouldn't have yelled that. I agree, that was probably worse.

I probably would have done the same thing in this situation. Maybe the kids manager put him behind the slugger for a reason. Maybe the kids manager thought that if it came down to something like this that the other team would pitch to the slugger because they would feel bad sticking it to a kid with cancer?

dabvu2498
08-10-2006, 07:59 AM
An intentional walk in 9-10 year old baseball??? NO WAY! I don't care if Mother Teresa was hitting behind him.

RedFanAlways1966
08-10-2006, 08:10 AM
I agree with Razor & REDREAD. I do not like youth coaches who "teach" their kids that winning is everything. However, I do not have a problem with the coach making moves during the game to put his team in the best position to win the game.

StillFunkyB
08-10-2006, 08:13 AM
An intentional walk in 9-10 year old baseball??? NO WAY! I don't care if Mother Teresa was hitting behind him.

I coached 13-14 year olds one year, and there was a kid on another team who was 14, and played on the frosh team in high school. He was FAR more advanced in his skills than any other kid in the entire league. Had an 85 mph fastball as well.

He got walked every single time he came to the plate when he played our team. The funny thing is, I wasn't going to do this but the kids on the team said "Were not pitching to this guy". So we didn't.

pahster
08-10-2006, 10:33 AM
I thought they didn't keep score with 9-10 year old leagues. The one I umpired for a few years ago didn't.

dabvu2498
08-10-2006, 10:51 AM
I thought they didn't keep score with 9-10 year old leagues. The one I umpired for a few years ago didn't.
They shouldn't.

KalDanielsfan
08-10-2006, 10:54 AM
intentional walks at 9-10??? wow. thts pretty ridiculous.

the coach is a jerk.

EddieMilner
08-10-2006, 11:35 AM
I think the blame truly lies on the manager of the team with the little boy with chemo. Why the heck didn't he protect his best batter better than that. If we had Royce Clayton up after Adam Dunn, he would never see a pitch to hit.:rolleyes:

At first I thought this was ridiculous, but then I thought back to when I was 9-10 and playing travel hockey. Coaches would call me any four letter name they could think. They would tell players from the other team to purposely take cheap shots at me. Then I thought it was normal, just shows how messed up my childhood really was.

Roy Tucker
08-10-2006, 11:42 AM
I could understand the move if was a competive travel team league (Knothole, AABC, etc.). Those leagues are fairly ruthless win-at-all-costs types, but at least you know what you're getting into and what is expected.

But this was a rec league game (albeit the championship game) where the object is to have fun and learn how to play the game.

I thought it was poor sportsmanship and poor judgement.

11larkin11
08-10-2006, 11:57 AM
Not keep score? From where I'm from we keep score in all leagues, from Tee-Ball at Age 4 or 5 on up. You have to teach competitiveness. Sure, we lost sometimes, but you are playing against your friends, so its not like it matters.

I would NOT walk the kid, though. You play the game, I have never agreed with IBB, until the HS level. Especially if one of the kids on my team is IBB'ed in that situation, because then he gets a big head and thinks he is the king of the team.

11larkin11
08-10-2006, 11:58 AM
But, hey if you DO walk the kid, walk the cancer boy too, since it would only load the bases and put a double play anywhere in order.

captainmorgan07
08-10-2006, 12:04 PM
u pitch to the slugger u dont' walk a 9 year old and if the slugger draws a walk there's notting u can do but give the kid with cancer a break don't beat him down anymore than he already has been in his life have some dignity

smith288
08-10-2006, 12:07 PM
I thought they didn't keep score with 9-10 year old leagues. The one I umpired for a few years ago didn't.
Good Lord... what league was that? Was it ran by a bunch of phychiatrists with too much time on their hands??

RedsManRick
08-10-2006, 12:13 PM
If the kid is playing, you can't expect everybody else to change the way they approach the game because of it. Either he's capable of playing and should be treated as such or he shouldn't be playing. It's not fair to the other 20 kids involved if the "rules" are changed for 1 kid. You should make the same decision you would have made if a perfectly healthy, but similarly poor performing kid was up next. The reason the kid is an (implied) automatic out is irrelevant once the game begins.

I have a little brother who is special needs and plays in the special olympics. I've coached their softball teams. The one thing you learn is that you can't change the rules for every special case. There is a baseline understanding of the conditions of the game going in. If exceptions are to be made for certain players, they are laid out in advance. Once the game begins, you play within those understood conditions.

The timing of this situation was unfortunate. Personally, I wouldn't condone an intentional walk in a little league game such as that regardless of the specific situation. However, if you do condone the IBB, you don't make an exception simply because of the plight of the kid on deck.

Razor Shines
08-10-2006, 12:22 PM
Not keep score? From where I'm from we keep score in all leagues, from Tee-Ball at Age 4 or 5 on up. You have to teach competitiveness. Sure, we lost sometimes, but you are playing against your friends, so its not like it matters.

I would NOT walk the kid, though. You play the game, I have never agreed with IBB, until the HS level. Especially if one of the kids on my team is IBB'ed in that situation, because then he gets a big head and thinks he is the king of the team.
So you agree with teaching the kids about competition but you don't agree with teaching that kid the right way to deal with success? The kid that's getting IBB'ed at that level is probably going to have a lot of success in his life and if he's not taught how to deal with it when he's young then you're running the risk of him turning into a Maurice Clarett.

pahster
08-10-2006, 12:33 PM
Good Lord... what league was that? Was it ran by a bunch of phychiatrists with too much time on their hands??

The kids in the league that didn't keep score appeared to have a lot more fun than did the ones in the few games I umped in a more competative league for the same age group.

danwl
08-11-2006, 12:51 AM
Easy call; with the other team's best hitter up and a man in scoring position, you walk him. Doesn't matter who's up after him. Same thing happened to my son's team this year (9-10 league). Man on second, we're up by two runs, top of 6, two outs, our best hitter is up. They walk him. Now the kid after him is still a pretty good hitter with no shunt in his head, but nobody thought, hey, that's not fair. At the time, I myself (helping coach my kid's team) said to myself, "good move." Our guy was gonna put at least 1 more run on the board, and probably leave himself in scoring position for the next hitter. They walk the kid, next batter hits a (hard) ground ball to their shortstop, who throws to first for the out. Good baseball.

Who is really worried about winning here? Is it the manager who made the good baseball decision (nobody disputes this, right), or is it the parents, fans, opposing coach, who got all bent out of shape because one of their kids struck out and they lost the game? It is still competition, right? Strikes me that the folks clamoring for the other side to throw the game is the side who is more concerned with winning here.

Really, this guy owes it to his kids to do his job as best he can. What is he supposed to do, have a psyche profile on each batter? Yeah, this kid was upset, but so were his teammates. And the players on the other team would've been upset if they lost, too. It is wholly inconsistent for Reilly to make a big deal about how the kids wouldn't remember for two weeks who won or lost, when the entire premise of the article is what a tragedy it is that the kid with the shunt in his head (who seems like a solid kid, head on straight, bully to his parents for having him mix it up with the big boys) LOST the game. Well, which is it? Does it matter or not?

I also think it is significant that this was in a tournament championship game. Even at that level, there are some pretty good, mature ballplayers who deserve a chance for real competition. Even the serious teams in our extremely competitive league generally chill out and tone it down during the regular season. Regular season, sure, pitch to their best guy. As a coach, that is the message I want to send to my kid during the regular season anyway - I don't care who they are, you can take 'em. But the tournament, I think different rules apply. You try to win. The game is about trying to win; not winning at all costs, but trying to win is an element of the game. Not trying to win beytrays everything you taught these kids all year, and disrespects the effort your own kids gave you during the year.

My last point, and one which I think is really the crux of the matter, has to do with Reilly's last paragraph - his classic "hook" that he could not resist in this case. The kid, after crying himself to sleep that night, wakes up in the morning and says to his dad, "I'm gonna work really hard, and next year, I'll be the kid they walk." Well, golly, isn't that just about the outcome we all hope for from youth sports?

Sure, only one team every year doesn't lose their last game, but the kids learned enough love and respect for the game that they want to do even better next time and do it with hard work. If you disagree with this coach's decision, let me ask you, which outcome is better for this kid: They pitch to the slugger, who hits a triple off the wall, tying the game. The kid strikes out to end the inning anyway, then they win or lose the next inning; or, this scenario, where the kid wakes up with the desire to work hard to improve. Frankly, hard for me to say that he's not better off in the real scenario; my opinion is that those with their panties in a bunch about this (including Reilly) are the ones who are artificially inflating the importance of winning this youth baseball game. Geez, you can't learn a better lesson at any age than this kid learned, but still folks are in an uproar because we didn't have a "Mighty Ducks" ending (actually I don't know how that movie actually ended, but I am guessing they won).

Reilly wrote my favorite "sports" article ever. It was about the jocks on flight 93, who apparently got together to overcome the terrorists on the flight and save many lives. True heroes, and Reilly's insightful article was about the athletic background of these guys and the role that this background might have played in their heroic acts. A bunch of jocks, who had seen (mock) adversity time and time again in their lives and in fact had been trained by their background in how to deal with adversity, face up to real adversity. Instead of cowering or being indecisive, this bunch of heroes says their goodbyes, looks at adversity right in the eye, and says, 'let's roll." This kid has started on the same path. He's seen this (mock) adversity (yes, I agree it didn't matter who won, although it matters a heckuva lot that both sides were trying to win), and his reaction to it is, fine, I see how it is, bring it on. I am going to do what it takes to beat this. And today, that lesson is probably more important to him than not having to bat in the last inning. It is beyond hypocritical, imho, for Reilly to credit part of the heroism of Flight 93 to their athletic background and then to blast the system and (volunteer!) coaches involved in creating that very background.

If it is my best pitcher on the mound, I think I go after him. No reason to put the winning run on base. Anybody else, I walk that kid.

cincrazy
08-11-2006, 01:02 AM
I think an IBB in 9-10 year old little league ball is ridiculous. It's important to be competitive, but it's also important to let the kids have fun. Why would he teach his pitcher to be afraid of someone at that young of an age? I'd tell him to go right at him, and if he got a hit, go right at him next time. I think it's sad that sister yelled. I don't think the coach was trying to pick on him by any means, but I also don't agree with the decision.

SteelSD
08-11-2006, 01:29 AM
You treat the kid like he's any other kid. You use the same strategy you'd use with any other kid. Doing otherwise would be disrespectful.

redsrule2500
08-11-2006, 03:28 AM
They shouldn't.

Are you serious? What's the point of the game if you don't even keep score?

When I was 9 they stopped keeping score after my first season, and I was furious. I lost any reason to play and parents still kept score for us so that it would at least be fun to try.

Not keeping score is the most politically correct, unrealistic garbage I have heard of in a long time. It's just plain stupid. :bang:

:beerme: to keeping score in ALL games... :)

dabvu2498
08-11-2006, 08:17 AM
Are you serious? What's the point of the game if you don't even keep score?

When I was 9 they stopped keeping score after my first season, and I was furious. I lost any reason to play and parents still kept score for us so that it would at least be fun to try.

The point of the game is to just play the game.

As you said, even if score is not officially kept, people will know what the score is. Without an "official" score, it depressurizes the game for kids/parents/coaches who just want to be there playing or have their kids playing.

Now, if you're all for competition, etc., etc., for your 9-10 year old kids, I'm sure you could find a summer "traveling" team that will keep score, but for a community rec league, like the one depicted in this story... let the score (and the fact that they had a tournament/championship game) go.

Jpup
08-11-2006, 08:33 AM
"you play to win the game." --Herm Edwards