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HotCorner
08-11-2006, 02:17 PM
I saw this article and figured it would be a good discussion topic. Personally I believe the coach made the correct decision ... baseball or otherwise. I'm also a bit upset that the father would jump to the conclusion that his son's condition was the reason the coach choose to walk the best hitter not sound baseball strategy.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=415320



There are wonderful stories, especially in movies, where the underdog comes back to win.

This story, however isn't out of Hollywood. It's in Bountiful, where a little league baseball coach is in the middle of a national controversy.

The controversy all comes down to one thing: Should winning a game mean everything to 9 and 10 year olds? It's a question that has a lot of people talking; especially after a coach made his decision.

It's been quite a season for Romney Oaks.

Romney Oaks, Bountiful Little Leaguer: "I actually have a lot of fun."

His Bountiful little league team made it all the way to the championships. He was ready for the biggest game of his life.

Romney Oaks, Bountiful Little Leaguer: "I'm really competitive in sports, and once I start something, I can't stop."

Romney says he was on-deck in his teams championship little league game. His team was down by one and there were two outs. There was a man on third, and his team's power hitter was up, so Romney thought the game would be over.

Then the other team intentionally walked the power hitter on Romney's team. Romney said he was shocked. Romney got up to bat and struck out. His team ended up losing by one run.

Romney Oaks, Bountiful Little Leaguer: "Disbelief. I was in utter disbelief."

Romney's father couldn't believe the opposing coaches intentionally walked a better hitter to face his son: A cancer survivor who needs a shunt in his brain just to live.

Marlo Oaks, Romney's Father: "What are we teaching our kids? Are we teaching them that it's okay to pick on the weakest person?"

Shaun Farr Shaun Farr is the coach who made the decision. He says it had nothing to do with facing Romney.

Shaun Farr, Little League Coach: "There's no way I would've done that. It wasn't that point at all. It was about walking their best hitter."

Farr says he didn't even know Romney was up next. He says it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because he would have still walked the power hitter.

Shaun Farr, Little League Coach: "I was either going to have my kids and their parents upset because we pitched to this kid and he wins the game for them, or I do what I do, and this happens."

It's getting plenty of attention: The Dan Patrick show on ESPN radio, MSNBC, and Sports Illustrated.

Shaun Farr, Little League Coach: "Everybody has their own opinion of it all, but I also think the reason there's so much controversy is because people have painted this picture that I deliberately went after this boy that's recovering from cancer."

He says that's not the case, but some aren't so sure.

Marlo Oaks, Romney's Father: "It's about going up against the weakest player, and getting the weakest player out."

Coach Farr also said that if the game were a regular season game, he wouldn't have walked the power hitter.

This game, though, was for the championship.

NJReds
08-11-2006, 02:25 PM
Not that I'm crazy about intentional walks in little league games. That in itself doesn't register with me.

But why put the "weakest" kid behind the best hitter on the team. Could it be that the coach wanted to guilt opposing pitchers to pitch to his best hitter.

Yachtzee
08-11-2006, 03:09 PM
I don't know what to think of this. Sometimes in Little League you get one of those kids who hits an early growth spurt and becomes a "man amongst boys." If that's the case, there's no way I pitch to that kid and I would be pretty angry with the other team taking advantage of the sentimentality of the other kid's condition to protect their best hitter. On the other hand, if the hitting talent on the team is pretty evenly spread, this kid just happens to be slightly better than the rest of the guys, and I know the kid coming up is recovering from cancer, I think I pitch to the "best hitter" and let the chips fall where they may. Then again, I've never been a Little League coach with a bunch of hypercompetitive parents scrutinizing my every move.

Ltlabner
08-11-2006, 03:19 PM
Romney's father couldn't believe the opposing coaches intentionally walked a better hitter to face his son: A cancer survivor who needs a shunt in his brain just to live.

Marlo Oaks, Romney's Father: "What are we teaching our kids? Are we teaching them that it's okay to pick on the weakest person?"

Wow...I have to believe the Dad approved the son playing baseball and allowed it to continue despite the shunt. Did it not dawn on him that his kid may have been called on to produce in a tough situation? And then he want's to go into over protection mode when his kid is put in that position?

I guess it would have been ok for him to take a ball off the head, have a collision with someone in the field or trip and fall....all very likely outcomes for kids playing sports. So the Dad was apparently ok with the possibility of his kid getting hurt in one of these ways, but felt his son was too fragile and weak emotionally that he can't handle being pitched too in an important situation? What a great lesson to teach the kid.

And I bet that makes the kid feel great that his dad thinks he's "the weakest person" on the team. Way to go Dad. I'm sure that really pumps him up.

I'm guessing, so I could be 1000% wrong but I bet that boy was tickled pink to be called apon to step to the plate in such an important situation. He probably didn't connect that they pitched around the power hitter to get to him...only the fathers hysterics put that into his head. Again, I'm only guessing because the story didn't say anything about this.

If you want your kid to play ball dispite his physical limitations and be treated as "normal" don't turn right around and cry "foul" when the other team treats your kid as normal and ignores his physical limitations.

Just my gut responce.

HotCorner
08-11-2006, 03:29 PM
If you want your kid to play ball dispite his physical limitations and be treated as "normal" don't turn right around and cry "foul" when the other team treats your kid as normal and ignores his physical limitations.


:thumbup:

Chainer
08-11-2006, 03:33 PM
When I was in little league, in the championship game, I was pitching and I kept pitching around their best hitter. His dad was the coach of his team, and started mouthing off to my dad about me pitching around him. My dad told him that if he wanted a trophy that bad, he would buy him one LOL But, that's beyond the point.

Little League or not, it's baseball. You do what you have to to win the game. The game is played the same way.

bucksfan
08-11-2006, 03:48 PM
Just in general, I am not sure I approve of intentiional walks at that level. Kinda hard for me to comment until I have kids go thru this myself (my daughter is 4 1/2), but I don't recall seeing an intentional walk in little league or pony leage when I played. Maybe we didn't have the most strategic coaches in teh world but I think at that level you let the players play the game from a skill standpoint and concentrate on teh "fundamental skill strategies" - not so much the "coach-controlled strategies", if that makes any sense at all.

I am quite certain I would have pitched to the "good batter", regardless of who was behind him.

Also though I don't think I would have raised too much a ruckus about it if I were the kid or his family/etc as I think that only makes him feel worse. ANd as people have brought up before, he is playing the game to play the game. If he or his family really did not want him to be out there fearing failure, then they would stick to differnt activities I am sure. From his perspective alone I hope he can think of that as just part of the game as he knows how the higher leagues play. I think the commotion being made about it only worsen's the situation from that kid's perspective.

CrackerJack
08-11-2006, 03:50 PM
I have no problem with the coach who walked the better hitter in this circumstance.

It's the nature of competitive/organized sports at any level (sans 4-5 yr olds playing soccer or tee ball, which is meaningless outside of personal experience)

If you don't like it - don't put your child on a team.

RBA
08-11-2006, 04:11 PM
But why put the "weakest" kid behind the best hitter on the team.

Jerry Narron makes the line-up card?

traderumor
08-11-2006, 04:19 PM
Having played, umpired or coached hundreds of little league games, I have seen intentional walks, but mostly in 11-12 year old games. However, in a championship game setting, the strategy seems perfectly reasonable.

LtLabner, good thoughts.

UKFlounder
08-12-2006, 09:39 AM
The situation I was in was not the same, but at least somewhat similar. I don't remember how old I was, but it was a game my team was losing by a couple of runs, but we had the bases loaded & our best hitter coming to the plate. The opposing team did walk him intentionally, which let a run score.

Why? Because he was the 9th batter for us that inning, and league rules only allowed a maximum of 9 batters in an inning, so that walk & the run that scored ended the inning. I'm guessing we ended up losing that game, as I don't remember much else, and I would suspect it happened when I was pretty young (7 maybe) for the league to have such a rule, but that stunk.

I also remember one time when our manager sent somebody up to pinch-hit for me. That hurt.

RANDY IN INDY
08-12-2006, 09:49 AM
In a championship game, that means a lot to a lot of kids, I see nothing wrong with the coach's strategy. I, too, find it very odd that the kid with the physical limitations was batting after the team's best hitter. That in itself raises some questions about why the coach would bat him there, in a championship game, if he truly is the weakest player on the team.

tomred
08-12-2006, 05:25 PM
I heard someone on Dan Patrick show talking about what life lessons the coach was teaching their kids was feast on the weak.I do not know if this is right however is it that inportant to win to make a young child who as allready gone through a terrible time have to be the goat in a baseball game is winning that inportant

dman
08-12-2006, 05:35 PM
If you want your kid to play ball dispite his physical limitations and be treated as "normal" don't turn right around and cry "foul" when the other team treats your kid as normal and ignores his physical limitations.


What he said. :thumbup:

Tony Cloninger
08-12-2006, 05:45 PM
Why have a championship game.....if they are trying to teach kids about sportsmanship and everyone is equal on the field?

Joseph
08-12-2006, 05:50 PM
The thing I find most disturbing in this is the way the father kept referring to his son as the weakest. What kind of image is that going to give the kid as he grows up?

traderumor
08-12-2006, 06:13 PM
Why have a championship game.....if they are trying to teach kids about sportsmanship and everyone is equal on the field?I am co-Commissioner of a basketball league administered by my church but is a nationwide program known as Upward Basketball. One of its features is no standings, no championship games. Ages range from K-9 grade. Scores are kept for games from 3rd grade on, but no standings, no championships. It sure does eliminate a lot of problems that arise from such matters and helps keep the focus on development while allowing for tasting victory and defeat by keeping score during the games at an age appropriate level. If any of you have a child who you would like to learn basketball in an appropriately competitive environment, find such a program in your area, there is likely to be one. Since it is administered by churches, there is a short discussion of Christianity each practice, but the Christian teachings are also what helps the league minimize problems with hypercompetitiveness that shows up in all too many youth leagues.

Ltlabner
08-12-2006, 06:17 PM
The thing I find most disturbing in this is the way the father kept referring to his son as the weakest. What kind of image is that going to give the kid as he grows up?


From the limited details provided in the story it sounds like the Father is the only one who thinks his kid is "weak". He also seems to be the only one focused on his son's health issues.

Perhaps the Father is the one who has some issues to work out here.

Tony Cloninger
08-12-2006, 06:37 PM
The competative fire inside you........is always there.....some are stronger than others.

I played Little Leauge from age 7 through 14. High School and College baseball.

Since i was 7.....i loved looking at the stats and standings they would post every week on the LL board.

I did not feel weak or unworthy....if we lost or i did not do so well.
I was having fun.
My 1st year i was Juan Castro.
My 2nd year.....i hit like EE, minus the homers, just a lot of doubles.
Plus we went 17-0-1.
It was fun.....and we got a trophy that read....UNDEFEATED.

Next year..... different team.....higher leauge ....almost lost all the games....reverted back to Mike De La Hoz.
I was still having fun....... should have taken more batting cage practice though.
I just do not recall people being negative.....i mean kids are tools to each other at those ages.... But it did not scar me.

I agree with the father having more of the issues.

flyer85
08-14-2006, 11:21 AM
Life isnt fair, might as well get used to it.

Puffy
08-14-2006, 01:07 PM
I bet if the kid got a hit and ended up winning the game and the championship the Father wouldn't have cared that they walked someone to pitch to his son.

Hap
08-14-2006, 07:23 PM
I just don't get the whole thing.

Couldn't the Make-A-Wish obligation be satisfied just by giving the kid a few ABs and maybe some innings in the field here and there and maybe a pitching appearance or two?

Why did he have to play in the championship game?

RANDY IN INDY
08-14-2006, 08:12 PM
Life isnt fair, might as well get used to it.

If the kid was healthy enough and really wanted to play on a competitive team in a competitive environment, he should be treated exactly like the rest of the players, and if the truth be told, that is probably exactly the way he wanted to be treated. He probably wanted to be just like the rest of the kids, and his parents and coaches should have prepared him and made him to realize that everything doesn't always work out the way we want it to. Just living the life he has lived, with the cancer and all, probably has made him very aware of that. The baseball is probably a welcome relief for him, away from the suffering of cancer. In all likelihood, all he wants is to be as much like the other kids as possible and to have a chance.

From my Sunday school lesson, yesterday:

Dissapointments, defeats and disasters are no respecters of persons.

Uncertainties will come. Be prepared!
Life is not fair. Accept it!
You will get knocked down. Get back up!
You can get back up. Do it!
You must not give up. Dust yourself off.
Get back to work. Move on!

dsmith421
08-15-2006, 02:50 PM
I, too, find it very odd that the kid with the physical limitations was batting after the team's best hitter.

If this league is playing under standard Little League rules, I believe the most likely scenario is that the kid in question came in as a substitute in order to get his at-bat and field for six outs. Given that the game was a blowout at the time, I doubt the coach even considered the possibility of this sort of finish.

This scenario would be a really tough one for me. I honestly don't know what I would do as a coach.

Ltlabner
08-15-2006, 03:00 PM
If the kid was healthy enough and really wanted to play on a competitive team in a competitive environment, he should be treated exactly like the rest of the players, and if the truth be told, that is probably exactly the way he wanted to be treated.

Bingo!