Saturday, July 16, 2005

I found a link on Sportsfilter the other day to a truly awful story. A 27-year-old Pennsylvania man apparently offered a boy on his baseball team $25 to injure a mentally handicapped player by hitting him with a thrown baseball. The reason? The coach wanted to circumvent the rules which force a manager to play every kid on the team for at least a couple of innings. Most leagues have these sorts of rules, and having been a baseball coach for many years, I wholeheartedly agree with them. There's nothing worse than an overzealous coach who cares more about his won/loss record than whether the kids are enjoying themselves. However ...

Warning -- insensitive comments to follow

While this is absolutely despicable, can I just say I don't think having an eight-year-old mentally disabled kid on the field with other fully able kids is such a hot idea? I know we're all for inclusion and all that, but isn't there a pretty spectacular chance of this kid getting drilled by a batted ball or a throw anyhow? Is it fair to the other kids that they may have to hold back so they don't hurt the disabled boy?

I wasn't a child star or anything, but I could whip the ball around pretty well when I was eight. While it didn't change the way I played, I did always flinch at the thought of firing a throw from short to first when one of my teammates who was simply less gifted at baseball than I was was over there. Now, you can't keep a kid off a team just because he happens to stink on ice, and hell, I wouldn't want to. Some of my favorite players have been the ones who couldn't put their hands in a mitt when they showed up for the first practice. By the end of the season, we had figured out what his or her strength was and played to that.

But if a child really has little to no chance of physical improvement, stands an excellent of getting hurt and negatively affects the game around him or her to the point of diminishing the fun of the other players? I just don't know.

And yes, I'm fully aware for going to hell for saying this.

1 comment:

Samsonov14 said...

I don't know, Fraze. I don't think it's fair to assume that the kid has "an excellent chance of getting hurt." This just seems like knee-jerk, shortsighted reasoning. I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but you have to remember that it's T-ball. At higher levels of play I might be able to understand your point, but I think what you're saying about these circumstances is quite a stretch.

I wrote more on Spofi, but I just wanted to check your blog. I'll bookmark it. Anyway, I'm not sure if you're going to hell for what you said, but if you do, I'm pretty sure you'll be stuck on a T-ball team with retarded kids for all of eternity. You'll play left field.