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Is it good baseball strategy or a weak attempt to win?

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Is it good baseball strategy or a weak attempt to win?

Old 10-12-06, 04:30 PM
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Is it good baseball strategy or a weak attempt to win?

This didn't really seem to fit in the sport forum as it's more about how we treat others or are expected to treat others.. so I figured this was a better place for it. This happened a couple of months ago but I still thought it might be worthy of discussion..

This actually happened. Your job is to decide whether it should have.

In a nine- and 10-year-old PONY league championship game in Bountiful, Utah, the Yankees lead the Red Sox by one run. The Sox are up in the bottom of the last inning, two outs, a runner on third. At the plate is the Sox' best hitter, a kid named Jordan. On deck is the Sox' worst hitter, a kid named Romney. He's a scrawny cancer survivor who has to take human growth hormone and has a shunt in his brain.

So, you're the coach: Do you intentionally walk the star hitter so you can face the kid who can barely swing?

Wait! Before you answer.... This is a league where everybody gets to bat, there's a four-runs-per-inning max, and no stealing until the ball crosses the plate. On the other hand, the stands are packed and it is the title game.

So ... do you pitch to the star or do you lay it all on the kid who's been through hell already?

Yanks coach Bob Farley decided to walk the star.

Parents booed. The umpire, Mike Wright, thought to himself, Low-ball move. In the stands, Romney's eight-year-old sister cried. "They're picking on Romney!" she said. Romney struck out. The Yanks celebrated. The Sox moaned. The two coaching staffs nearly brawled.

And Romney? He sobbed himself to sleep that night.

"It made me sick," says Romney's dad, Marlo Oaks. "It's going after the weakest chick in the flock."

Farley and his assistant coach, Shaun Farr, who recommended the walk, say they didn't know Romney was a cancer survivor. "And even if I had," insists Farr, "I'd have done the same thing. It's just good baseball strategy."

Romney's mom, Elaine, thinks Farr knew. "Romney's cancer was in the paper when he met with President Bush," she says. That was thanks to the Make-A-Wish people. "And [Farr] coached Romney in basketball. I tell all his coaches about his condition."

She has to. Because of his radiation treatments, Romney's body may not produce enough of a stress-responding hormone if he is seriously injured, so he has to quickly get a cortisone shot or it could be life-threatening. That's why he wears a helmet even in centerfield. Farr didn't notice?

The sports editor for the local Davis Clipper, Ben De Voe, ripped the Yankees' decision. "Hopefully these coaches enjoy the trophy on their mantle," De Voe wrote, "right next to their dunce caps."

Well, that turned Bountiful into Rancorful. The town was split -- with some people calling for De Voe's firing and describing Farr and Farley as "great men," while others called the coaches "pathetic human beings." They "should be tarred and feathered," one man wrote to De Voe. Blogs and letters pages howled. A state house candidate called it "shameful."

What the Yankees' coaches did was within the rules. But is it right to put winning over compassion? For that matter, does a kid who yearns to be treated like everybody else want compassion?

"What about the boy who is dyslexic -- should he get special treatment?" Blaine and Kris Smith wrote to the Clipper. "The boy who wears glasses -- should he never be struck out? ... NO! They should all play by the rules of the game."

The Yankees' coaches insisted that the Sox coach would've done the same thing. "Not only wouldn't I have," says Sox coach Keith Gulbransen, "I didn't. When their best hitter came up, I pitched to him. I especially wouldn't have done it to Romney."

Farr thinks the Sox coach is a hypocrite. He points out that all coaches put their worst fielder in rightfield and try to steal on the weakest catchers. "Isn't that strategy?" he asks. "Isn't that trying to win? Do we let the kid feel like he's a winner by having the whole league play easy on him? This isn't the Special Olympics. He's not retarded."

Me? I think what the Yanks did stinks. Strategy is fine against major leaguers, but not against a little kid with a tube in his head. Just good baseball strategy? This isn't the pros. This is: Everybody bats, one-hour games. That means it's about fun. Period.

What the Yankees' coaches did was make it about them, not the kids. It became their medal to pin on their pecs and show off at their barbecues. And if a fragile kid got stomped on the way, well, that's baseball. We see it all over the country -- the overcaffeinated coach who watches too much SportsCenter and needs to win far more than the kids, who will forget about it two Dove bars later.

By the way, the next morning, Romney woke up and decided to do something about what happened to him.

"I'm going to work on my batting," he told his dad. "Then maybe someday I'll be the one they walk."
Old 10-12-06, 04:33 PM
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Bold please - yeah, and that caoch is the antithesis of "teh suck".....
Old 10-12-06, 04:34 PM
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Kid joined a baseball team. Why should he be treated any differently than any of the other kids? Obviously he joined baseball so he could participate in something with other kids. And so he could be treated equally.
Old 10-12-06, 04:35 PM
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It's a good lesson for the kid. Life threw you a curve ball, and now we will too. Quit crying and get back in the game, because the game picks on the weak, and you will have to work harder than the others. That's life. Life is tough.
Old 10-12-06, 04:36 PM
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Those coaches are pricks. This is a 10 yr old league not high school, college, or the pros... For that coach to even compare someone who wears glasses to a 10 year old with cancer is sickening. Unreal.. Friggin jerk.

EDIT - Dave, it's not about the kid.. It's about the idiot coaches.
Old 10-12-06, 04:37 PM
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Uh, this was posted in Sports talk months ago, unless this is a new case.
Old 10-12-06, 04:40 PM
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http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=474225
Old 10-12-06, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Mopower
Kid joined a baseball team. Why should he be treated any differently than any of the other kids? Obviously he joined baseball so he could participate in something with other kids. And so he could be treated equally.
I agree for the first 8 1/2 innings, but walking the best player only to out the worst to win the game, in the bottom of the ninth, is a douche move.

If your team is as good as they think, they should have pitched to the first kid and let the chips fall where they may.
Old 10-12-06, 04:47 PM
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It's a good lesson for the kid. Life threw you a curve ball, and now we will too. Quit crying and get back in the game, because the game picks on the weak, and you will have to work harder than the others. That's life. Life is tough.
The sooner kids learn this the better for them. Parents need to get a grip and stop trying to shield their kids from life.
Old 10-12-06, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mopower
Kid joined a baseball team. Why should he be treated any differently than any of the other kids? Obviously he joined baseball so he could participate in something with other kids. And so he could be treated equally.
Absolutely.
Old 10-12-06, 05:03 PM
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This kid is protecting their best hitter? and if the kid gotten a hit it would have been one of the highlights of his life.
Old 10-12-06, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tbird2340
This is a 10 yr old league not high school, college, or the pros...
And I brought this up in the original thread....

It is a championship game. If it were non-competitive, then absolutely there is no need to do it, but having a championship game negates that. Yeah, sure it's about teaching kids sportmanship, it's also about learning how to be a gracious loser. Which I thought the cancer survivor showed when he said, "I'm going to work on my batting. Then maybe someday I'll be the one they walk."
Old 10-12-06, 05:11 PM
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Thanks 12thmonkey. I did search for it but had no luck.

Originally Posted by neiname
This kid is protecting their best hitter?
This is something I think that easily gets missed in the story. I dare say the coach put this kid there to force other teams to pitch to the best hitter - so in effect he was using the kid for strategic advantage. Doesn't that make him just as guilty?
Old 10-12-06, 05:19 PM
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My opinion on this is the same as it was 4 months ago. The cancer kid is immaterial. If this kid were an average run-of-the-mill player, the coach would have walked the "star hitter" to get to him. He walked the star hitter because he's the star hitter, and he's holding a 1-run lead with 2 open bases. It really has nothing to do with whether the next kid is a cancer survivor or the 2nd best player; he's just a guy in the line-up who's not the star hitter. If the coach would have walked to get to an average batter, which seems almost a certainty, he should treat the cancer survivor with the same human dignity. In the long-run there's more positive psychological gain to being treated like just another kid than being treated like some special charity case who can't fend for himself.

All that said, you should never intentionally walk people in these leagues, cancer survivors or not.

das

Last edited by das Monkey; 10-12-06 at 05:22 PM.
Old 10-12-06, 05:40 PM
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What a stupid coach! The right move would have been to have his pitcher intentionally bean the good hitter then pitch to the kid. Then he wins the game and doesn't look like an ass....unless his pitcher tattles.
Old 10-12-06, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Silt
What a stupid coach! The right move would have been to have his pitcher intentionally bean the good hitter then pitch to the kid. Then he wins the game and doesn't look like an ass....unless his pitcher tattles.
Good one. Or an unintentional intentional walk.
Old 10-12-06, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by namja
Good one. Or an unintentional intentional walk.
Exactly. Anyone who has coached youth baseball for any amount of time knows that traditional baseball strategies don't apply... especially in 10-and-under leagues. Most kids aren't consistent enough to apply MLB-type strategies.

Unfortunately, many youth coaches are just trying to work out their own personal frustrations... either their inability to play the game themselves as a child, or a myriad of other issues they're trying to deal with (many which have nothing to do with baseball or sports).

I've had my share of dealing with coaches that "worked the rules" to their advantage. Whether it be a maximum runs per inning rule, maximum number of batters per inning, no inning shall begin after x:xx pm, etc. They're the ones who spend more time scrutinizing the league's rule book for angles than books on baseball drills and skill development.

In this situation, I would've instructed my pitcher not to give the batter anything too "fat" to hit. Depending upon the pitcher, I'd have him throw the high heat.... far more difficult to hit than kids think. Bottom line: pitch to the batter, just be a little creative.
Old 10-12-06, 06:36 PM
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"It's going after the weakest chick in the flock."
This has been my strategy for years!
Old 10-12-06, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by El Scorcho
This has been my strategy for years!
Weakest = drunkest?

Old 10-12-06, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Eh, the coaches were just living up to their team name.
He coaches the Dickheads?
Old 10-12-06, 07:03 PM
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Since this thread has already been done, here's a new story along the same lines:
T-ball coach gets 1-6 years for ordering beaning
Thursday, October 12, 2006

By Moustafa Ayad, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

UNIONTOWN, Pa. -- A youth league baseball coach convicted of getting one of his players to injure a teammate was sentenced to one to six years in prison today.

Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman said the actions by Mark Downs Jr., of Dunbar, in June 2005 were "outrageous" and "extremely reprehensible" because he was coaching a league of children 7 to 9 years old.

Testimony indicated Mr. Downs promised $25 to one of his best players if he hurled a ball at Harry Bowers Jr., 11, an autistic and mildly retarded teammate, presumably to keep him from playing in a game.

A jury convicted Mr. Downs last month of corruption of minors and conspiracy to commit simple assault.

Judge Warman sentenced him to six months to three years on each count.

Mr. Downs didn't say anything during this afternoon's sentencing hearing. But as he was led away, he replied "Yes" when asked if he thought the sentence was too harsh.

Judge Warman could have sentenced him to up to 12 years.

Mr. Downs' bond was revoked and he was taken to jail to await transfer to a state prison.

Mr. Downs' family, including his wife, a 6-week-old baby and three other children were in the courtroom for part of the hearing. But the three older children were hurried out before the actual sentencing.

Jennifer Bowers, mother of the injured player, said the sentencing ends a chapter in the story. "Hopefully we can close the book on this," she said, but added her son still doesn't understand what happened.
"
Old 10-12-06, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
He coaches the Dickheads?
Old 10-12-06, 07:13 PM
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I coached 9-10 year olds this spring in Little League and am also coaching a team this fall. You don't intentionally walk kids at this level. You're trying to develop the kids, that is the primary goal. Let the pitcher try to get the best hitter out. Maybe he'll learn something from that. You also need to respect the kids on the other team and let them get a chance to develop. Intentionally walking a kid doesn't let that kid see if he can make a clutch hit and is incredibly lame.
Old 10-12-06, 07:25 PM
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This should be the script for little giants II
Old 10-12-06, 09:30 PM
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welcome to the sports forum!

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