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#13, Part 2: The Continuing Jericho Scott story…

August 31, 2008

Here are some more thoughts on the topic of my previous post, derived after reading another few articles.

Here’s some more information I was able to find According to this piece, he is not pitching every game and kids in his alternate league aren’t afraid of him and claim to have success against him. Here’s the article that the source above quotes, written by Dave Solomon of the New Haven Register. Solomon notes inconsistencies on both sides of the fence, stating that Jericho’s team added both him, and another “all-star” (a player from the alternate league) in mid-August in order to make a playoff run. Solomon interviewed parents in the Liga Juvenil (the league in question) and at least one parent does describe the league as a “fun” league. Solomon also points out that after being brought to the team, Jericho pitched eight innings over two days, and five more innings three days later (the days are a Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday).

I do have a problem with that. From the article, it sounds like in the process of being a new league, and a “fun” league, the league has not had the foresight to put rules in place to prevent things like this happening. In Little League baseball pitchers at this age are not allowed to pitch more than 6 innings per week and must have three calendar days rest after throwing four or more innings. Not having a rule like that in place runs the risk of hurting the pitchers from overuse, and leads to the potential of ruining the league.

Solomon also pointed out that the championship team from the previous two seasons tried to get Jericho on their team but were denied and that there are other kids in the league who nearly as hard as Jericho but are much wilder, implying that these kids actually pose a greater threat than Jericho does. On further consideration, I do agree with Solomon that if this league is supposed to be a fun league why are they crowning championship teams? I would find it a little odd if they didn’t keep score at all, but the implications of the article are that, at least among some of the adults in the league, being part of (sponsoring, coaching, whatever) the championship team is an important thing.

Of course, as noted in Solomon’s article, I have to wonder what sort of system is in place that would allow a team that already has a perfect record (4-0 at the time) pick up two kids from the “all-star” league. As I noted earlier, it sounds like this league’s rule system isn’t very well structured and as such, instances such as this occur and cannot be handled within the rules because rules don’t exist that can handle the situation. While the league does have a pitch count rule, it doesn’t sound like it has a total innings pitched/pitches thrown per week setup. Implementing something like the 6 innings per week/3 days rest after four innings system used by Little League baseball would prevent these sorts of things from happening.

Implementing a draft system for players overseen by league officials with set guidelines will generally prevent teams from being able to stack talent. It’s not a foolproof system, and won’t work if coaches make poor draft decisions, but certainly it is better than the outright recruitment system that is not working in the best interest of the league. In this type of system, the league would hold a tryout where coaches would be able to rank the players based on their skills and teams would enter into an ordered draft to pick the players. Any players that will not be able to participate until later in the season still need to try out and be eligible to be drafted by any team, that team will just have to play with an empty roster slot until that player is available.

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