FanDuel - WFBC

August 11, 2006

Little League controversy: erupts in Utah. Intentional walk of power-hitter during championship game has unintended ramifications.

posted by mr_crash_davis to baseball at 09:06 AM - 62 comments

Pathic that the media has turned this into something that really isn't something. Big deal. So if they pitched to the slugger just so little junior's parents wouldn't feel offended, then what about the other teams parents? They would be just hearbroken that they lost, oh wait, I mean that their kids lost. Are we not supposed to teach our children about winning and on the same page, losing (makes you humble or you end up like T.O.) Suggest you all read "Harrison Bergeon" by Kurt Vonnegut - this is what our PC world is coming to.

posted by Stealth_72 at 09:23 AM on August 11

crap, misspelled pathetic... Guess thats what the preview button is for :(

posted by Stealth_72 at 09:28 AM on August 11

It seems like one of the goals of Little League should be to teach kids about the game of baseball and the strategies involved. I don't think parents should even have their kids in sports if they don't want their kids to realize that the bigger, stronger athletic kids succeed more often than the smaller, weaker, uncoordinated kids.

posted by bperk at 09:29 AM on August 11

Don't major league pitchers walk Barry Bonds to keep him from knocking in runs? It happens all the time. The coach used stategy to give his team a chance of winning. You can bet if the coach didn't walk the power hitter and he hit a home run to win the game, he would have been blasted for pitching to him. This is an article that should have never been writen.

posted by dbt302 at 09:32 AM on August 11

baseball is the one sport where it's o.k. for the coach to say " I don't have confidence in you,so walk this guy".cowardice over confidence is always the way to go.they do it in the majors all the time.

posted by mars1 at 09:36 AM on August 11

I think the whole point of the controversy is that this isn't the majors.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:43 AM on August 11

It's not cowardice at all, it simply coaching to win. The guy is a coach, his job is to give his team the best chance to win. It doesn't matter who is on deck next unless the next guy is an even better hitter. This is part of the game. It's called stratagy! I am so sick of all the PC crap that gets thrown around now a days. it is pathetic. I am sick of hearing "well their kids winning shouldn't matter" "don't score so many points you'll hurt their feelings" These people miss the whole point of sports. These are life lessons, sometimes you win sometimes you lose, that's LIFE. The concept of sports is you play to win. You don't always win but you give it all you have and try. I would much rather my kid get beat by 100 points than to have to tell him not to try. That is the worst kind of lesson you could ever teach a kid. I agree with dbt302, this article should never have been written. If you want to shelter your kid from the real world then don't let him play sports at all. However don't have him play and then try to change the game. Total BS.

posted by T.C. at 09:48 AM on August 11

These people miss the whole point of sports. I don't think there is a "whole point of sports". The point changes depending on the individual, the level at which they're playing, all kinds of other things. At the Little League level, there are a lot of "points", and often quite a bit of tension between them. Even in the majors, managers need to make the tradeoff between winning today vs. developing skills for tomorrow, when they get a promising rookie coming up. If a major league manager will sometimes decide to pay the price for the rookie's on-the-job learning, it stands to reason that in little league -- where, let's remember, one of the "points" surely is developing skills -- you would not expect a manager to always take the most direct path to an immediate win.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:54 AM on August 11

lil brown bat, I'll give you that one. Very true. However I think to vilify this coach for trying to win a championship for his team is going way overboard. Pitching around a good hitter in a critical situation is part of the game. If as you said the point here is to teach and develop then that's something they need to learn too. I guess I did kind of go off on a bit of a rant there, lol, but I just get upset when people throw that PC crap all around. The guy was just trying to get his team a championship, one they all probably worked very hard for all year. He would have been doing his kids a disservice had he not done what he could to win

posted by T.C. at 10:00 AM on August 11

However I think to vilify this coach for trying to win a championship for his team is going way overboard. I'll give you that one. It might not be something you do in every game, but I'd think a coach would teach the kids to expect it, or at least not be surprised at it, in a playoff. Back to the development thing, it is part of the game that they're going to have to learn. I guess I did kind of go off on a bit of a rant there, lol, but I just get upset when people throw that PC crap all around. Well, PC is a strawman, here and most everywhere: I truly doubt that anyone who's objecting is doing so for reasons of political correctness. They're objecting because they have a different set of assumptions about "the point", that's all.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:10 AM on August 11

Little League, I thought they said Pony League. Either way, that manager showed a brilliant mind for the game and should be voted Manager of the Year and probably will be hearing from the majors any day now. Maybe if this kid did came through and brought in the runner the manager should be fired.

posted by joromu at 10:11 AM on August 11

First things first.... Are we to assume that young Mr Romney is not a capable baseball player? That he is on this team playing for a chance to advance to the LL World Series simply to make him feel special because he is a cancer survivor? These teams are all-star squads made up of the best players that a local league has to offer. If young Mr. Romney IS on the team just as a gesture to make him feel special, then shame on his coach, his parents and anyone else involved in that decision. I say this not to be cruel, but just the opposite. It would not take a genius to see that exactly something like this would have happened. By placing him on the team if he was not able to perform at an adequate level leaves him in just this position, AND deprives another child the opportunity to play. Now, lets look at what young Mr Romney's coach failed to do....pinch hit for the young man. LL has a mandatory play rule, where every player must play 3 defensive outs in the field and bat one time, starters are permitted to reenter. If Romney had not hit yet, and the other team pitches to the power hitter, and the game is won at that point, they would still lose via forfeit for not having gotten all the players the required at bat (Romney). If Romney had already batted, then it is simple, you bring the starter back in rather than leave Romney at the plate, unless of course he is not really all that poor a hitter, in which case why are we even having this discussion?

posted by elovrich at 10:16 AM on August 11

Here's the worst part: Marlo Oaks, Romney's Father: "It's about going up against the weakest player, and getting the weakest player out." You just called your own kid the weakest player, you shmuck! I coach soccer. I teach my kids to play fair, play hard, and I teach them how to win. I teach them to spot the slower defenders and go after them. I teach them how to make a good clean tackle. I also teach them to shake hands after the match and always help the other players up when they go down. I teach them how to win soccer games, and how to win and lose with class. Walking a batter isn't cheating, it isn't picking on anyone. It's teaching kids how to play baseball. Geez. The losing team is teaching its kids to be sore losers and putting the burden unduly on the kid who struck out.

posted by rgchappell at 10:20 AM on August 11

I was horrible when I played little league (late 70's to early80's) and this happened to me a lot. All it did was make me work harder to be a good hitter. It worked. I didnt end up the best or hit game winning homeruns, but I became a solid hitter. Back then we kept score and learned to be a good loser and most important a gracious winner.

posted by DOGFOODMAN at 10:22 AM on August 11

Maybe we should focus on the lineup issue. Why is your best power hitter being protected in the lineup by your weakest player?

posted by bperk at 10:27 AM on August 11

I feel bad for the kid here. How would you like your dad to be calling you the weakest? If you feel the need to blame someone for poor sportsmanship, I think he's the top candidate. On preview: RG beat me. Win as a team, lose as a team. Unless you have a cancer survivor that you can pin the loss on. Part of sport is learning how to lose.

posted by SummersEve at 10:29 AM on August 11

Walking a batter isn't cheating, it isn't picking on anyone. It's teaching kids how to play baseball. Seconded. Am I to believe the coach actually has scouting reports with details like "Had cancer. Cost him some bat speed. We can pitch to this crip"?

posted by yerfatma at 10:33 AM on August 11

Why did the other coach have his weakest hitter batting after his best hitter anyway? He should get a clue.

posted by tpuckett at 10:34 AM on August 11

There shouldn't be intentional walks in LL PERIOD. but I don't agree with this everyone gets a trophy b.s. either. Romney had it right "I quess I will have to work on my batting for next year" everyone knows LL is for the parents anyway. Want to see a bunch of idiots without going to DC go to a youth sports event.As a parent of thankfully athletic,now grown kids, it was un f-ing real.

posted by thatch at 10:45 AM on August 11

Am I to believe the coach actually has scouting reports with details like "Had cancer. Cost him some bat speed. We can pitch to this crip"? Apparently he just knew who he didn't want to pitch to. He had no idea about the next batter, just had a pretty good idea that he wasn't as strong a hitter as the kid who was pitched around.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:47 AM on August 11

Is it bad that that scouting report made me laugh out loud?

posted by edub1321 at 11:01 AM on August 11

On topic: Cancer aside, i think intenional walks in Little League are a bit ridiculous. If I'm the kid pitching in this situation I would be a little miffed. I'd rather get knocked around by thier best hitter rather than just walk him. Off Topic: Thatch inspires me with haiku like posts Opposable thumbs like rules, are meant to bend but can be broken

posted by HATER 187 at 11:07 AM on August 11

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. Why did he think the game would be over? Did the "power hitter" go yard in every at bat? If he had, they should have just beaned the little punk, intentional walks are for wimps.

posted by tselson at 11:07 AM on August 11

(for more information, here is the S.I. article about it) Am I to believe the coach actually has scouting reports with details like "Had cancer. Cost him some bat speed. We can pitch to this crip"? Actually, yes. He does know the kid has a disability. From the S.I. article: "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."" ... He had no idea about the next batter, just had a pretty good idea that he wasn't as strong a hitter as the kid who was pitched around. Do they scramble the batting order every inning? He would have known who was coming up next. Besides, the kid is standing in the on-deck area. I'm curious how the pitcher feels. The coach has basically told him that in the most important moment of his (young) baseball career, I don't think you are good enough to get this next guy out. However, I think you should be okay to strike out the weakest kid in the lineup. (edit: Obviously HATER187 thinks the same way.)

posted by grum@work at 11:08 AM on August 11

Reading other articles on this incident, here are some new/clarified facts. This was a PONY 9-10 y.o. league championship game. Not LL, not an all-star team. This league has a 4-run per inning limit (except for this championship game, which then raises the question of why change the rules unless winning is important). The coach that walked the power hitter coached Romney in basketball 2 years prior to this incident. One would assume that he knew about the cancer issue, even if he swears he was unaware of it. The power hitter had already hit a 3-run HR and a triple earlier in the game. Romney wears a batting helmet while playing centerfield (this would certainly raise the question of why, meaning it is more likely that coach Farr knew what the situation was). Even with these additional facts, I would agree with the decision to walk the batter. BUT, since the situation is now first and third, why not walk Romney also? Problem solved.

posted by elovrich at 11:10 AM on August 11

BUT, since the situation is now first and third, why not walk Romney also? Problem solved. Your putting the winning run in scoring position. Might as well not walk anyone then. Would this be an issue if the kid wasn't a cancer survivor? I doubt it, I can't imagine this is the first time it's ever happenned.

posted by tron7 at 11:21 AM on August 11

Coaching question... Why would the best hitter in your line-up, whom we can assume bats in the three, four or five hole, be protected by your worst hitter? Observation: only in baseball would this happen to a kid and no matter how mean it might seem, Mr. Farr wanted his kids to get the win. His concern should be about the success of his players, thats why he's their coach and thats what the parents expect of him. Reality Check: Its kids playing a game. I've been the last out in a PONY game and I got over it... at least these kids weren't on the streets ealing drugs.

posted by Hornsfan817 at 11:44 AM on August 11

This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read.No batter likes to be IBB'd,no pitcher likes it either{they all believe that they can get the out}.The insult is thrown at the batter to be pitched to.What he does is the excitement of the game.This is why I prefer the NL,when you walk the 8 hitter and the pitcher comes through,it is the most exciting play in baseball. I am really glad the young man has survived cancer,but if he is in the line-up,doesn't that mean that he is a capable player?

posted by Tubby Fan at 11:54 AM on August 11

I have coached little league baseball (7yr olds up to 13 yr olds) and in a championship game I do not see anything wrong with walking the team's best hitter. I've never done it myself, but have considered it. I agree with the coach...if the next batter was not a cancer survivor no one would care. This is the game of baseball. Get over it and get used to it because sports teaches us life lessons all the time and this is just an example. If this was basketball, would anyone care if he had double-teamed the other team's best player? I doubt it.

posted by dobu at 12:00 PM on August 11

Would this be an issue if the kid wasn't a cancer survivor? I doubt it, I can't imagine this is the first time it's ever happenned. Actually, (according to some other articles about the incident) it IS the first time any of the parents can recall an intentional walk being issued to a batter in that league.

posted by grum@work at 12:40 PM on August 11

I agree with the coach...if the next batter was not a cancer survivor no one would care. Given that he is a cancer survivor, he may not care that much about striking out, not even about striking out in the big game. Unlike his teammates, he's already had the experience of having some much bigger things to care about. I suspec the's handling it just fine (unlike his parents, perhaps).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:52 PM on August 11

Romney wears a batting helmet while playing centerfield Which made for an interesting conversation when he met Rickey Henderson.* As for banning intentional walks in Little League, how would you ever prove a 10 year-old can throw strikes consistently? * I know it's an apocryphal story. I still love it.

posted by yerfatma at 12:54 PM on August 11

Maybe we should focus on the lineup issue. Why is your best power hitter being protected in the lineup by your weakest player? I am too cynical, but maybe the coach put the weakest player (a cancer survivor) behind the best hitter thinking that this would be the best protection, because of the very thing that happened. Many coaches would not want to look like an #$$ by doing what the coach did, calling for an IBB. So, that provides protection. I think it took a lot of guts for the coach to call for the IBB if he knew the situation with the next player. And, he is correct, if he pitched to the best hitter and lost the game, his parents would be raising the fuss.

posted by graymatters at 12:54 PM on August 11

Actually, (according to some other articles about the incident) it IS the first time any of the parents can recall an intentional walk being issued to a batter in that league. I don't recall an intentional walk ever being issued in little league either, not that I would have thought much of it anyway, but I'm fairly sure it's occured before. It's an issue now because this boy survived cancer. I'm assuming this has happened before to kids who didn't survive cancer and newspapers and national media didn't feel the need to pick up the story. Surviving cancer seems to make someone more important or at least newsworthy. Or maybe it just makes their parents harder to ignore.

posted by tron7 at 01:33 PM on August 11

Too much focus on winning. No one joins a sport to 'win' - a vain esoteric concept. People/kids join sports because participating in the activity is inherently enjoyable and challenging (or their parents make them). The emphasis on winning in the face of all else is counter-intutive to why we play sports to begin with.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:36 PM on August 11

I tend to beleve that adults are a necessary evil in little league & parents should just drop the kids off & let them play. Also that kids under 14 -15 are in instructional leagues & the fierce competition can comewhen they are older. At 9 years old the focus should be to have fun, not get hurt & learn some basic skills. That being said I'll refer to the Ol' Professor's comments to his team at the end on the Amazin' Mets season that was the losingest in MLB history. "No one player can take credit for this season ....it was a team effort all the way" Or something like that.The point is Romney's team lost the game in the first 8 innings - not the last 3 strikes.

posted by knuckleballer at 01:36 PM on August 11

A championship game in a league for fun where everyone that signs up makes the team. Seems kind of like this whole league is a living double standard

posted by timdawg at 01:37 PM on August 11

If I learned anything from watching The Bad News Bears, it's that there is at least one booger-eatin' spaz on every team that makes everyone else want to puke. Romney Oaks is that kid. He may not think that way about himself, but if kids are still as blunt as they were when I was his age, his peers have told him. He knows. Fact is, Oaks got the chance to be a hero. He took his shot ... and struck out. Nothing to be ashamed about. Sometimes our best isn't good enough. But it sounds like the adults don't want him to know. They want to make it about morals and ethics and right and wrong. That's understandable. But it's not doing the kid any favors. The best way to help the kid is to put him through a ton of hitting drills for next season, maybe throw in a Fred McGriff video. From what Oaks said in the articles, it's what he'd like. Not all this drama.

posted by forrestv at 01:38 PM on August 11

People kids join sports because participating in the activity is inherently enjoyable and challenging (or their parents make them). I vote it's that their parents make them. I think that if it was left completely up to kids they'd rarely if ever play organized sports. Or at least sports organized by someone else. Most of the fun we had when we were kids was in playing our own games where we made up our own rules. If memory serves the rules were usually pretty fair too. Most kids do have a good sense of right and wrong.

posted by commander cody at 01:40 PM on August 11

How bout this, Team A won a game that Team B was playing in and walking a hitter is a perfectly acceptable strategy in baseball. It doesn’t take much coaching to win a game by 8 runs but in a one run game coaching is often the difference. Explain to the kids that coach A took a chance that paid off. Team B played well and kept the game close. They are 10 years old and will get another chance.

posted by rollfastbyu at 01:45 PM on August 11

I think both sides are in the wrong ... adults fighting over a game that has made the kid feel worse than he already did. On the flip side, if that kid gets a hit, they win the game, and next thing you know he's on Good Morning America, ESPN, and whatever news outlet. Walking a batter is part of the game, and consequently, part of the instruction of the game, at every level of play.

posted by jasonspaceman at 02:17 PM on August 11

Yeah, this is absolutely ridiculous. Playing just for fun is great, but winning (after putting in all the work to get to that position) is even better. This is a lesson for these kids, it's part of the reason they even play organized sports. During the season everyone can have a jolly time and fool around, but when the playoffs come it's survival of the fittest. Teams and players who put in the extra effort (yes, even strategizing to not pitch to the team's strongest hitter) deserve the reward. I'm sure all these kids had fun on their run and won't be traumatized for the rest of their lives because of what happened. That is, unless the parents keep milking this drama and the media victimizes everyone.

posted by PublicUrinal at 02:29 PM on August 11

I don't recall an intentional walk ever being issued in little league either, not that I would have thought much of it anyway, but I'm fairly sure it's occured before. It's an issue now because this boy survived cancer. This isn't "little league", this is "pre-little league". This is one step above T-ball. They have requirements that everyone is in the batting lineup, even if they aren't on the field of play. Using the intentional walk at that age is like using the "hidden ball trick" to get a kid out. Sure, it's "part of the game", but at this age it seems a bit too much like coach vs coach instead of kid vs kid, which is what it is supposed to be about. As for banning intentional walks in Little League, how would you ever prove a 10 year-old can throw strikes consistently? Walking a batter is part of the game, and consequently, part of the instruction of the game, at every level of play. The IBB is usually quite obvious (catcher leaving the crouch and stepping away from the plate to catch it). If I was the umpire and I saw the team pulling this maneuver, I'd pay VERY close attention and call the "catcher's balk" (about halfway down the Q&A) if it occurred. I'm sure someone would complain, but hey, it's "part of the game".

posted by grum@work at 02:30 PM on August 11

[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?"] We should be teaching our kids that the real world holds no punches. People complain kids are growing up faster than ever yet I believe we coddle them to excess. And besides, what idiot puts the weakest batter directly after the team's power hitter? Did the Giants ever bat Dave Dravecky in the 5 spot? Only slow pitch softball has the "walk a batter and the next auto walks too" rule, which btw applies only to girls in mixed leagues.

posted by robbx213 at 03:09 PM on August 11

In situations like this there two kinds of people. The first one , upon seeing their best hitter take an IBB strides to the plate with cofidence and says, great now I get to be the hero. The second, upon seeing their best hitter take an IBB, walks reluctantly to the plate knowing the game is lost. What is this man teaching his son. His son has for now ( and I hope forever ) beat cancer. Stop turning the boy into a victom and start instilling some self-confidence In him. As for all this baseball as a metaphor for life horse shit, just teach them not to swing on 3-1, the play is on the lead runner with less then two outs and put on clean underwear.

posted by CB900 at 03:18 PM on August 11

The IBB is usually quite obvious (catcher leaving the crouch and stepping away from the plate to catch it). If I was the umpire and I saw the team pulling this maneuver, I'd pay VERY close attention and call the "catcher's balk" (about halfway down the Q&A) if it occurred. I'm sure someone would complain, but hey, it's "part of the game". Grum, In Little League, not sure about PONY rules, an IBB is even MORE obvious. The coach tells the umpire, "Put him on. We aren't pitching to him."

posted by elovrich at 03:32 PM on August 11

What is forgotten here is that this game wasn't won or lost on just that last few at bats....there were other innings also.

posted by ryemonster at 04:20 PM on August 11

I have to agree with CB900. To often these days we want to pat the kid on the head and say you did your best and that's all that counts. Part of what I learned as a young athlete, that was later reaffirmed in places like Iraq is that sometimes your best isn't good enough and that heroes are not forged in the thrill of victory but in the agony of defeat.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 04:49 PM on August 11

The next day the boy said to his dad, "Dad can we go to the batting cages?" And Dad replied, "Sure. But why?" to which this nine year old responded, "Because next year, I want to be the guy that they walk." It sounds to me that the only person that got a good result out of this game was the kid that got struck out.

posted by seansterps at 05:07 PM on August 11

to paraphrase coach Herm Edwards when he was with the Jets. " You play the game to win, Why do we play? We play the game to WIN.

posted by azdano at 07:38 PM on August 11

In Little League, not sure about PONY rules, an IBB is even MORE obvious. The coach tells the umpire, "Put him on. We aren't pitching to him." Really? Then I guess my cheap little revenge tactic would fall short. Oh well. Lesson learned. to paraphrase coach Herm Edwards when he was with the Jets. " You play the game to win, Why do we play? We play the game to WIN. But Herm Edwards wasn't coaching 9-year old kids in a PONY league, where everyone gets a turn to bat and there are mercy rules in effect. If people can't tell the difference between professional sports and 9-year old kids playing a game... And besides, what idiot puts the weakest batter directly after the team's power hitter? Since every kid gets a turn to bat, I think the idea is to spread the weaker hitters among the stronger ones, so you don't have a quick inning of 1-2-3. After all, it's just a game.

posted by grum@work at 07:46 PM on August 11

The SouthEast regional LL championship game is on now. Florida has just intentionally walked a Georgia player for the third straight time. When I was a kid those league championship games were important. We wanted to win. If you wanted to just play and have fun you grabbed a glove, a bat, a ball, and some electrical tape and headed over to the empty lot. What parents forget is that most leagues are places to learn competiton. Fun is forgotten when parents are "cheering," "coaching," and speaking to the press.

posted by ?! at 09:03 PM on August 11

I played ball for many years competively and only once did the the other team walk the slugger ahead of me. First and third, one out,one down,our last at bat. I was scared and insulted all at the same time. I took the first pitch over the right center field fence for a game winning walk off homer. It was one of the most glorious moments that I ever had in sports. My point? The other team gave that kid a similar, special opportunity to be a hero, to have one of those special moments in sport that he would remember forever. Okay, this time he tried and failed. So what? The opposing coach was simply doing his best, and the young man who struck out should keep on dreaming of another chance to get the game-winning hit and to show up the coach who walked a guy to get to him. When it happens,won't it be sweet when he comes through in the clutch? I hope that the adults around this kid allow him to truly play the sport, succeed or fail.

posted by judgedread at 10:47 PM on August 11

Since every kid gets a turn to bat, I think the idea is to spread the weaker hitters among the stronger ones, so you don't have a quick inning of 1-2-3. After all, it's just a game. Well it used to be just a game grum, until bloodthirsty parents starting reliving their childhood through their kids. Sometimes I think "little league" games ought to consist of the parents out there playing and the kids goading them on from the sidelines. It'd be more entertaining and there wouldn't be nearly as many fights in the stands. One kids says to another "Hey your old man sucks as a shortstop" and the other kid is more likely to say "You're right, let's dump this and go play some Nintendo"

posted by commander cody at 01:28 AM on August 13

Walk the power hitter, pitch to the chump. How it was, is, and ever shall be. Baseball is a game of failure. If the league doesn't like it, they should become one of those pansy-ass leagues that doesn't keep score and every game ends in a tie.

posted by vito90 at 02:23 PM on August 14

Walk the power hitter, pitch to the chump. How it was, is, and ever shall be. Baseball is a game of failure. No, this baseball is supposed to be a game for kids. It's the only time anyone can remember an intentional walk in that league. If the league doesn't like it, they should become one of those pansy-ass leagues that doesn't keep score and every game ends in a tie. You mean the ones where the 9-year old kids get to pitch and hit and run and catch and have fun? Where everyone gets a chance to play (no IBB)? Where kids can be kids and play for fun? Please show me where that league is, cuz I'd love to sign up my (future) kid for it when he's/she's old enough.

posted by grum@work at 06:28 PM on August 14

that doesn't keep score and every game ends in a tie. Those are the ideal rules for the ideal league where everybody would be playing for fun and no one cares who wins or loses. However, that is never the case. Even in the lower levels of Little League where your coaches don't tell you the score, you still keep track. You aren't playing to just have fun, you're playing to win. I'm not sure if anyone thinks different, but losing isn't fun. It leaves a sour taste in your mouth, no matter how well you did. Winning is fun. That's why people play to win. If winning doesn't really matter, and using all the rules isn't acceptable, why are there playoffs and championship games? Why do leagues put teams in situations where if they lose, they're done, season over, no more baseball. Because everyone wants to win. The juggernaut who goes undefeated wants to get a trophy at the end, the underdogs want the thrill of an upset. Leagues where you're playing for fun would be nice, but at the end of the season I want to see the best team rewarded, instead of ignored. People have a problem with an IBB in Little League, saying its unfair and shouldn't be used. Yet those same people are the ones screaming at the umps when calls go against there team, the ones telling their kids after the game how they were robbed and they were the better team. Give me a break. Everyone at the diamond; whether it be the coaches, players, or parents; wants to see a win. Maybe not in T-Ball where everything is cute, but in a championship game the stakes are there. It doesn't matter whether they are nine and ten year olds, or its the World Series. The teams want to win, and they'll play the way the game is supposed to be played to do it. I'm sorry if your kid isn't great/ has difficulties/ whatever. But strategy is part of the game, even in Little League. People just have to live with it.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:04 PM on August 14

but at the end of the season I want to see the best team rewarded, instead of ignored. But do the kids care? Really? I mean, I've been a referee for tiny tyke soccer (age 5-7), and I can tell you that the kids really don't care. Sure they like to score goals and make saves, but in the end they just don't seem to care about the score. And I doubt I've seen a kid under 10 show any real interest in the standings. Playoffs are just extra games they get to play. I talked about this story with my father and he told me that the first year I played hockey (age 8), I was jumping for joy when I got my hockey trophy. It was for participating, as my team finished last that year, but he said I put it up on my book shelf like it was the Stanley Cup.* When kids get older and games and standings might mean more, then I can understand using IBB and other strategies. But at that age (under 10), just let them play. It's probably all they really care about (before their parents butt in). * Before some smart mouth makes a comment along the lines of "That's what all losers say!", I'll point out that when I was around 11 or 12, I definitely started to gave a damn about winning and losing.

posted by grum@work at 09:50 PM on August 14

I agree with the people saying "just let 'em play and have fun" at a very young age, the truly competitive ones will assert themselves as they get a little older. I have always thought that soccer is a great sport for the wee ones (especially under 8 years old), because, everyone gets to play offense and defense, (if that is what you may call the maelstrom of activity that surrounds the ball, ha ha) and everyone gets to touch the ball, and be part of the whole game. Let 'em be kids, after the game, the Happy Meals and ice cream are all that matters anyway!

posted by mjkredliner at 10:01 PM on August 14

Kids want to win more when they get older. I know when I was under 10, I didn't give a dam win, lose or draw. But in my teens for some reason, I always liked the winning- not so much when my team lost. Maybe its because half the kids in their teens dream about being a pro sports star, or all the attention they get when they succeed. Anyway, just let the kids get some air, play some ball, and get off the video games.Thats all that counts. Little League Wins and losses dont matter much after your first girlfriend/ boyfriend.

posted by Kendall at 10:15 PM on August 14

Sounds to me like the adults in this situation could learn a few things from little mister Romney Oaks himself. Especially his dad, If the kid would have said "dad they came after me because I had cancer and can't play well." That would have been one thing. He didn't. He said dad can we go to the cages, so next year I am the one that gets walked. Right there this guy should have realized he had one of the best kids in the world. This kid is no quitter, or whinner. He isn't going to just lay down and take it. The sad thing is by going to the press like this. All his dad did was show him an easy way out of everything that he doesn't succeed in right away. Don't worry Romney if you don't make the football team we'll just say they didn't want you because you're still healing up after that cancer, ect..... Fortunately the kid doesn't seem like that type. Some parents should really take the time and listen to what their kids are really trying to say, like this one. "Please take me to the batting cages", not "please plaster my personal struggle all over the national news media."

posted by jojomfd1 at 02:34 AM on August 15

And I doubt I've seen a kid under 10 show any real interest in the standings. Playoffs are just extra games they get to play. Maybe, but this league was for nine and ten year olds, and while some kids that age may not care about standings, I can assure you that there are also some kids that do.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:28 AM on August 15

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