9-year-old boy told he's too good to pitch


9-year-old boy told he’s too good to pitch

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho’s team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho’s coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.
But Vidro says he didn’t quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league’s field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.

“He’s never hurt any one,” Vidro said. “He’s on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?”

Good question, the whole thing sounds idiotic to me. I always wonder with these controversies what lessons the kids are learning from the asinine ways their parents act.

Absurd. The league’s rules very strictly limit how many pitches any one pitcher can throw, and how often he can pitch. It’s not like he can pitch every inning of every game.

If his control is as good as it is claimed (and the league’s lawyer stipulated it is), then safety concerns are mitigated.

So what’s left? Self esteem? Perhaps six or maybe nine players will have to face him every other game or so. And they may not get many hits off him. So what?

Having said that, I think that no matter his skill in pitching, kids that age should NOT be position specialists at all, and especially not in recreational programs. He should be playing many positions.


That part of the policy is actually pretty good. I was a pitcher in college, and also taught pitching.

Overhand pitching wreaks havoc on your shoulder, tendons, and muscles. There is a reason why there is a ROTATION for major league pitchers, and college/minor league ones too. There is also a reason for limiting pitch counts.

Young children’s muscles and tendons are still developing, and the constant micro tears and stresses of over pitching will cause quite alot of damage. 120 pitches should be the absolute limit in a 7 day period. More than that will cause extreme fatigue on the arm tendons, which will require other combinations of mucles/tendons to do the work; they basically have to compensate and work harder. THIS leads to damage.

However, PROPER spacing of pitching, reasonable pitch counts, and sensible maintenance of the arm will actually lead to enhanced control, better velocity, and cause no damage. Good mechanics are THE KEY to healthy pitching though. 50 pitches with terrible mechanics will cause FAR more damage than 120 pitches with good mechanics.

However, our culture is so hyped about possible pedophilia and male sexual predators, that most older pitchers I know, including myself, wont ever dare to walk up to a younger boy to give him some pointers about CORRECT mechanics. I see one across the street all the time, who has AWFUL mechanics, and probably be unable to brush his teeth by the time he is 30.

The main issue here is that some people feel this kid is “too good” and therefore should not be allowed to compete. Obviously, if he is “that good”, then after this league is OVER, he should then be moved into a league that challenges him, and not one where the talent difference is so great. But, until that time, the parents of the other kids should get over their own personal issues and let the kid play.

Perhaps they might have an issue if it was an entire team of ringers playing in a lesser league just to win trophies, but a single player?

What message are they trying to send to their own kids, that is better to be a quitter than compete and improve?

he should be allowed to play in the age approiate league, and not forced up because of whiny wimpy parents and coaches coddling kids. this whole story is sour grapes.

if it isnt then why did the league wait until they were 8-0 to ban him. is the best batter benched? no the defending champions wanted the good kid. he diddnt play for them. a championship team sponsored by the employer of league officials??? no wonder they said the kid had to go.


Yes… this inheres to my point. The “absurdity” that I was pointing out was not the strict limit on how often he can pitch; it was forbidding him to pitch at all!


My son played baseball from the time he was 7 years old, and it earned him a college education.

Even at 9 years old he would have been chomping at the bit to get in the box and face this kid, just to find out how good he really is.

He would have been one of the most dissappointed if the also rans suddenly made up rule he had to go.

Having said that, in the league my son grew up in, it was possible for the 11-12 year old league to “call up” boys from the 9-10 year old league to fill spaces if any openings appeared on the roster during the season. Those guidelines had been in place for years.

At tryouts, if a “minor” league player thought he was good enough to play with the 11 and 12s, he was welcome to tryout for a spot on the roster.

My son and I decided this was the best course of action for him when he was 10, because we felt like it was the best way to get better.

Sometimes its better to be the little fish in the big barrel then the vice versa.

My personal thoughts are he would be better off pairing off against the older boys. He can’t improve facing boys who have no chance of even whiffing him. The decision to “play” up should be made by the player, parents, and his immediate coaches, not a mob of angry parents and league directors who probably have sons on the other team who can’t hit this kid if you gave him a ironing board to use for a bat.

I think many here are jumping to conclusions.

Here’s another article on the subject:


The organizing body that doesn’t want him pitching anymore is not the “Satanic Summer League”; it’s a group of volunteer parents who clumsily tried to clean up a gaping inequity between Scott – a midseason import to his team, by the way – and most of the other kids in what is clearly a developmental, low-wattage, newbie-strewn kid baseball enterprise.

…Scott is good enough to pitch in a much better league – and that league, the Dom Aitro Pony League for all-star teams, is already available to him.

In fact, Scott plays in it when he isn’t suiting up for the Will Power Fitness team in the LJB.

But in that other league, Jericho doesn’t dominate.

(emphasis mine)

So that fact is that he already was playing in Pony ball where he was a middle of the road pitcher. In an instructional league, he is simply too dominant. Having coached in instructional and competitive leagues, I know when a kid doesn’t belong in instructional baseball. This kid does not belong in an instructional league.

Also, according to this article, Jericho’s mom refused to have him move up when the league requested it. Why would she do that? Because playing against weaker, less-skilled, kids boosted his ego? Or was it to boost hers?

So, yes, let him play. But in a league that’s appropriate for his skill level.

Now, in light of the article I posted, anyone care to debate why a potential all-star should be pitching against kids in an instructional league??

Won’t get any argument from me.

I think you have made the definitive points (and I should have read the article better). It appears that there was already an assessment of his talent prior to him joining the team in question. He should have stayed at a level comensurate with his ability and not play down to be a ringer and win trophies.

My son joined a YMCA basketball league. He was put on a team made up of a bunch of newbies. Other teams in this league were full of newbies as well…except one. It was a loaded select team that beat us by 50 points. We had kids that could not get the ball past half court (since they couldn’t guard us in the backcourt), and simply stole the ball and took it in for a layup. I can only suspect that they did it because they wanted to win a trophy, because they did not have any competition. The coach certainly did not do his kids any favors, nor was this “instructional” for the other teams (except to instruct us on what class of person he was)

Not to derail the thread, but when you say 120 pitches per week, does that include side work?

I ask because I had my son throw about 30 pitches a few times a week between games during the season. The league allowed 60 pitches per week and 40 max per game. Now we play catch off and on because he’s been swimming and will soon be playing CYO basketball (I am a strong believer in multiple sports at least until high school.) My son is 8 by the way, 9 by next spring.

I am curious to “hear” your thoughts.

Well that is really dumb. I don’t know anything about baseball but I assume the kid has probably worked really hard for what he’s achieved. To be punished for being too good that’s insane.

What really struck me was the following quote:
When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Now when I’m in whatever sport I’m playing I was always taught to play hard, play your best, play graciously no matter the skill level of your opponents. I mean as tacky as it sounds losing helps improve whatever your doing way more than winning. A bad move by the coach I think.

Apparently you didn’t read the article I posted. I re-posted it below for you.


This story is not about one kid not being allowed to pitch. This story, IMO, is really about a coach who is so focused on winning that he added a couple of all-stars to his instructional league team, which was already undefeated halfway through the season. Why? Just so they could win? They already were. Maybe it was to drive up the score or put their chances of the championship beyond doubt. What does that say to the kids who were already on the team? That they’re not good enough to win it all without these all-stars? That’s some lesson to be teaching these kids.

It’s also about parents who want see their kid dominate after playing all season in a league where he was just an average player. Talk about teaching your kid all the wrong lessons.

As for “losing helps improve more than winning”, tell me how getting dominated by a team with all-stars helps a bunch of kids who are new to the game. I’ll tell you how, it discourages them, it tells them they’ll never be as good as the all-stars and should just give up. There may be a handful of them who might be more determined to try harder, but the majority of them will lose interest. On top of that, tell me how dominating a bunch of new comers to the game helps you be a better player or teaches you good sportsmanship.

When a coach’s motivation is to dominate the opposition, the spirit of fairness and good sportsmanship is lost.

Well I apologize if I hit a nerve. You’re right I didn’t read the link, and I should of. For that I apologize… again.

It goes without saying both the coach and the parents did a very unscrupulous thing. Enough has been said on the subject without me repeating it.

That being said, and since you did ask me to tell you how, being dominated isn’t always a negative. Down around my corner of the world some of the best sportsmen in their chosen field seem to have been dominated in the beginning. It inspired them and drove them to work harder to the point where the met the guy/team who dominated them they were their equal or better. After all unless there are exactly two baseball teams in the league that will hardly be their only experience.

But I guess I do see where you come from. For how many of the people I just described how many people get discouraged as you said. I don’t disagree that stacking your team is wrong and except for a select few I suppose it benefits no one.
So peace, I suppose your right.

Wow. What a lesson to teach kids. If you are facing a challenge, just pack your bags and quit. To be honest, 40 mph is high end for that age bracket, but not over the top. Not bragging in the least (trust me here, in fact I feel awkward mentioning it) but when I was 8 we were playing little league against a guy who probably threw around the same speed. I hadn’t hit a lick all year but made contact twice off the guy. One was a put-out but the other a base hit. 25 years later my dad still mentions it to me every now and then, as a “you can do it, remember that kid in little league you thought you couldn’t get a hit off him then” type piece of advice. What a shame that those kids were denied that life lesson.

This story is not about one kid not being allowed to pitch. This story, IMO, is really about a coach who is so focused on winning that he added a couple of all-stars to his instructional league team, which was already undefeated halfway through the season. Why? Just so they could win? They already were. Maybe it was to drive up the score or put their chances of the championship beyond doubt.

Many years ago, I coached a soccer team for a small town association. We made the state tournament, in a lower division for small communities.

One coach finagled it so that he got his large-association team into our division to dodge another really good team from a city in his division. We didn’t beat him, but our next-town rivals did. Have to say I enjoyed it a bit.

At the point where coaches do things like that, it’s no longer about the kids.

So putting an all-star on an instructional league team is OK to you?

I’ve been coaching baseball for a number of years now. I’ve coached at the instructional level and at a more competitive level. At the instructional level, the importance should be on having fun while learning to play the game. Once a foundation of love for the game is established, you take what the kids have learned and you hone their skills so that they improve. You also make the game more competitive. There was nothing this kid was going to learn in an instructional league, except how to dominate kids who are obviously less skilled than he is.

Not bragging here either, OK maybe a little. My son is 8 years old, and this past he season topped out at around 38 MPH and consistently threw above 35. Pretty fast, but there was a kid on his team that threw 42 MPH (this was an 8 YO only league.) But because they were playing in a more competitive league, they gave up a number of hits. Did this bother me? Not one bit. If they gave up hits, it meant they were getting the ball over the plate. I would never dream of putting my kid in an instructional league. One reason is that it wouldn’t be fair to the other kids, but primarily because he wouldn’t be learning anything new or improving his skills.

Kids in leagues above instructional understand that hitting is about timing. If you can time the pitch, you can hit the ball. Especially at this level, because no one should be throwing curve balls, sliders, etc. even if they can. I seriously doubt any kid in an instructional league has learned to time his swing to catch up to a pitch that fast.

No kid at the instructional level is going have any fun or develop a love for the game if every time they come to bat they know they’re not going to get a hit. Granted, this probably wouldn’t happen at every game, but I’m sure those game where it did happen, the kids were not having fun.

I completely agree.

Are there anything but instructional leagues for 9 year olds? Maybe the coach is a jerk. So what? Let the kids play. If they lose, so what? If they decide they don’t like the game, so what? Take it up with the league if there is something going on with a team in the league. Either way, it’s a horrible lesson to teach your kids to quit, in my opinion.

You must have missed the article I posted. This kid already was playing in an all-star league,


Maybe the coach is a jerk. So what? Let the kids play. If they lose, so what? If they decide they don’t like the game, so what?

I really hope you’re not a coach. This kind of attitude is what’s wrong with youth athletics and is proven by the actions of the coach in that article.

Take it up with the league if there is something going on with a team in the league.

Did you not read the article? This is exactly what they did. That’s why the kid wasn’t allowed to pitch for the rest of the season. Yet the coach decided he was going to pitch no matter what the league said.

Either way, it’s a horrible lesson to teach your kids to quit, in my opinion.

Yet your attitude from above shows that you don’t care whether they quit or not.

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