Mizzo, I couldn’t help but think of your son when I heard Jericho Scott’s story.
In my old neighborhood, sandlot baseball in the summer was big. We found a parking lot painted out some bases and around 4:30-5:00 when all of the cars left it was on. We all thought we were good in some way with the glove or the stick, we would have All Star games (I was always Tony Gwynn) and we’d go at it til it got dark or too many guys left for dinner. That routine was carried out until the weather was cool enough to pull out the football.
Robert Nelson was the biggest of the bunch and was always the first pick, Big Rob was slow afoot but he made up for it at the plate. There was one gate in the outfield that was a home run marker and another gate 30 ft. beyond that. Well at 13 Rob was putting the ball over both gates. Not much fun for the guy that had to climb two gates and dodge a underfed Doberman in the process.
Nevertheless, Rob was a guy no one wanted to play against, but at some point we all had to bear the burden. It’s like the old saying, “Somedays you get the bear, somedays the bear gets you.” the bottom line was that we all had to face the bear. Backing out was not an option.
Meet Jericho Scott, the Robert Nelson of the New Haven Youth Baseball League in New Haven, CT. Nine year old Jericho is a pitching prodigy, simple as that. His extraordinary gift comes in the form of 40 mph controlled heat that has dominated the New Haven Youth Baseball League to the point where league officials have deemed Scott “TOO GOOD” for the league.
You read correctly, too good.
Because of this unwritten rule Jericho has been removed as pitcher.
So now Scott has been forced off of the mound and if he pitches again his team will be diabanded and redistributed. Listening to the story, it sounds like an accute case of sour grapes. The defending league champ wanted Scott on their team but he chose to stay with his own team. That’s when the whining started.
My advice: If you’re scared, get a dog.
Jericho’s mother (who should’ve gone Lou Pinella on someone) echoes what every parent would want for their child, “I’d rather he’d be on a baseball field than idolizing someone standing on a corner.” To be honest those hot afternoons on that blacktop kept my parents sanity and me out of trouble.
The greatest sin is Jericho Scott beginning to curse his gift, he was quoted as saying that he, “Feels sad, that its my fault no one is playing.”
If people want to know why there is a lack of Blacks in Major League Baseball (8.6%) look no further than this story. This is where it all begins, this is where baseball loses the inner city and Black households. It’s not the main reason, but it’s at this age where the love of this great sport gets crushed under the premise of “Everyone is a Winner.”
Here is the harsh reality of sports and life; there’s a winner and there’s a loser. What side of the coin you land on depends on you approach and dedication to your craft.
The league that Scott plays in is a developmental league that only wants to “promote the sport.”
The only characteristic being promoted is cowardice, how to back down from adversity, be it in the form of a pitcher on the mound or a test in class. It gives the players the impression that life runs along a smooth road with no bumps or curves. It’s this mentality that challenges are met by cheating, unsportsmanlike play and much worse if it carries into adulthood, because the individual wilts in the heat of a challenge. There is no benefit in it.
Pressure breaks pipes.
Jericho Scott is playing in his age group, he has great control and he’s good (Peep the form in the opening photo-that’s Lil’ Oil Can Boyd!). Why should he suffer. I was always told that just when you think you’re working hard, there is someone, somewhere working that much harder. Jericho Scott is the that much harder we’ve been warned about.
I hope business has picked up at the batting cages in New Haven.