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September 14, 2008

Youngsters in New Haven, Conn., are getting the wrong messages from their city's Youth Baseball League. They are being taught that excelling is a bad thing. They also are being told that if they find themselves in competition with someone possessing greater skill, the system will step in to protect them.

That isn't how life works.

Organized sports are viewed by many as teaching young people important lessons about life both on and off the playing field. One of those lessons ought to be that working hard and achieving excellence pays off. Another ought to be that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you're going to lose.

But officials of New Haven's Youth Baseball League apparently don't see it that way. According to The Associated Press, they have told Jericho Scott, 9, that he can't play in the league anymore.

Scott apparently is quite a good pitcher. According to the AP, his fast ball hits 40 mph. Youth Baseball League officials think he throws too hard for the other youngsters.

Have his pitches hit other players? No. They just don't like to face him.

Scott's teammates and coaches are sticking by him. That prompted league officials to order that the team be disbanded and its players distributed to other teams. Team members have refused to take that option.

That has taught youngsters in the league another lesson: If life doesn't work out the way you want it to, hire a lawyer. One planned to meet with Scott's parents this week, and the league's attorney already has been involved.

Good grief. Sports builds character? Sometimes we wonder.

Surely some better means of dealing with Scott's "problem" could have been found. As matters stand, we don't think any of the children involved are taking good lessons away from their exposure to youth baseball.

We are confident area adults in charge of youth sports are more creative- with more common sense - in resolving such dilemmas.



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