Lawyers have been called in to resolve a fight brewing over a Little League call in New Haven, Connecticut. Nine-year-old pitcher Jericho Scott has been dropped from his team on Liga Juvenil De Baseball De New Haven (Youth Baseball League of New Haven). However, Scott was cut because he was too good, not too bad, to play. Scott’s throws so fast that officials complained that he was scaring the other kids and dominating games. To make matters worse, the league president has been accused of trying to remove Scott to help his own team, which is currently in second.
The League is represented by Peter Noble, who has decried the “disruption” caused by the community and “extended family” of the league.
Noble and others rushed into the field after Coach Wilfred Vidro refused an order by league officials to replace Scott, who is so good that he doesn’t give players any real chance to compete.
The parents are speaking with Attorney John Williams to take their son’s (and his team’s) objections to court. Noble insists that such litigation creates an “unhealthy environment.” Bite your tongue, Mr. Noble. I have said for years that every little league team should have a coach, assistant coach, and designated litigator.
Coach Vidro is accusing the league officials of intervening because of their interest in another team — that happens to be in second. Say it ain’t so Jericho. Vidro says that they are really just trying to help the team sponsored by Carlito’s barber shop which is owned by league president Reynaldo Reyes.
As the attorneys suit up, it will be interesting to see if they add a safety rationale for the removal of Scott. Little league baseball continues to be plagued by serious injuries, including injuries linked to the speed of ball off metal bats, here. Yet, the most likely defense is a simple muscle play: the league reserves the right to kick off players and coaches in its discretion and the courts have no cause or jurisdiction to intervene. Many judges would be leery of a “floodgate” problem in refereeing such decisions as the placement of individual players on a little league team. Moreover, the coach is accused of not rotating Scott (a common complaint on little league). As a little league parent, I can attest to the fact that this is a sore spot between coaches. In the McLean league, players (particularly pitchers) can only pitch for a couple of innings. Technically, all of the players are supposed to be rotated in AA. The rotation rule would seem to eliminate the problem here.
With the lawyers heading to court, it is becoming a legal version of the biblical fight over Jericho. Indeed, it brings to mind Joshua’s curse after the Siege of Jericho:
“And Joshua charged the people with an oath at that time, saying: ‘Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up . . . even Jericho; with the loss of his first-born shall he lay the foundation thereof, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it'”. (Joshua 6:26).
Ok, I admit I could not find a biblical reference for Carlito’s Barber Shop.
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