Wednesday, July 9, 2008

All stars or no stars

The MLB All-Star game may not always be full of the most deserving players, but at least we still get to watch something. Am I excited to watch Jason Varitek struggle against the best pitchers that the National League has to offer? Well, OK, I sort of am. But most people probably aren't.

I wonder how the "snubs" feel. Do you think Jermaine Dye (19 HR, .302 AVG) is bitter about being left off the roster? I wonder how badly - how deeply - his feelings have been hurt?

They should cancel the game. That's what The City of Beachwood, Ohio did.

The city has cancelled their ages 9-12 Little League All-Star game in an effort to prevent bruised self esteem among the city's youngsters. Said the founder of the National Alliance for Youth Sports, Fred Engh:
"There's nothing like sticking a dagger into a youngster's self-esteem the first season he plays the sport by letting him know that he's not good enough or considered worthy to be part of this elite group of teammates. That's not the message we want to send to children who are already less active and more obese than any previous generation in history."

I can't help but wonder why, exactly, parents are now so afraid to teach the value of competition to their children. Doesn't the allure of making an All-Star squad give those first year players motivation to practice and improve? And what message, exactly, do we want to send to these "less active" and "more obese" children? That it's OK? That life will always be fair and equal?

Guess what, kids: It's not.

How far should the hand-holding go? Should teachers give all kids an "A" on every paper and test throughout their schooling? Should every girl say yes to every guy who asks her to prom? Should every college open its doors to every below average student who knows how to fill out the application?

According to The City of Beachwood, the answer is an obvious yes. But you know what I think? Kids aren't stupid, and they do realize - especially by age 12 - that some of their teammates are better than they are. They're aware that when they can't hit a fast ball, a change up, or even a rainbow out of a pitching machine, that they're likely not All-Star material.

And therein lies a perfectly fine lesson to learn in life: part of growing up is learning to deal with failure. Being left off a meaningless - in the grand scheme of things - All-Star team is hardly the last time a kid will experience it.

So I'm sorry, Jermaine Dye, but the fans and players don't consider you worthy to be part of the elite group of All-Stars heading to the Bronx in less than a week.

No hard feelings, though. It's life.

In other Bad Baseball news from Wednesday night...
The Red Sox scored 18 runs on 23 hits against the Twins. Tough to place blame on any one pitcher; starter Livan Hernandez allowed six runs in 4.1 innings, Boof Bonser allowed four in 1.2, Craig Breslow gave up two runs while recording just one out, Brian Bass allowed five in 1.1 innings, and Dennys Reyes gave up one, also recording only an out . . . The Indians lost to the Tigers when Jensen Lewis allowed a walk off homer to Miguel Cabrera . . . The Rangers scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Angels. Francisco Rodriguez blew the save . . . and finally, A's starter Joe Blanton lost his 12th game of the year to the Mariners. He allowed six runs on nine hits in his six innings of work.

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