We all remember the now infamous “Joba Rules”, right? They were limits placed upon the hard throwing right-hander to protect his powerful arm for the future. As we now know this ridiculous practice did more harm than good and helped unravel a very promising career for the Nebraskan Man-child.
In Washington DC the brain trust decided to do a similar protection program with their “Can’t miss” prospect Stephen Strasburg. How’d that work out? Well, it has hurt the young hurler. It was thought he’d be lights out the way Kershaw is…but he’s not. He is a good pitcher…not a great pitcher. The over babying of Joba Chamberlain, Stephen Strasburg and many others directly cause their arms to suffer. Period.
Can we name one over protected pitcher that has benefited from being treated like the living room at your parent’s house? You know the “nice” room for special occasions and important company. I can’t.
Anyone who has ever worked out knows that muscles build through proper diet, PROPER rest and exercise. If you are on a strenuous workout regiment and then stop abruptly or scale back in an extreme way you are MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER AN INJURY WHEN YOU BEGIN WORKING OUT AGAIN! In plain English, LET THE YOUNGSTERS THROW! Let them eat innings and develop their arsenals. Whoever came up with this way of developing pitchers should be banned from the game.
Here is a tip. If you have an 11 year old that really loves the game and dreams of being a Big Leaguer someday, DON’T TEACH HIM TO THROW BREAKING STUFF! Let the child (and that’s exactly what he is) learn the game, throw the ball to the glove and play every position on the field. More and more we have parents and coaches telling their young athletes to toss a curveball or change up. NO. NO. NO! They aren’t built for that yet. They need to grow and strengthen. By the time they reach High School they have already begun to damage their elbows and are more likely future candidates for Tommy John. Why not do it “Old School”? Allow the kid to play the game, learn the ropes and focus on the enjoyment of competition. They will learn the slider and spilt when their bodies are mature enough to handle the strain.
I wonder if Ron Guidry, Steve Carlton and even Greg Maddux sit at home in disgust as the pitching coaches walk to the mound to check in on their Ace in the 4th while the manager calls the pen because the pitch count is nearing 55?
Scouts, GMs and front office types are too smart for their own good. A weapon unused becomes a useless weapon pure and simple. Recently there have been rumblings of reversing the position on Luis Severino, and possibly easing back his workload.
Don't you dare, Cashman! If you ruin the best arm from the system in decades you’ll be chased from the Tri-State Area with clubs and torches. Let the young man rumble!
The truth is this whole thing goes deeper than MLB. It is a sad state of affairs in the country. We protect kids from the possibility of losing. We fill their heads with promises and give them a trophy for just showing up. Then when they actually have to go it alone failure upends their entire world. They don’t know how to deal with it and therefore they call it a day. Stop it and quick. We learn for try and fail. We learn to try again. We improve for the next game, match or at bat. A hard fought victory (or loss) is worth 100 times more than a meaningless participation ribbon.
There was a quote written on the wall in the weight room at my high school. It is something I’ll never forget because it cut to the quick of the game of life. No matter what you do. It read:
“An athlete works hard to create the chance of winning. A champion works harder to eliminate the chance of losing.” – Pat McPhillipsLet the youngsters work. Let them bring what they have to the field and give it all they got. Allow them to learn from failures and strive for victories. Holding them back or overly protecting them will rob them of valuable lessons and possibly outstanding careers in whatever they chose to do with the talents they were blessed with.
To quote a Scotsman portraying and Irishman, “Here endth the lesson.”
** Saw this band live recently and absolutely love them. What’s the plan for tomorrow? Who cares PLAY ALL OUT TODAY! Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
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