Over at Deadspin, I’ve got a long feature on Jericho Scott, the 9-year-old baseball player banned for being “too good.” I wanted to explain how and why this became the worst-covered sports story of 2008, but I also wanted to track the kid down—not to interview him, which I never did, but to watch him play. He became my 9-year-old, 58-pound Moby Dick, and, when I finally found him, he was pitching for a spot in the PONY World Series.
Anyway, after almost 3,000 words, you’d think I’d be out of material. But the topic of youth baseball is just that rich. Here’s a few bullet points that didn’t make the cut.
- First, some closure: CBC went 2-1 at the PONY World Series—very respectable, especially when you consider that, after all the rain outs, they finished up in New Haven on Monday afternoon, then boarded a 6 a.m. Tuesday flight out of LaGuardia. Caguas, a team from Puerto Rico, won the whole thing.
- Back to the New Haven tournament. The weekend’s best game actually came in the losers’ bracket—Stratford sent it to extra innings with a bottom-of-the-sixth home run, with CBC ultimately winning 9-8. But the real fun came afterward, as I briefly mention in my piece. I didn’t see who or what instigated it, but two men testosteroned at each other until one took a verbal cheap shot at another, older man in a wheelchair. At this point, everyone began lunging, restraining, or screaming, as was their wont, and a New Haven official made a panicked call to the cops. The whole time this was going on, Mark Gambardella was calmly rechalking the field.
- Most of my game notes (like the one above) focused on parents and coaches—and rightly so. After each game, the kids just climbed trees or played on dirt piles. Still, from the beginning, the CBC players seemed much more tense, tearing up after every negative outcome. Is this related to the fact that CBC coaches retied their players’ shoes for them so they didn’t have to remove their batting gloves? I think so.
- Last week, the New Haven Register ran its own one-year-later story on the Scotts, the first item I’ve found that doesn’t date from the original uproar. The story repeats the errors I describe in my piece and adds a few of its own, starting with a description of Gambardella’s “Little League all-star team.” When I mistakenly said “Little League” in our first interview, Gambardella corrected me: “We’re not Little League—we play real baseball.” The man is a municipal treasure.