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Double-amputee pitcher cut from high school team

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 10:58 am
Is this wrong? Many see this as discrimination. Many see him as a symbol of perseverance fro overcoming a physical disability and excelling.

This boy’s legs were amputated at birth, but he has become an overachiever. In him mind he is not disabled. He has two prosthetics and has been playing baseball sine 8. He has an 80 mile per hour fastball. His dream has been to play on the high school team.

The coach, however, has cut him. The coach states that it is harder for him to field a bunt. And according to many high school coaches, a pitcher who can’t field a bunt can’t play.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/disabled-pitcher-anthony-burruto-cut-high-school-baseball/story?id=12891530&page=1
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 11:14 am
@Linkat,
Wow. That's a toughie.

I think I could make a pretty good argument for reasonable accommodations being made but the fact is he was given the same opportunity to try out for the team that everyone else was given.

sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 11:21 am
@Linkat,
Your link didn't work for me so I Googled it, and got varying accounts of what I see to be the central issue. Can the kid do it but the coach was worried that he might have problems with bunts? Or can he just not do it, and demonstrated that?

If it's the former, then I think it's a form of discrimination (the coach being uncomfortable with the disability and deciding the kid couldn't compete, irregardless of evidence). If it's the latter, then I think the coach is justified.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 11:34 am
I don't think it's necessarily discrimination - we're so ready to use that word and that bugs me. Maybe at earlier levels of baseball it didn't matter but apparently it does now. Fact is, if he can't perform all the requirements, he's out. Same as in a job - what's the difference?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 11:40 am
Link works fine for me.

When Jim Abbott, a pitcher with only one hand, made it to the major leagues, the first batter he faced bunted on him. He fielded it cleanly and threw the guy out. Nevertheless, as his Wikipedia entry states: "At all levels, teams tried to exploit his fielding disadvantage by repeatedly bunting to him; this tactic was never effective." I imagine they did the same thing to One Arm Daily too.

It just goes with the territory. If a pitcher can't field bunts, batters will bunt on him all day long. These days, a pitcher may not need to be able to hit, but he has to be able to field. And if he can't field his position, then I'm not surprised he can't make the team.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 11:57 am
@sozobe,
I was assuming he couldn't field the bunts as he tried out similar to the other students. He was also on the initial team until the final cuts which leads me to believe that he had the opportunity to show how he could field bunts.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:02 pm
@boomerang,
Yeah I agree it is a toughie. On the one hand, his amputee situation would make him an inspiration for the team as in anyone who whines about practicing or being lazy would have to shut their mouth up.

On the other hand, if he can't field adaquetely is it fair for those other players who also have been working hard since they were 8 and also have the dream of making the team?

I also think, if this kid really does not want to be treated as some one with a disability, would he really want them to make a spot even if he wasn't as good as another player?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:02 pm
@Linkat,
The link works for me now! Didn't for a bit.

Anyway, from that link:

Quote:
Because of Burruto's prosthetics, Dr. Phillips High School varsity team coach Mike Bradley told the Orlando Sentinel that it's harder for him to field a bunt.


(Emphasis mine). "Harder" isn't "can't." So I do wonder a little about that.

But if "harder" means "he was significantly worse than other players who tried out, even balancing out how well he pitches," then that's fine.

I don't know if this kid would be happy with being given something he didn't actually earn. He was offered the team manager position and turned it down. He seems to want to be there on merit.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:23 pm
@sozobe,
I'd imagine so much of trying out is to the coach's opinion so it really can make this difficult to determine - unless of course there is an obvious significant difference you can see in ability. The one thing is there is no mention of how fast the other players can pitch....can they pitch just as fast?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:29 pm
@Linkat,
Right, that's part of what I was getting at with "balancing out." If he has a "harder" time fielding bunts, but he can, and then another guy can field bunts just fine but has a 65 mph fastball (instead of this guy's 85)....
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:33 pm
@sozobe,
Here is another article where it says "Anthony can't field bunts..." and they talk about how other teams would take advantage of his inability to jump off the mound quickly.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/os-diaz-amputee-pitcher-dr-phillips-20110209,0,4537068.column

It is difficult to determine unless it was obvious one way or the other. If they had an incredible 3rd baseman that could field the bunts, and Anthony was that great of a pitcher, it may be a wise choice, but if what the coach is saying is accurate, then you have to respect his opinion. I wonder what sort of coach he is?
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 03:48 pm
@Linkat,
What if they bunted towards 1st? Or between two bases? What if a guy on second stole third because the third baseman was running after the bunt?

It's just life. I never made the basketball team because I was 5'. I wouldn't call that discrimination - just that I wouldn't have been very effective at guarding /blocking, etc.

Maybe he should try his had at another sport since he's not likely to get too far in this one.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 03:52 pm
@Mame,
He has prosthetic legs and seems to be able to get around just fine -- I'm not totally sure what the bunting problem is, just speed?

joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 04:36 pm
@sozobe,
It's a combination of running to the ball, bending over to pick it up, and throwing to first. Here's how to do it:

sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 04:43 pm
@joefromchicago,
Right, I know what fielding is but the guy we're talking about looks pretty capable in that video, so I'm not quite sure why he can't do what is necessary (if he can't do what is necessary). I was thinking that the issue might be that he can't do it fast enough.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 04:59 pm
@sozobe,
What Sozobe said.

In addition, let's keep in mind that this is only baseball. The only ability this kid really needs is to chew tobacco and spit it on the field. I don't see how his amputations would get in the way of that.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 05:20 pm
@Mame,
I'd agree, but I am far from an expert on what is considered required fielding from a pitcher. I don't have a problem with cutting him, if what the coach says is true - in other words that other players are better. Just remember that if he were not cut (and many others were), another player better player would have been cut (of course assuming the coach is being biased).

With a daughter that is very competitive in sports, I would be really upset if she were cut from a team, because a lesser player had a disability and they opted to give the disabled individual the position simply because of having the disability rather than having earned it.

Although I applaud anyone with such a disability playing competitively, it is competitive - not everyone makes the team. They cannot have the other teams not bunt when he is pitching.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 05:46 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Right, I know what fielding is but the guy we're talking about looks pretty capable in that video, so I'm not quite sure why he can't do what is necessary (if he can't do what is necessary). I was thinking that the issue might be that he can't do it fast enough.

I agree that's probably the issue. Based on Joe's demonstration video, I think this is an issue of leg speed and coordination. What the coach needed to decide about this issue wasn't if the student could pitch and field bunts at all. Rather, it was if he could do it better than the best aspiring pitcher who didn't make the team. Since the coach had vetted the student for several days before sending him home, I presume he had empirical evidence for believing the answer was "no".
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 06:12 pm
@Thomas,
Right, that's very possible. And even most likely.

But I'm not certain of that, from the information given. I know, from my own experience and from working with many other people with many other disabilities, that there are people who decide that disabled people can't do what they actually can do. It just doesn't seem possible, so they discount it -- or maybe there's just that intangible ick factor.

I'm not accusing this coach of that, because there isn't enough information. But it's also very possible from what limited evidence I've seen thus far.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 06:13 pm
i'm gonna wait for the feel good movie, to see how this plays out
0 Replies
 
 

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