Rick Reilly: You make the call. Little‐league championship, bottom of the ninth, two outs: do you pitch to the star hitter or walk him so you can face the cancer survivor? One coach chose option B and is being tarred and feathered for it. I’m not saying I’d feel good about it, but if I were in his shoes I’d do the same damn thing. Inherent in sports strategy is the recognition that not all players are of equal skill. Reilly says it’s supposed to be about fun, not strategy, but how can you have the former without the latter?
I’m getting tired of the panty-waste PC crowd who refuses to accept the fact that there are negative elements to living life and until one faces them, one cannot know how to deal or cope with negativity in the “real world” (which may be why you see so many people who think they need therapy …)
If the next batter had been only the second best hitter on the team instead of the worst, I would still have intentionally walked the best hitter, in favor of pitching to the second best.
The fact that this kid had cancer and may well have been the worst hitter doesn’t change the strategy one bit.
I’m franky suprised that the allow intentional walks in this kind of league. They are entirely strategic. No harm, no foul here. But perhaps they shouldn’t allow intentional walks in the future…
The problem with prohibiting intentional walks is that it wouldn’t actually prohibit them — just make them more subtle. There’s no way to determine intent.
I suppose you could increase the penalty for a walk, though. Perhaps the batter should advance two bases instead of one? So if the bases are empty, a walk would send the batter to second, and if the next batter also gets walked, you’d have runners on second and third.
An intentional walk is a fair gambit in the majors, because batting averages are such that a free single is a good middle-ground. But the best little-leaguers can hit triples or home runs four out of five at-bats, so the walk is always a “good foul” for the pitching team. If this were the rule, walking the star hitter would’ve sent the tying run home, so the coach might’ve taken his chances.