When we played Little League, our biggest risk of injury were the long-range dental implications from chewing on our glove. Today, if you walk around just about any city or town in America and look around long enough, you're bound to spot one or two kids with one arm noticeably longer than the other. Those would be the Little League pitchers. Yes, the Little League World Series begins today (sans Harold Reynolds; sad, really). The baseball season, which for most kids began in May, is still grinding along for some, even though school starts in about two weeks. Which also means that some kids have been pitching since May — 30 starts or more, in some cases — which, when you're 12, doesn't make a lot of sense, medically speaking. Even though Little League games are six innings regulation, that's a lot of pressure on growing arms.
Every year there are a bunch of articles on the subject — USA Today has a good one which ran yesterday — and finally, Little League Baseball Inc. seems to be doing something about it. Many leagues will be going to a pitch count next year, so, instead of the current maximum innings limit, there will be an actual maximum number of pitches a kid can throw in any given week. (Who gets to count, we wonder? Some job). It's a good start. But this whole All-Star concept just continues to confuse us (when we think of it at all, which is almost never). Why must children be televised playing baseball in late August again? Do we really need to know that Jason's favorite food is Pepperoni Hot Pockets?
We are still waiting for that one kid who's way too big and angry looking listing his favorite player as "Brett Myers."
How Much Is Too Much For Young Arms? [USA Today]
Imbecile In The Outfield [The Black Table]