Youth baseball: Develop or profit? Toxicity from innocence

CLAREMONT, CA - 1975: Robert Mezy, a Little League Baseball coach (left), chastises a player for making an error in this 1975 Claremont, California, (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
CLAREMONT, CA - 1975: Robert Mezy, a Little League Baseball coach (left), chastises a player for making an error in this 1975 Claremont, California, (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 27: Pitcher Mo’ne Davis #3 of Philadelphia Little League baseball team Taney Dragons (2nd L), Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (C) and Mo’ne’s mother Lakeisha McLean (2nd R) attends a parade celebrating the team’s championship on August 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images).
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 27: Pitcher Mo’ne Davis #3 of Philadelphia Little League baseball team Taney Dragons (2nd L), Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (C) and Mo’ne’s mother Lakeisha McLean (2nd R) attends a parade celebrating the team’s championship on August 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images). /

This falls right in line with what Andy Lindahl responded within a separate interview to the same question. He contends that it all runs back to what we will call “The Unhappy Trilogy.”

  • Over-the-top invested parents
  • Mis-/ill-informed coaching
  • Money

They both agreed that the quickest way was removing the money, but how do you knock this deep-rooted structure over when there are so many wallets invested? There is no easy answer. As was stated, this is a $15 billion a year business, meaning the stakes are unfathomably high so the most impactful will be changing the other two.

Lindahl also expanded on how this culture can be destructive even when we don’t mean it to be. He told the story of the reason he chose lacrosse over baseball.

Baseball was his father’s favorite sport, and when he started playing, his father became so overbearing he burned out and went the way of 70% of all youths in today’s game and dropped out of baseball. It broke his father’s heart when Andy told him that he was not going to play baseball and give lacrosse a go.

But the lesson of this story is the way his father reacted, he didn’t explode and try to force young Andy to play a sport he lost his love for no matter how badly he wanted to share the love of the game with his son. Mr. Lindahl went out and bought Andy his first lacrosse stick and made sure to show up to every game he could and support him in every way he could throughout the rest of his athletic career which expanded into college at Metro State of Denver.

This brings up the six most important words we as parents can tell our young athletes: “I love to watch you play.” That’s all it takes to make your child’s day and keep stoking their fire for the game.

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