View single post by lobo316
 Posted: Sun Feb 15th, 2015 07:23 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 14th, 2007
Location: Raptorville
Posts: 44641
Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was among those who took notice when Jackie Robinson West, a Little League team based in Illinois, was stripped this week of its 2014 United States championship for recruiting violations.

After the league handed down its controversial decision, McCutchen opined on The Players' Tribune that the incident helped illustrate how income inequality in the United States increasingly prevents kids from low-income families from reaching their baseball dreams.

Raised in a household of modest means, McCutchen refused to vilify Jackie Robinson West for recruiting players from "outside the geographical area", and instead empathized with how difficult it is for certain children to receive the exposure necessary to succeed in professional baseball.

Baseball used to be the sport where all you needed was a stick and a ball. It used to be a way out for poor kids. Now it’s a sport that increasingly freezes out kids whose parents don’t have the income to finance the travel baseball circuit.

... nobody outside of (my hometown) knew who I was, even when I was 12 years old, the same age as those kids playing in the Little League World Series. When you’re a kid from a low-income family who has talent, how do you get recognized? Now, you have to pay thousands of dollars for the chance to be noticed in showcase tournaments in big cities.

For all the backlash around the Jackie Robinson West team “cheating,” most people are ignoring the truth of how these 12-year-old kids make it out of their towns and onto a national stage.