What did we do wrong?

i just came from a conference with a high school headmaster and his athletic director regarding whether or not the school was negligent (and thus should be liable for damages resulting from injuries that were caused as a result of the negligence). This situation is as follows:

6-8th grade school team… starting pitcher at 85 pitches after 4 innings. At the beginning of the 4th the starting pitcher complains of elbow pain in the dugout. The coaches are aware.

Also… the starter, who was throwing 70mph at the beginning of the game, was now at 61 max. He began giving up runs (although he was getting hit hard early, the balls were right at outfielders who made the plays).

At the top of the 5th… the coach brings on a relief pitcher. Flame thrower. (14 yr old lean, lanky lefty who throws up to 84MPH). No warm up before coming into the game though. In fact, throughout the 4th there were no pitchers being warmed up.

The reliever begins taking warm ups on the mound. But 2 pitches into it, the coach comes out to the mound bringing the original starter with him. The reliever is sent to the bench.

The starter gives up a home run after a somewhat labored 8 pitch first batter in the 5th.

Coach brings back the same reliever…

various degrees of all hell happen after this.

Without telling you gurus yet what happened… my question here is what, if any, coaching errors occurred to this point and what would you reasonably expect would be the result(s)???


Hi, palmbeach.
That coach who took his starter out of the game, only to bring him back in after the reliever threw just two pitches, was in flagrant violation of the rules. Once a player, whatever position, is removed from the game, that’s it for him—he could sit on the bench and watch, or he could leave, but he cannot be reinserted into the game. That coach really shot himself in the foot and needs to be called on the carpet, raked over the coals, perhaps even suspended. This is the crux of the whole thing—a rules violation—and it doesn’t make any difference whatever the level of the game.
And the athletic director should be more careful about coach selection. When you have a coach who doesn’t know his elbow from third base, there’s trouble ahead. As for the kid who complained of elbow pain after throwing nearly 90 pitches in four innings, he should have been shut down and sent to the doctor instead of being made to do what Don Newcombe had done in the opening game of the 1949 World Series—pitch until his arm threatened to fall off, when mercifully Tommy Henrich put an end to the proceedings with a walkoff home run. :shock:

The kid has elbow pain and has too many pitches for 4 innings. Take him out and let someone else throw. On this alone I would say he was done for the day.

The kid has elbow pain and has too many pitches for 4 innings, and his velocity is down 13%, and he was getting rocked.

I’m sure there’s a story on why the flame thrower didn’t start the game. Maybe he threw a 100 pitches the game before and was a little tired; maybe something else. Maybe the kid couldn’t hit the barn side with a ball, and the coach feared he would hit every batter. :roll: The story wasn’t told, but I’m sure the coach had good reasons of not wanting to use him that day. Continueing our story, thestarting pitcher has elbow pain, has thrown too many pitches for 4 innings, his velocity is down 13%, he was getting rocked, and the coach doesn’t see any reason to warm somebody else up to relieve this poor kid. Am I missing something here on why the coach felt this kid COULD GO ALL THE WAY?

I’m assuming the reliever actually doesn’t throw a pitch in the game, but just started to warm up. I assume he wasn’t just warming up the catcher until the starting pitcher gets an OK from a doctor to continue pitching. STILL, he’s on the mound and the starter is gone. Once a kid is pulled from the mound, he’s done pitching for the day

What s surprise! :shock: A starting pitcher who is tired, doesn’t have his stuff, who’s arm is hurting, who’s been pulled from the game and then reinserted - gives up a home run. Absolutely shocking this could happen.

Why not let the starter pitch until he can’t lift his arm, or falls to the ground from exhaustion? Then the coach would have an excuse to use a kid who brings it up at 84. Was there a third pitcher he could have brought in, since he seemed cautious about bringing in the flame thrower? There had to been at least one other kid on the team who could throw the ball 60’. :roll:

There must be more to the story, 'cause I doubt the coach is a complete idiot.

Coaching Errors? Except the obvious that the coach left the starter in there way too long and too many pitches for a 6-7th grader but maybe not for a 8th grader.

Rule wise there is nothing that says the team can’t do this, the reliever never threw a pitch so he never assumed the role as the “proper pitcher”, the starter returned and continued as the “proper pitcher”. Once the reliever threw a pitch then he assumes the role as the “proper pitcher” and the started could only return to the mound if he was moved to a position on the field vs on the bench and then only in another inning.

Rule 3.03 Comment: A pitcher may change to another position only once during the same inning;e.g. the pitcher will not be allowed to assume a position other than a pitcher more than once in the same inning.

Now with respect to elbow pain, we all know that when we were kids you couldn’t pry us off the mound, you had to dart us and drag us off kicking and screaming, and today there are kids that will just go and go, but if a player says something then coaches need to take it seriously, understand the conseuences and worry about the player first and the win 2nd.

well, I couldn’t let pass the speculation about why the flame thrower was not the starter…

add this tidbit…

the starter was the assistant coach’s son.

And this… the flame thrower was told he was going to start that game as over his last 14 consecutive innings he had thrown 26 strike outs and allowed 2 ER … 5 runs total during his previous 3 starts.

Flame thrower was told the night before that the coach’s kid was starting…

School is taking the position that if the coach’s kid blew out his elbow, then that was dad’s fault.

I pointed out that this coach was a volunteer and that he was wearing a school uni and that I have seen plenty of people in that situation say that it’s the school’s responsibility and dad was just a volunteer and not trained
for that and the head coach should have controlled this etc, etc…

so far you gurus are foreseeing what the athletic director said is completely unforeseeable…

You’re posting on the wrong forum. You need to go to legalzoom.com.

Somebaseballdad-- you are probably more right about this than you know. I was one of several who were invited to meet with the school’s athletic director to discuss whether the handling of this particular set of circumstances was “negligent”.

So the question became, what should have been reasonably foreseeable to a reasonably qualified school baseball coach dealing with players in a championship game aged 12-14?

I took the position that any reasonably well qualified baseball coach should have been able to foresee that 1. Returning an aching starter to the game as happened here could lead to the kid blowing out his elbow; 2. Knowing the starter was at a high pitch count by the 4th inning and was complaining of pain should have triggered the manager to begin warming up his relievers; 3. failing to warm up relievers who are known hard throwers and putting them into a game in these circumstances could very well be expected to result in injury to each of these kids who came on next.

The AD vigorously denied all of the above and said that this is not the mlb and we can’t always have the luxury of warming up our kids. Further, he stated that the school couldn’t be liable for the damage to the starter since his dad was in the dugout.

Yep… alot like legal zoom…

but for me the simple question is whether this was something that any half way knowledgeable manager would have avoided?

I think so because I think it is more important at this age group to be prudent with these pitchers than even an mlb pitcher. These kids are still growing and warming up is more important for them than for older pitchers. I also think that the AD’s defense of the manager that these things happen all of a sudden and couldn’t have been foreseen is ridiculous. I seriously doubt that anyone here would think that it was unforeseeable that the starter needed to be taken out when he did and, therefore, a reliever should have been warming up.

Am I wrong?

yes-- there’s a legalistic aspect here-- but from my point of view there is a common sense aspect that certain neanderthals need to be taken out of positions of authority over kids when they don’t know what they are doing and as a very foreseeable result, the kids get hurt.