They’re just kids

Editor:

I was pleased to read the letter by Ryan Metcalf ("Baseball, Bullies Not a Good Mix," Apr. 16) about bullying by coaches in youth baseball in Alameda. My family experienced many of the same issues in this particular for-profit program. We are rather perplexed as to why it seems to be so popular right now. We can only guess that it is because of the pressure tactics employed by the staff, which encourages the players to look down on the Babe Ruth volunteer coaching system.

We have heard about inappropriate language and jokes about players made by the coaches (such as about a player’s weight), about players being forced to spend most of a practice running laps, or sent home early, as punishment for not paying attention, etc. Discipline is fine up to a point, but these are just kids.

Youth baseball should be about having fun and learning good sportsmanship, not focused on making a high-school or college team. I don’t know Metcalf personally, but it must have taken some courage to write his letter, so I applaud him and hope his effort will lead to changes.

Russell Vernon