Cheating dulls joy of winning

So, now we discover that even the sainted Little League baseball organization has cheaters. What’s next? The NCAA? Oh, right.

We agree with Juliet Macur, a New York Times sports columnist, who suggested last week that the best way to watch this summer’s Little League World Series is to sit as far away from the field as possible because you don’t want to look to closely. After all, you might find a pitcher who is two years older than the legal Little League age (Danny Almonte of a team from the Bronx, N.Y.) or a team with kids from outside its district (last year’s darlings, the Jackie Robinson West players from Chicago who made it to the final game.)

And we agree with Macur, too, that the real problem isn’t the kids, it’s the adults and the American way of sport – Just Win, Baby, as the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders used to say.

But “just win” has come to mean “win at any cost, even cheating,” because anything short of a win is and loss and we all know that losses are for losers and who wants to be a loser?

So adults cheat and kids suffer. But of course they only suffer if the adults get caught. How many other Little League teams used kids from outside their districts? All we know is that Jackie Robinson West got caught and now the kids lost their title, some adults are being driven out of the game, but the game will go on.

And it will go on television, thanks to the millions of dollars thrown to Little League by ESPN which, of course, will undoubtedly make a fine profit selling advertisements around Little League games.

Isn’t there something absurd about paying millions to televise kids playing ball? Baseball, for kids, is supposed to be fun and maybe it still is on the field, but for the adults around them, it’s a business. And it’s a darn big business.

Maybe it’s time to disband organized kids sports and let them go back to organizing their own pickup games.

Right: Calling Pollyanna. Because those days are, sadly, over. If kids were left to their own organizational devices, they’d be running something indoors and electronic.

We need organized sports to get kids out of the house and moving. But with organized sports, we need adults who care more about the kids than just winning, baby.