The Best Prodigies and a Question.

No "W" on this Kid.

So, there was a question in Deadspin’s mail bag today about whether or not a team of full-grown, washed-up athletes could beat the best Little League team in the country.  The answer over there was a team of adults would beat the Little League kids, assuming the adults had some athletic ability.  I would say, not so fast.  The most important question is what size field are you playing on?  Now, even your best Little Leaguers don’t run it up there much harder than 70 mph, but from a Little League mound that gets on you in a hurry.  Mix in a breaking pitch or two, and I’d venture to guess that most adults (even former high school baseball players) couldn’t hit that.  At least not right out of the chute.  Now, granted, you’d only have to bleed a ball out there 225 feet and it’s gone, but I think it would be a battle.  And, assuming one guy on the adult squad can break 70 mph, the Little Leaguers wouldn’t be able to run up the score too much.

The question got me thinking about which sports produce the best prodigies.  As in, how young are the kids in each sport that could beat your average skilled adult?  You’ve obviously got to focus on the sports that don’t require size or much contact.  An eight year old dribbling whiz could wow you with some ball handling, but at the end of the day, your average 5’10” guy could block almost all his shots.  This is another list where I just randomly chose things off the top of my head, but for the number one sport that prodigies would dominate, I’m going to choose:

Swimming.  A portion of adults only kinda/sorta know how to swim.  It’s self-preservation.  There’s a difference between being able to jump into a pool and not drown and actually being able to swim.  Swimming is also very tiring, so if you aren’t conditioned for it, forget about it, even if you used to be a swimmer.  It’s not out of the question to see a teenage swimmer win Olympic medals, so I’m thinking your swimming prodigy, some 10-year old porpoise, could swim circles around even a decent adult swimmer. After swimming, I’d list things like golf, tennis, is chess a sport?  You obviously want no piece of Josh Waitzkin.

For the sports like baseball, basketball and football there is obviously going to be some tipping point.  You find one 14-year-old that can throw 85 mph, and he’s going to dominate some adults.  If you make an All-Star football team I’m thinking probably 13 years old or so, and you’ve got kids that are as big and more athletic as your average adult.  Same goes for basketball, but in the team games I think it’s probably easier for the adults to fall back on their natural advantages. I’d like to set up something where I attempt to hit Little League pitching, but then again, I don’t want to be embarrassed.


Here’s a question for you.  Does anything in the world melt faster than a Klondike?  You probably don’t remember, but I was down on the Klondike of late.  They made the thing smaller and thought they could get away with no one noticing. Nice try, friends.  What are you, the Girl Scouts?  I know the weight of a proper Klondike.  I know how it feels in my eager paws. Anyway, it’d been a while since I had a Klondike, but there is only so many times you can walk by an Oreo Klondike and not try the thing.  I’m only a human.  I bleed like the rest of you.  So, I got the Oreo Klondike.  It’s amazing.  But, it’s shockingly small (or should I say thin), and you always forget how fast they melt.  It’s a race eating a Klondike.  What are you going to do, put in a bowl like some loser?  No, you’re going to play with fire.  I swear you could eat one of those things in a blast chiller, and it would still almost instantly liquefy.  It has to be the number one most-hated snack among parents and babysitters too, because I look like a mess after trying to wrestle one of those things.  I can’t imagine what a toddler would look like.  You know that thing is going to squirt out of his hands like a live fish.

QUIZ of the Day:  Most Homers By Presidential Term.  Category: Arbitrary Guidelines.  My Score: 15/19.


16 thoughts on “The Best Prodigies and a Question.

  1. i would say that i am usually very sad when my creamsicles melt, usually faster than a klondike but that could be debatable.

    also, recent work observation – as we handle a plethora of human service issues here at my job – um, ICEE’s people, in the summer, have a large hard spoon or be ready for almost instance separation of ice and flav. my boss learned the hard way, last week.

    good thing we have a solidly stocked kitchen here.

    in other news, this whole supremacy thing is common language in dance world. i know, i know, 3-Putt, despite my efforts on my blog yesterday, i get that you still would like not consider a dancer an athlete. but the deal, when kids peak at 12/13 some can be almost as technically advanced as older peops. but the dudes who make the most money in dance, which i guess is like a derek jeter argument, they’re sort of at the evening of their career. and their charisma puts on a good show.

    Q dancer who peaked at 14 and now cannot move.

  2. i don’t think i ever discounted dancing.

    the thing with something like that, though, that would discount it in this discussion is that being petite is almost inherently part of the sport. there’s conflicting disadvantages to being bigger that goes along with any maturity, same as with gymnastics or being a jockey or something..

    whereas, in the other sports, size is almost universally an advantage.

  3. Riding has young phenoms that beat adult professionals all the time. Thirteen year old in the grand prix at Upperville last weekend.

    • wow about the 13 yo! and re: dancing, well, petite may be the thing for chicks. dudes can blossom as they grow…and yes, dudes can dance. giggles. q

  4. swimming is a good one. plus it is fair because most everyone knows how to swim. something like riding might be true, but if most people got on a horse they would have no idea what to do.

    i have always wanted to try and pitch from the 45ft mound as an adult. however, the last time i pitched against younger competition (i was 16, scrimmaging my old coach’s U-14 AAU team) i beaned 3 kids in the first inning before i pulled myself. the last kid i hit actually turned in toward a fastball and it hit him right in the chest. he started crying and i felt bad, but it was also just a tiny bit hilarious. who turns into a pitch like that??

  5. ha no, they had moved up to the standard field by that age thankfully. i was just saying that hitting kids from 60ft was bad enough.

  6. Does anyone think they could walk onto a little league field this afternoon, with no prep other than warming up, and strike out the best of the little league hitters?

  7. I feel like ZD is going to say he could.

    I don’t know how hard I can throw a baseball anymore. Probably not hard enough.

    • i’m actually going to surprise you here and say…PROBABLY not. but maybe.

      the best LL hitters can hit fastballs, and that’s all i’ve got. even if i could touch 80, which i don’t think ii can do without at least a crow-hop, that is probably not fast enough.

      my strategy would be to fire a few helmet high warmup pitches into the batters box and just try to scare them.

  8. I think accuracy would be the biggest issue, trying to knock the rust off i assume control would be the last thing to come.

  9. well, it’s only 45 feet away. i think you could maneuver some pitches in there.

    and, i have to disagree about 80 mph.

    I don’t remember seeing a little league WS kid get to 80.

    it seems like anything over 70, you have at least a chance to kind of dominate with just a fast ball.

    and, I don’t think you’d need pedro’s curve ball. Any little flip that changed speed every once in a while would work.

    I think Little Leaguers would probably rock me, but in general, maybe giving them too much credit.

  10. yeah i don’t know, maybe you are right. i just seem to remember the best pitchers throwing high 70s with a curveball as well. but i could be off.

    i also think i saw sean burroughs throw like 82 or something ridiculous. best little leaguer of all time!

  11. I don’t know either.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait for the LLWS series this summer and do a proper scouting report.

  12. A generic ice cream sandwich could compete with a klondike bar for melting speed. Its almost the same thing, but fewer protective walls and typically requires valuable seconds to peel the paper away that has partially fused with the chocolate breading.

  13. Um, maybe.

    although you can crush an ice cream sandwich in a few bites if need be. the cookie portion is also far more stable than the chocolate shell.

    an interesting debate.

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