Iowa’s current baseball seasons create unequal playing field for prospects

Dear Editors:

I am writing as a member of Mr. Winkel’s 5th period class, American Literature 1940s to Today. An issue that I believe needs to be looked into is the high school baseball season. Currently, the Iowa High School Athletic Association has its teams play during the summer, while every other state plays its baseball during the spring and sometimes very early summer. I have just read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and it has made me take action on this topic.

Beginning in ninth grade, baseball players are starting their high school careers. These young kids are now committing to the sport they love while all their friends are having fun with no school. These athletes deserve some recognition and a little bit of help. By having their seasons during the summer, they are not only missing out on a wonderful summer with their friends, but scholarship opportunities. Most players play varsity during their junior and senior summers. If the players want to play baseball in college, they have to outperform every other athlete in the country in their junior years. By the time their senior seasons come around, colleges have already made their recruiting trips and chosen the athletes they want to have on their rosters. Players from Iowa are hardly recruited unless they perform before their senior seasons. This appeals to the masses because according to the High School Baseball Web survey in 2012, there are 38,000 baseball players in the state of Iowa. Currently, just 1.8 percent continue their careers into college, but this number could increase if the season was moved to earlier in the year so scouts could see the potential in these athletes. Dr. King once said, “oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.” By having these athletes overlooked by colleges, we are creating doubts in these Iowa baseball prospects’ minds that they are not good enough, and isn’t that the exact opposite of what high school sports are about?

Now is the time to step up and do something about this problem. First we need to spread news on this issue across the state. Dr. King once said, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than the absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” This shows how athletes tolerate this ruling because not a lot of people realize it. If half of these athletes realized the opportunities they were missing, they would step up to the plate and take a swing.

This could all be solved by moving the seasons starting date sooner in the year. If the season started around early April instead of late May, we would give coaches another month to look at prospective players and get these athletes in the same grouping as the rest of the country. King said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is unjust to give an athlete less opportunities than others, and these athletes will eventually rise up and do something about it. This is the right thing to do because every athlete should be given equal opportunity as the next one. Just because we continue to do things the way they always have been does not erase that we are cheating athletes of their opportunities. Many kids’ dream to play in the Major Leagues, and who wants to crush their dreams? Not me.

Sincerely,

Luke Mozena
CFHS Student

 

Class of 2014

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