If ESPN describes a kid as someone who can "hurl a baseball scary fast," you want him on your team, right? Of course you would. So why did Anthony Burruto's high school baseball coach cut him from the team? Oh, right, because 16-year-old Anthony Burruto has two prosthetic legs.
And after three seasons on his high school's fall squad, they've decided he isn't good enough for the spring team. The problem? He can't get down low to grab the bunted balls. This is where I'm supposed to say, "Hey, give the differently-abled kid a break!" Right?
Note the word "differently-abled." Because this isn't a story about Anthony Burruto's prosthetic legs. OK, it is a little bit. Because who doesn't want to root for a 16-year-old who had both legs amputated below the knee after birth but who has been kicking major ass ever since? If I had a cap, I'd doff it for him. He rocks.
But here's the thing, Burruto can't cover bunts. It's legitimate. When he was in Little League, an exception was made for him. The other teams agreed not to bunt out of respect for Burruto. But that doesn't provide a good enough reason to cut him.
Because every player on a baseball team brings something different to the table. In the case of Anthony Burruto, it's that "scary fast" arm. He's "differently-abled" because that's the most current term for someone with a handicap, but he's differently-abled because that's life. There are baseball players who hit. There are baseball players who field. There are baseball players who do both.
Looking to the major leagues, we have pitchers like Micah Owings, the Diamondbacks hurler who Arizona may use as a pinch hitter this year. He's that good. But the Diamondbacks once boasted the pitching skills of Daniel Cabrera too, a man infamous for just how bad he was in the batter's box rather than out in front of it.
Anthony Burruto doesn't need anyone to give him a spot on a baseball team because he's a kid with two prosthetic legs. He's earned it with his arm, with a history of pitching in an all-star league at 13, against varsity teams at 14, and on the highly competitive fall league for the past three years. He's that good.
Should he be back on the team?
Image via slgckgc/Flickr