I’m sure you’ve seen by now, Jeff Passan’s new book “The Arm” has become pretty popular since it’s recent release online.
“Yahoo’s lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at the most valuable commodity in sports—the pitching arm—and how its vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little League to the majors.” – Harper Collins Publishing
The book more or less lays out what is known and unknown in the world of baseball surrounding what Passan refers to as the most valuable commodity in sports – the pitching arm.
One popular baseball organization took some major heat from the book, and they’re not happy about it. An excerpt from the book published in Sports Illustrated mentioned the Perfect Game organization in a not so positive light. The book mentions PG in quotes like…
“In showcases and tournaments run by companies such as Perfect Game, high school pitchers are throwing harder and harder, but at what cost to their arms?”
“Perfect Game’s worst crime was accidental: it hatched an industry with inadequate oversight.”
“I’ve written about baseball for a dozen years now, and I’ve seen nothing that unites people in the industry quite like enmity for Perfect Game. What at first seemed to be a useful idea—bring all of the best players together in one place so scouts could see talent against talent and skimp on travel expenses – morphed into an outsized machine that profits off teenage boys and glory hungry parents.”
Perfect Game President Jerry Ford responded to these claims in an interview posted on their website in response to the claims made in “The Arm.”
Full disclosure, I haven’t read the entire book. It’s impossible to make a fair judgement without proper context provided by author Jeff Passan, however I will say this. It’s really not fair to put blame for anything happening with youth arms on Perfect Game, or any similar organization. PG is nothing more than a latform for youth ball players to showcase their skills. At Perfect Game tournaments, you get to compete against the best teams in the country, in front of the most scouts in the country. It’s a vehicle for youth players and teams to have their skills assessed against the best, and an opportunity for them to get a boost on their career on their way to college and professional baseball.
There are many unknowns in the world of pitching arm health, and until we have enough research and data, it’s unfair to organizations like Perfect Game to make these claims of responsibility. Showcases ruin kids’ arms, and spoons make people fat, right? When the research is more clear, I believe it’s up to the players, parents, and their coaches to take the appropriate steps to protect arm health, not PG.