Hey, what’s up with this doc?
Maybe this is why Little Leaguers should be paid.
If you recall, an online sportswriter suggested several months ago that those youngsters responsible for taking their baseball teams deep into the Little League World Series tournament should be compensated with more than just slaps on the backside and congratulatory shouts of “Great job!” And he wasn’t simply referring to them being eligible for triple treats at the postgame concession stand.
No, this particular writer’s contention was that, seeing as how Little League International earns gobs of money through its World Series and the national televising of it on ESPN, the kids deserve a share of the cash. He wasn’t advocating a big payday, only a stipend, but it nevertheless seemed a bit ridiculous.
Revisiting the idea during basketball season, I still think it’s goofy. After hearing about Alan Beck, though, my opinion now is held for a different reason.
Suddenly, I don’t think a stipend is anywhere near adequate enough. The players should receive a much bigger slice of the TV-generated pie — say, five or six figures’ worth.
And I’m willing to bet Joe Paris agrees with me.
Paris is the father of a Little Leaguer who is being sued by — get this — his own coach. As has been previously reported on a number of news sites, Alan Beck, who coached a team in Roseville, Calif., was evidently injured when the younger Paris tossed his helmet while rounding third base with the winning run in a game last spring.
According to the lawsuit brought against both the player and Little League, Beck suffered a torn Achilles tendon after being hit with the helmet and now wants compensation for his medical bills, as well as for pain and suffering. Price tag: $600,000.
Wow, that helmet must have packed the wallop of a minivan. If the Paris kid’s arm is that lively at 14 years of age, maybe Beck ought to think about dropping his suit and becoming the youngster’s agent because the latter has a definite, high-paying future in baseball.
But apparently, Beck doesn’t want to wait for a potential windfall. He’d rather extract his pound of financial flesh without delay.
What’s surprising is that he’s not hurting — at least in a monetary sense — at the moment because he’s a doctor. That’s right, a doctor is the guy engaging in this particular form of malpractice.
And, really, how else should one describe what Beck is doing? Suing a kid is bad form in any situation, but considering these were accidental circumstances it’s especially odious.
What’s the matter? Doesn’t Beck know anyone in the medical field well enough to have his surgical needs taken care of gratis, or at least at a vastly reduced rate? But that’s not the point here.
What happened was purely inadvertent — even Beck and his attorney implied as much in different Internet accounts of the story. So what’s the deal with a lawsuit?
I’m not belittling Beck’s injury. A torn Achilles tendon is serious business, and there is going to be a lengthy period of recovery and rehabilitation he’ll have to undergo. But a half-million dollars’ worth?
In a statement given to one California TV station, Beck claimed that he was only asking for $20,000 to help with his medical expenses. He said his attorney upped the ante by multiplying it 25 times, an act we all know would never occur within the legal profession.
But if that did indeed happen and Beck really wasn’t a party to it, why hasn’t the doctor been more emphatic about clarifying his stance? Asking a typical family for $20,000 could break them; even in a California-style higher-rent district, it still rates as a substantial amount of money, but at least in that instance Beck doesn’t appear to be going straight for the remuneration-seeking jugular.
And before we indict the doctor for behavior not befitting a man in his profession, let’s consider one other version of the story that appeared online. That one featured Beck saying all he wanted was an apology from Joe Paris’ son.
OK, so which is it? I know medical people always encourage patients to obtain second and third opinions, but I never realized they were all supposed to come from the same source.
A legal expert consulted by the TV station that interviewed Beck said that the latter’s chance of collecting on his suit is probably be rather slim, seeing as how the incident was unintentional. In addition, that same expert said that both players and coaches in baseball should reasonably expect to see objects — balls, bats, helmets, etc. — flying around during a game, so Beck’s case could also be dismissed on those grounds.
And, as was pointed out on Yahoo, Little League International features kids throwing equipment while celebrating in a promotional video. If Beck hasn’t already seen that video, maybe he should.
Interestingly, in my various searches about the story, I failed to find out what Beck’s specialty is in medicine. Not that it really matters, but I have one suggestion for him:
If it’s pediatrics, he might want to pursue a new line of work.