We all know Florida takes its high school sports more seriously than, say, its budget -- but a baseball coach in Orlando's hard-nosed attitude has suddenly made him the national face of villainous athletic leadership (sorry Bobby Knight.) Coach Mike Bradley's crime? Cutting Anthony Burruto, a double amputee with serious pitching cred, from the varsity squad.
You've killed the American dream, Bradley! KILLED IT.
Burruto, a sophomore at Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School, was born without a shinbone in one leg and minus a femur in the other. Doctors amputated both legs when he was young.
That didn't stop him from playing high level baseball since he was eight years old, though. In fact, Burruto learned to pitch well enough that he recently landed on the cover of ESPN the Magazine as the face of an article on "Bionic Athletes."
Now he can chuck a fastball in the 80s and a "wicked curve," according to the Orlando Sentinel, and dreamed of making it to the Bigs someday.
That is, until Coach Bradley cut him off the varsity roster. His reason? Burruto had trouble fielding bunts off the mound.
Dr. Phillips principal stuck up for the baseball coach's decision.
"He was given the same opportunity as everyone else," Gene Trochinski tells the Sentinel. "Unfortunately he wasn't the only one who did not make the team. There were 23 others who tried out and didn't make it. ... At this level you try to win ballgames."
Riptide can see that logic -- and we're certainly not going to argue that every double amputee with a pipe dream of making the soccer team or swimming varsity should be put on the squad in the name of political correctness.
But by all accounts, this guy can pitch. He made ESPN the Mag, for God's sake. Cutting him from the team over concerns about his bunt coverage seems beyond ridiculous.
Here's a slow-mo video of Burruto's motion, in case you're wondering how to pitch on two amputated legs:
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