Editorial: Mo’ne Davis, Little Leaguers still deserve to be children

If you have watched the transcendent rise of pitcher Mo’ne Davis at the Little League World Series, you will have witnessed both the best and worst of kids sports.

You mostly will see what the megalomaniacal uber-mind of ESPN has done to our perception of games.

At best, the 13-year-old Philadelphian with a rocket right arm proves that anything is possible, and any girl with dreams should be inspired.

If you did not root for Mo’ne as a pitching Joan of Arc, there is something wrong.

But the Mo’ne phenomenon comes with a price.

She has become a commodity being sold, pitched, packaged and delivered for profit by ESPN. She now has a “camp” that must manage her interview requests.

Every inflated value made garish by the commercial sports industry is being brought to bear on her because she is new; she is a sizzling media property and she is good.

But is any 13-year-old prepared emotionally to be the center of every adult’s adulation and interest?

This is a different question than whether her talent is astounding.

She has earned her way to respect, but can anyone recall that we are watching young children play a game? She was not the standard bearer for gender equity until ESPN dubbed her.

We are permitted a great gift to see her play.

She’s real.

But immersion in commercial pop culture runs the risk of damaging her. Mo’ne Davis is first a child.

ESPN shows few moral qualms about using anyone for ratings. As viewers, we bear some role in that shabby trade.

The Little League Worlds Series starts to look like the real World Series, just with very small players. In the ESPN universe, everyone is a rock star waiting to hit the stage and fuel the commerce.

Lights; camera; action. Showbiz allows no doubt.

We hope that since Williamsport, Pennsylvania, has now gone dark, Mo’ne will return to childhood.

If we take childhood from her, we will be co-conspirators in a sad crime.

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