Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

When keeping the rules real goes wrong

with 4 comments

A Florida youngster named Hunter Cowers has hit the most controversial and convoluted homer since George Brett’s infamous 1983 Pine Tar Game winner.

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This is what we lost when “The Baseball Bunch” got canceled.

With the score tied at 5 between South Lake and Spring Hill in a Dixie Youth Baseball tournament game, 11- and 12-year-old division, Cowers smashed a home run to put his South Lake team ahead. One problem: in all the excitement, Cowers forgot to touch home plate. Problem solved: his coaches redirected him back to home plate, and he touched it. Problem unsolved: the umpire ruled Cowers out because his coaches redirected him back to home plate. According to the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: “That set off nearly two hours of argument that involved a protest committee, the district and state directors of Dixie Youth Baseball and even a consultation with the league’s national commissioner in Texas. The state director then upheld the umpire’s ruling. Cowers was out.”

Problem: Instead of the biggest hit of his young life, Cowers was feeling like the goat once Spring Hill won in extra innings, knocked South Lake out of the tournament. Problem solved: three days after the June 30 game, the national commissioner called back to say he had changed his mind, that Cowers’ home run stood, and now South Lake, and not Spring Hill, could continue playing for a state championship.

Problem unsolved: Spring Hill filed a lawsuit over the ruling. In Hernando County (Fla.) court Wednesday, it’s asking that Spring Hill be allowed as the 13th team in the 12-team tournament that begins Friday. According to the request, as quoted in the Times: “This may be the only chance for many of the players on the team to advance to the State Tournament and therefore there would be irreparable harm to the children on the team if deprived of that experience.” Irreparable harm? Like, they’ll never get over it? If they don’t play, they’re doomed to a life of huffing paint and knocking over liquor stores?

The team is arguing not over Cowers’ homer, but over the whole appeal process that led to all of this insanity. Dixie Baseball should  just let Spring Hill play, the complications of a 13-team tournament be damned.

However, this problem could have been solved very easily right after Cowers returned to the dugout after his home-run trot. All the adults involved — managers, umpires, league commissioners — should have just said this: the kid hit the home run, right? He was excited, right? He’s a preteen, right? And he only forgot to touch home? Let him touch it. Are we so serious about this that we’re going to take away the biggest hit Hunter Cowers might ever have over something so stupid?

And with that, it would have been: problem solved.


Written by rkcookjr

July 15, 2009 at 3:31 am

Posted in Sports

Tagged with , , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Your logic makes perfect sense to me, as it probably would to all the kids on both teams if the coaches/parents hadn’t gotten involved as I’m sure they did to either support or argue against the ump’s ridiculous call. I’ve seen slightly younger kids at less pivotal game moments neglect to hit the plate and run back to step on it and nobody complains. In this case, the coaches on both teams should have talked to the ump together to let the plays stand.
    This is just about sore losers.
    I’m amazed time and again at my kids’ ball games how the coaches and parents seem to have a much harder time losing than the kids do.

    Karen Dukess

    July 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

  2. We have had problems with Dixie Rules every year. Their books have different rulings on the same issue.
    They make a big deal in meetings about how it is for the kids but what you describe in your post your post is usually how it works out.


    July 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm

  3. […] An update on “When Keeping the Rules Real Goes Wrong.” […]

  4. […] this youth baseball postseason, we’ve had one controversial, game-winning home run that was overturned on dubious technical grounds, leading t…. That couldn’t happen again, could […]

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