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Your youth baseball brawl roundup

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It’s playoff season for youth baseball, which means managers, parents and players who act only a little crazy when they get a bug up their butt about something during the regular season now have the stakes raised high enough that the same bug will cause them to go ballistic.

Here are a few highlights:

DODGEVILLE, Wisc., July 26 — The winners of the losers’ bracket in the Ohio Valley Regional is going to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series because of a game-ending brawl between the two teams in the first game of the best-of-three championship.

About the only detail not being argued is that Noblesville (Ind.) came back from three runs down in the sixth inning to lead the Hammond (Ind.) Chiefs, 11-10.  Oh, the only other detail not being argued is that Babe Ruth headquarters in Trenton, N.J., ruled both 16-18-year-old teams out of the tournament. In between, it gets messy.

According to the Noblesville coach, talking to the near-hometown Indianapolis Star, all three Hammond coach freaked the fuck out when the game-leading run was scored on an obstruction call against the Chiefs, and all three got ejected. With no adults left to coach Hammond, the umpires declared Noblesville the winner. The Noblesville coach said the teams lined up to shake hands, and while his team was “excited,” the Hammond team was in a rage, the flames being fanned by one of their coaches. A Chiefs player jumped one of the Noblesville players, and the brawl was on.

[youtubevid id=”5i_D6oQO6b8″]

What happened in Dodgeville with the Chiefs, as re-enacted on ice. (NSFW language)

The Hammond coach copped to nothing, and in fact said he was trying to keep the peace and separate players, according to his interview with the near-hometown Northwest Indiana Times in Munster, Ind.

Meanwhile, the Dodgeville police said they arrested one fan on disorderly conduct charges, allegedly because he punched a Noblesville coach.

So congratulations to Cross Plains (Wisc.), which advances to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series for not punching anybody.

VALLEJO, Calif., July 21 — Vallejo Babe Ruth coach David Davis was booked in the local hoosegow on a charge of battery against a sports official. He allegedly punched a first-base umpire during the state 15-and-under championship tournament. Davis was arrested at the local police station as he was filling out an assault report — against the umpire, David Abbitt, a 26-year veteran.

Abbitt said Davis sucker-punched him — knocking him out and requiring him to be taken by ambulance to a hospital — as he argued a close call against the Vallejo team at first base. Davis, meanwhile, citing scratches on his arm he said were made by Abbitt, said he was only defending himself, and that the knockout punch never happened. Davis told the San Jose Mercury News:

[After the umpire kicked him out] Davis then describes a highly emotional situation between the two men, with alleged spitting, swearing, racial epithets and self defense.

“I thought it was a make-up call, so I went down to my knees and came up and he said ‘You’re outta here,'” Davis said, claiming that the knockout punch never happened. “All I did was defend myself. I just put my hands up as a reaction. Guy falls down, looks at me from the ground and puts on a tirade like he was hurt. It was weak and it was fake.”

Apparently there were no police or security at the July 18 game because of cutbacks by the city of Vallejo. After the Davis-Abbitt incident, somehow, some way, security was found for the tournament.

GURNEE, Ill., July 17 — Unlike the other two incidents, this was not a playoff game. But it doesn’t have to be one for tempers to get out of hand.

According to the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., police were called after a fight broke out a 15- to 18-year-old Colt (Pony League) game. Two opposing players wrestled at the plate — a runner trying to score, and the catcher who tried to block him (without the ball in his hand) during the last out of the game. The umpires did not get involved, and player tempers cooled.

However, parents started screaming and fighting with each other. That’s when police were called. But no arrests were made. The presence of the authorities inspired a lovefest, according to the Herald:

[Gurnee Police Commander Jay] Patrick said the players on both sides hugged as the three cops left the field. The teams were not named.

“It could have really gone south,” Jacobs said. “But when (police) got there, everybody started to calm down quite a bit.”

For an incident like this, that counts as a happy ending.

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Written by rkcookjr

July 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Arrested coach pictured poorly in court, on Facebook

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Unfortunately this happens a lot — a young-ish assistant high school coach getting popped on charges related to fooling around (or trying to fool around) with the kids he coaches. However, these stories aren’t usually accompanied by the unflatteringly douchebaggish photo of the alleged perpetrator.

This story should teach any young coach that if you’re going to be stupid, depraved and unprofessional enough to go all Wooderson on high school girls, you should at least make sure your social network pictures don’t make you look like the kind of guy who might be that stupid, depraved and unprofessional.

From the Deseret News in Salt Lake City:

A well-known substitute teacher and sports coach in Moab has been arrested and charged with raping two teenage girls.

Trace Wells, 24, was charged [July 13] in 7th District Court with multiple counts of rape, possession of child pornography, forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor. …

Wells was a former football star at Grand County High School and worked as a substitute teacher at the high school and the local middle school. He also helped coach the high school track team, of which one of his victims was a member, said Grand County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kim Neal.

Wells and his family are fairly prominent in the community, according to officials. His father is the coach of the high school’s football and wrestling teams. His grandmother is a member of the Grand County Council, Neal said. …

The victims were 15 and 16 years old and both girls whom Wells had known for awhile, Neal said. The child porn charges stem from alleged “sexting” (texting of sexual pictures) of at least one of the victims, he said.

And here is the profile picture on Trace Wells’ Facebook and MySpace pages, a shot the Deseret News picked up and used on its site:

I will emphasize that Trace Wells, like anyone arrested, is innocent until proven guilty. But, sheesh, this isn’t helping.

The sad decline of Michael Costin Jr.

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You might remember in 2000 how Michael Costin Sr. died after being beaten by fellow hockey dad Thomas Junta, upset that someone elbowed his son in a practice Coston supervised at a rink in Reading, Mass. It remains one of the most notorious cases of sports parents run amok. Junta is still in jail on his involuntary manslaughter conviction, his parole denied for a second time, in 2008.

Also in jail: one of attack’s witnesses, Michael Costin Jr.

From the Gloucester Times:

…after the case was over and the attention faded away, Michael Costin Jr.’s life spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse and violence, court records show.

[Monday], Costin, now 20, was sent to Middleton Jail for 18 months, after pleading guilty to beating up his 43-year-old girlfriend and stealing her car two days before Christmas.

Prosecutor Michelle DeCourcey said Salem police were called to a Leach Street apartment on the afternoon of Dec. 23 by Costin’s girlfriend, who said he had grabbed her by the throat, punched her in the face and told her, “You’re going to die tonight.”

tj_son

The above photo is Michael Costin Jr. testifying during Junta’s 2002 trial. The Gloucester Times went into more detail about how he frequently has ended up in court again, but as a defendent.

Costin has already served time for assaulting the same woman and has racked up a multipage record in the past three years.

Judge Richard Mori [who has heard other cases involving Costin] said Costin has received a lot of support, including requests for leniency from police officers familiar with his family history.

Costin’s lawyer, James Craig, urged the judge to give his client another shot at probation, suggesting a brief jail term and then strict supervision by a probation officer. He even noted that the victim in the case has offered to take Costin back in when he is released, though he added that Costin no longer wants to be involved with the woman.

But the judge said Costin has failed to take part in programs offered by the probation department in some of his prior cases to help him deal with some of his issues, including a serious substance abuse problem and mental health problems that may stem from the death of his father.

“I’m really sorry about the thing with your father, but you’ve got to grow up,” Mori told him. “It’s got to stop. You just can’t do this anymore.”

At Junta’s trial, Costin Jr. told the court: “I saw Thomas Junta beating my dad into the ground. For the rest of that day and for the next day, my heart was in my throat. Please teach Thomas Junta a lesson: Let the world know that a person can’t do what Thomas Junta did to my dad, to my family and to me … we all want Thomas Junta to go to prison for as long as your honor can put him there.”

So is Michael Costin Jr. in this downward spiral because of his witnessing the beating death of his father?

I’ll leave that to the mental health professionals. But I will make one guess: it didn’t help. Neither did not having his father as he entered his teenage years. (I don’t know whether Michael was the son who reportedly climbed into the casket with his father during his wake.)

I’ll make another guess — the roots of the younger Costin’s criminal behavior are deep. His father, an unemployed handyman, had numerous convictions, including weapons possession and assaulting a police officer. The younger Costin’s grandfather fatally stabbed his uncle when he was 17 and was convicted of manslaughter. Costin, an unemployed handyman, had a record of convictions on charges including weapons possession and assaulting a police officer.

The grandfather also told NBC’s “Today” in 2000 that his son, Michael’s dad, had a drinking problem that ran in the family.

Michael Costin Jr., for whatever reason, is fulfilling a family tradition — no happy endings.

Crazy eye of the beholder

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3203388787_13b8b86948It would seem that most crazy-parents stories are pretty standard — parent does something inappropriate at a game, gets tossed out or arrested, and we cry about, as our most recent former president might have put it, what our children is learning.

Except that it’s not always so cut-and-dried.

For example, the arrest of one Christopher Paquette of Attleboro, Mass., for popping off and refusing to leave, when asked, a fifth- and sixth-grade girls’ basketball game. He’s charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly yelling and swearing after refusing to leave the gym where his 10-year-old daughter was playing. The police said he yelled at a ref, who told him to leave, and yet Paquette, a recently laid off dry-wall construction worker and father of six, did not, even when police came to shoo him way.

On the surface, it sounds like another parents gone wild. Certainly, that’s how the local newspaper saw it on its editorial page.

Yet Paquette says he yelled something about the refs, and that he walked away and stood at the entrance to the gym because he didn’t want to leave his 10-year-old daughter behind — and that police overreacted. Some of the comments below this story seem to bear him out, noting that the ref immediately wheeled around and threw him out even though Paquette did not address him directly. Let’s put it this way: the Attleboro police don’t seem to be popular around, oh, Attleboro.

So who’s right?

I wasn’t there, so I’ll say this: if you busted every parent who made a comment about the refereeing, you would empty the stands in a hurry. Is that right for parents to say something? There are limits, but you can’t expect people watching their offspring, their blood, their reason for living, to be comment-free during the game. It would be great if they watched and only thought positive thoughts, but that’s unreasonable to expect. Heck, today at my son’s seventh- and eighth-grade coed rec league game (they needed sixth-graders to fill out the rosters), the opposing coach was getting ooh-aah and googly-eyed about every call. Personally, I would have liked to kick him out of the gym because he was acting like such an overweening jerk, but I’m not sure the court system needs to get involved.

We all want a positive environment at games, or at least an environment that doesn’t seem to have the undercurrent of quick and certain fisticuffs. Paquette or any parent — or coach — doesn’t need to worry about the refs (unless they are allowing rough and dangerous play). But letting off a little steam or even being a jerk is not a crime. I would rather save police involvement for something a little more serious.

Written by rkcookjr

February 15, 2009 at 10:39 pm