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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania

Little League coaches can use video, rather than yelling, to overturn calls

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Supporters of using video replay extensively in Major League Baseball take note: calls in freakin’ Little League are going to be subject to review. Calls of volunteer umpires in the Little League World Series. Calls of volunteer umpires who, despite the millions Little League reaps from its ABC/ESPN television contract, have to pay their own way to get to South Williamsport, Pa.

From a press release put out by Little League:

Replays in the previous two years were limited only to those plays that should have resulted in a dead ball, but were called otherwise by the volunteer umpires who work the Little League Baseball World Series each year. This year, video replay will be expanded to more plays, such as force-outs, tags on the base paths, missed bases, and hit batters.

“We are able to do this for the third year because all of the Little League Baseball World Series games are televised on ABC or the ESPN family of networks,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “As we have seen even in the professional ranks, certain calls in baseball are among the most difficult for officials to make, for a variety of reasons. Using video replay, since we have the means to get the call right, is the right thing to do.”

Goddamn right it’s the right thing to do, especially with all the gambling money I’ve lost because of shit calls by volunteer chumpires who had to pay their way to a central Pennsylvania assmunch of a town. I’m sure you feel the same way.

By the way, if you would like a template to cite for your angry emails — some, amazingly, written in crayon — to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig about extensive use of replay in baseball, Little League provides you with rules.

There are two scenarios in which video replay would be used. One is if the umpire who made the shit call confers with the other umpires, and they don’t have the Little League regulation balls to decide what shit call to make. So check the replay.

The other is a coach’s challenge. Whenever ha manager’s mustache starts twitching with anger and regret, he can throw a flag to get a video review of the umpire’s shit call. The parents, however, must yell at the ump and question the color of his underwear, just like they do at non-televised games.

Will this work? Maybe. Then maybe Major League Baseball will see how good video replay is for the game and apply to umpires who are salaried and get a per diem for their travel from ballpark to ballpark. And maybe then my bookie won’t be sending guys to claim my healthy kneecaps as collateral.

Written by rkcookjr

August 4, 2010 at 12:44 am

Youth baseball team trip put at risk by coach's arrest, checkbook's seizure

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I’ll get the happy ending out of the way. The Taylor, Pa., 15- to 18-year-old American Legion baseball team will make it to a tournament in South Carolina after all, despite the arrest of its coach, thanks to a $1,000 donation July 13 from employees at Semian Real Estate Group.

The community at large has raised another $1,000, but maybe the Semian employees felt a little bit worse about the possibility the team couldn’t travel. After all, it apparently was their co-worker who put the trip at risk.

Phil Godlewski, 27, was head coach of the team until getting arrested July 9 on charges relating to his alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. Maybe this with the first time police got involved, but Godlewski’s job as a high school baseball coach ended when the victim’s mother (apparently of the same girl at the center of the criminal investigation) complained to school officials about alleged inappropriate contact with her daughter.

According to police, the relationship started when Godlewski helped the victim cope with the death of a boyfriend. “All right, the boyfriend died! Now I can make my move!”

(As an aside, in so many of these coach-player relationships, the player and the coach have gotten closer because the coach is helping the player through a difficult time, anything from a death or a divorce to a hangnail or a mosquito bite. If your child is seeking the counsel of a coach for deep conversation and coping, immediately remove that child from the team. Trust me.)

So after Godlewski’s arrest, he was suspended from coaching the Legion team, under that organization’s rules.

One problem: the $2,000 for the team’s South Carolina trip was in Godlewski’s personal bank account — not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, though for many reasons it’s probably better the money is kept in a separate, team account. (As another aside, Godlewski was in hot water with Legion authorities over having scheduled an out-of-state trip to a non-Legion tournament while his team was scheduled to play Legion games, which under league rules would have forced Taylor to forfeit those games.)

However, no one from the Legion team can get to the money (one of the many reasons it’s good not to have it in someone’s personal account). Police seized two cars, as evidence, in which Godlewski and the girl were alleged to have sexual contact. The cars contained bats, balls, equipment — and Godlewski’s checkbook.

Hence, why the team had to scramble to raise $2,000.

Fortunately, the people of Taylor, Pa., have come through, in particular Godlewski’s co-workers. They just need to make sure the checkbook for the account doesn’t end up in the wrong, well-worn back seat.

Written by rkcookjr

July 14, 2010 at 12:50 am

A high school sports hall of fame? Really?

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I see through Youth Sports Parents that a $20 million High School Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is going to be built in Easton, Pa., hometown of ex-heavyweight champ Larry Holmes, who indeed appeared at the Nov. 10 event announcing the National High School Coaches Association’s venture.

If the people behind this think the kids are going to mosey over from the Crayola factory to check out LeBron James’ hall-of-fame plaque or suck down carbon monoxide from the buses going in and out of the attached terminal, they’re, well, wrong. National museums focusing on sub-pro athletes have struggled, most notoriously the College Football Hall of Fame, which announced in September that it is moving to Atlanta in 2011 to see it can outrun the stench of failure in its stints in Kings Mills, Ohio, and South Bend, Ind.

The sub-pro halls of fame that are most successful, aesthetically and on their own attendance terms, are those that reflect the sport as a part of a local or ethnic culture, such as the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. So if this High School Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is going to succeed, it’s going to need some gripping exhibits that really reflect the impact teen sports has had on American culture.

I have some suggestions:

“F*** off, Nerdlinger: The Evolution of Jock Culture in High School”

“Mullets to Buzzcuts to White ‘Fros: Male Soccer Player Hair Through the Years”

“Did I Ever Tell You…: An Animatronic Rendering of Broken-Down Adults’ Old Glory Stories”

“No-Boner Zone: A History of Communal Showering, Naked Wrestling and Other Locker Room Activities that are Totally Not Gay”

“We Try Just as Hard!: A Corner by the Bathroom Devoted to Non-revenue Sports Nobody Cares About”

“Mesh Appeal: A Compendium of High School Football Coach Caps”

“Yeah, I Did Her: A Display of Cheerleader Panties as Apparent Proof of Sexual Conquest”

“Drink, Then Drink Some More, Then Puke Your Face Off: A Wacky Tribute to the Good-Natured Initiation Rites of Teams”

“I Love Title IX: A History of Girls’ Sports”

“Title IX Killed My Dog: Wrestlers Complain About Girls’ Sports Cutting Their Funding”

Written by rkcookjr

November 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Gun-toting soccer mom found shot dead (with update confirming husband killed her)

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Meleanie Hain became a gun-rights lightning rod when she sued the Lebanon County, Pa., sheriff for revoking her gun permit after other parents complained when she toted a holstered 9mm Glock 26 to her 5-year-old daughter’s soccer game.

Certainly Hain will become one again as news comes out that last night (Oct. 7) she and her husband were found shot to death in their home, which police entered after a two-hour standoff. Police are not yet calling it a murder-suicide, but neighbors told the Lebanon (Pa.) Daily News that they heard her children yell, “Daddy shot Mommy!” From the News:

Lebanon police Chief Daniel Wright was guarded with information as detectives began the preliminary stages of the investigation late Wednesday night. He acknowledged that the Hains were both found dead and had suffered gunshot wounds inside their 1 ½-story brick home in a quiet neighborhood in Lebanon’s southside. He would not provide any additional details, other than to say that police do not feel any other people were involved.

District Attorney David Arnold, who was at the scene, refused to comment.

Several neighbors said they heard or saw the couple’s children run from the house screaming, “Daddy shot Mommy!” shortly before the 911 Center was called at 6:20 p.m.

The children, 2- and 6-year-old girls and a 10-year-old boy, were in the care of a neighbor and were unhurt, said Wright.

The Philadephia Inquirer provides some background on Hain’s personality and lawsuit:

Meleanie Hain and her gun-toting ways came to national attention last year, when she filed a federal lawsuit against Lebanon County and Sheriff Mike DeLeo for revoking her gun permit.

He did so after parents complained about her wearing the Glock at her 5-year-old daughter’s Sept. 11, 2008, game.

The suit sought more than $1 million for violating her civil and constitutional rights. A hearing in the case was postponed in May.

Because of sheriff’s comments, “people think I’m still an idiot,” said Hain – a vegetarian and self-styled Krishna “pseudo-devotee” – about the suit last year.

DeLeo, an NRA member, said he revoked the permit out of concern for the safety of children.

Nevertheless, a judge reluctantly restored her permit last October.

Her husband, who works in law enforcement and taught her to shoot [note: Hain worked as a parole officer in Reading, Pa.], was avoiding the publicity last year, out of fear of losing his job, Meleanie Hain told the Inquirer in December.

Other reports say neighbors and friends noticed recently that the Hains were having marital problems.

If it’s true she was shot by her husband, Meleanie Hain’s death would be ironic if it weren’t so damn tragic, especially with small children involved — small children who appear to have witnessed her being shot.

It will be interesting to find out if Meleanie Hain, who was known to carry a gun everywhere, not just to the soccer field, tried to use it before she was shot.  Was the one time she was caught without a gun the one time when she really needed it?

I predict Hain’s death will be picked over by those who support gun control, and those who do not. And like with abortion, no one will change their opinion. Certainly not in Tennessee, where you’re allowed by law — except if overruled by local government — to bring your gun to any youth sports event held in any park.

OCT. 9 UPDATE: Lebanon police confirm that Scott Hain shot his wife — and why she never had a chance to pull a gun on him. From the Lebanon Daily News:

The man, who police only identified as a mutual friend of the Hains, was engaged in a webcam video call with Meleanie Hain while she was in the kitchen Wednesday evening about 6 p.m. The call had been going on for several minutes and the man had turned his head from the screen for a moment when he heard a gunshot and a scream, said police.

When the man turned to look at the camera, police said he observed Scott Hain walk into view and fire several times in the direction of where he last observed Meleanie. He saw nothing else and the connection eventually terminated, police said.

After making repeated attempts to contact anyone inside the Hain household [a police team] entered the South Second Ave. home shortly after 8 p.m. where they found Meleanie Hain, 31, in the kitchen and Scott Hain, 33, dead of a bullet wound to the head in the upstairs bedroom.

The Hains’ three children made it out of the house unharmed.

Also found in the house were several handguns, a shotgun, two rifles and several hundred rounds of ammunition, said police.

Written by rkcookjr

October 8, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Coaches: Just because attacking a crazy parent is legal and satisfying does not make it wise

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A Pennsylvania girls high school basketball coach goes all Ron Artest on a heckling parent but gets acquitted of criminal charges. From the Allentown Morning Call:

A Lehigh County district judge ruled Tuesday that the former girls basketball coach at Salisbury High School was not guilty of disorderly conduct when he went into the stands during a game last month and scuffled with a player’s father for heckling him all game long.

“I know the popular belief is that the worst part of coaching youth sports is dealing with parents,” said District Judge Anthony Rapp. “If there ever was a case where that is true, it’s here.”

Ken Shankweiler, who resigned from the team days after the Dec. 20 incident, had been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly placing his hands around the neck of John Hrebik, the father of junior guard Caitlin Hrebik, during a game against Wilson Area High School, which Salisbury lost 62-19.

Shankweiler, 52, of Hanover Township, Northampton County, admitted Tuesday that he had been trying to avoid Hrebik’s repeated heckling as his team struggled early in the game against Wilson, but ultimately couldn’t. He said he had previous run-ins with Hrebik, who admitted that he had been told by school officials to tone down his criticism or stop going to games.


“Now Artest Shankweiler has jumped over the scorers’ table, and is trying to get down to the bench! Artest Shankweiler is in the stands! Oh, this is awful!”

Yes, a true jury of Shankweiler’s peers — coaches who have had it with overbearing parents — would have set him free. In this case, it was just a judge. Not that Shankweiler got off scot-free. He resigned as coach on Dec. 22, two days after the incident. He also apologized for his actions.

The judge didn’t exactly give a hearty endorsement of Shankweiler’s Terry O’Reilly impersonation:

While he could not find Shankweiler guilty, Rapp said “morally, I think the whole thing stinks.”

“We are supposed to be the intelligent, responsible adults and we let a basketball game come to this,” he said. “What happened to letting the kids have fun first?”

The judge let the dork parent have it, too:

“If you are going to be attending anymore games, be a spectator, a silent spectator,” he said. “These are not professional athletes.”

Interestingly, Hrebik referees local ballgames and is a basketball tournament organizer. The sports editor of the Allentown Morning Call had to recuse himself from the story because he identified Hrebik as a “good friend.”

No word on whether Wilson Area High School was apologetic about the 43-point scoring margin, or whether the head coach was fired for it.

Slurred speech

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Just in case you thought the election of Barack Obama brought us into a post-racial society:


From Phillipsburg, Pa., comes an oldie but a baddie, the allegation of racial slurs at a youth sports game. This one, basketball. From

A Phillipsburg youth basketball coach said players and fans from an opposing team yelled racial slurs at his players during a Community Basketball League game Friday night in Palmer Township.

Todd Opitz coaches the Phillipsburg Police Athletic League Enforcers, a 17-and-under team in the league. He has 10 players on the team, three of whom are black. Opitz said he is white.

Let me interrupt for a moment to point out the familiar pattern in youth sports controversy stories. Somehow, well after the fact, word gets to a reporter or someone in the outside world about, say, an extreme girls basketball beatdown. No reporters were there to witness it, mainly because these are the sort of events no one outside immediate family and a few friends. How can I tell in this story? “Opitz said he is white.” Either that, or the reporter never takes anything at face value. (/rim shot)


Or, maybe the coach was a certain Mr. White.

Sorry, I digress. Let’s continue:

Friday’s game at the Chrin Community Center was the first between the Enforcers and the Palmer Wildcats this season. About 100 fans were in the stands, Opitz said.

Opitz said when his team started winning near the end of the first half, opposing players and fans started using threats with racial slurs.

Phillipsburg player Monsio Jlaka, 16, said it started off as friendly trash talking.

“Then it just started getting out of hand. They just kept talking a lot, using the n-word,” Jlaka said. “I told them to stop saying it because it was getting me really mad.”

Opitz said he told the referee about the slurs, but the official “said he couldn’t do anything about it.”

The teams returned for the second half of the game and after a few minutes, “it just started in again,” Opitz said.

Jlaka said he had to be taken out of the game because he was getting so angry. The Community Basketball League has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to fighting at games.

“I did not hear anything and no one brought anything to my attention — players, coaches or referees,” said Scott Sanguinito, the Wildcats assistant coach.

Perhaps Opitz, who says he is white, and his player are mishearing the opposing team’s play-calling signals: “Chigger.” “Digger.” “Bigger.” “Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Or the Wildcats coach needs a cochlear implant. Or, more than likely, someone is fibbin’.

Opitz, who says he is white, and his player had more to say:

The taunting continued into the parking lot and Phillipsburg parents and fans worked to keep their players under control, Opitz said.

“It was just chaos, basically,” Jlaka said.

Opitz, who has coached the Phillipsburg team for three years, and Jlaka both said they have never seen anything like what happened Friday.

“It was disgusting,” Opitz said. “It just ticks me off that this had to happen at a kids’ basketball game. No kid should have to tolerate hearing those things — period. It was uncalled for.”

Even discounting that this league has had a couple of parent rumbles in the last few years, according to the story, he’s right: no kid should have to tolerate hearing those things — period.

If all of this is true — and it’s not stretching the bounds of reason to think that it is, especially because it’s an area of Pennsylvania that Obama sent Joe Biden to often to assure the locals that their possible new president would not be a Scary Negro — it makes me wonder: what exactly possesses people to do this? Especially at a youth sports event?

“Hey, ma!”


“Billy’s got a game tonight. And there’s gonna be darkie kids playin’!”

“Thank the Lord! Now I can get all my pent-up darkie-yellin’ outta my system!”

None of the league officials were available to the reporter for the above story. Hopefully, they’ll come out of their hole and check all this out, and make clear that if a team and its fans are going to engage in this kind of behavior, it will give referees the power to boot them out, and if it doesn’t stop, give the league itself the power to boot a team out of the league. It’s crazy the league has a no-tolerance policy toward fighting, yet racial slurs are apparently a-OK.