The Little League Parent/Volunteer Pledge: “I will teach all children to play fair and do their best. I will positively support all managers, coaches and players. I will respect the decisions of the umpires. I will praise a good effort despite the outcome of the game.”
This pledge comes directly from the 2010 Little League Baseball Official Regulations and Playing Rules handbook – a publication that I am certain the coaches for the North Bee County (NBC) Minor Baseball Little League are not at all familiar with based on what I witnessed on May 27, 2010.
On this night, I was a neutral spectator. I had no child or children playing for either team. I witnessed a NBC baseball player running from third base to home. He was tagged and the umpire called him out at home. After this call, the game was over. The NBC coaches proceeded to tell their children to “Pack up your equipment... We are getting out of Beeville, because Beeville always cheats.” If that wasn’t bad enough, when the opposing team lined up to shake hands with the NBC baseball team, the coach did not allow his team to congratulate the winning team. In my opinion that was terrible sportsmanship, and the NBC coaches did a grave disservice to their team.
At all levels of baseball, a call that an umpire makes may not be a popular one, but in the end, the umpire calls ’em as he sees ’em. This incident should not reflect poorly on the entire NBC Little League, but Pettus should be embarrassed at the behavior displayed by the NBC coaches on that day. The children did not learn to lose with dignity; instead, the lesson learned that day was if you lose it’s because the other team must have cheated. Children need to learn that in sports, as in life, you win some and you lose some. And just because you may lose doesn’t mean that a grand conspiracy has taken place to rob you of a victory.
Grow up, gentlemen, and try to be good role models for the children in your care.
Roxanna L. Garza