Little League Strips Chicago Team of US Championship and More
It was a story that captivated America. The Chicago area Jackie Robinson West Little League team played it's way to Williamsport, the mecca of youth baseball.
Their sportsmanship and prowess on the field was heralded by fans and pundits alike. The all African American team finally beat Las Vegas for the US Championship, but lost to Seoul, South Korea for the International Championship title.
Now comes news that their entire 2014 season will be wiped from the record books because of serious rules violations by the adults that run their team.
According Little League International, Illinois District administrator Mike Kelly and others falsified the boundary map in order to get talented players from outside the district. That is very much against the rules.
Little League CEO Stephen Keener, in an interview with ESPN, expressed pain about hurting the kids involved and said "The real troubling part of this is that we feel horribly for the kids who are involved with this. Certainly, no one should cast any blame, any aspersions on the children who participated on this team."
I agree. WHY did these adults ruin a good thing? Now these kids have to deal with being stripped of something they earned because administrators got "greedy." It's heartbreaking.
This is the third time a team has been stripped of wins. The first was in 1992, when Zamboanga City, representing the Philippines, used both ineligible players and players from outside its district. They lost in the finals to Long Beach, California.
The second disqualification was in 2001, when the team from the Bronx had an incredible pitcher named Danny Almonte. I was present when he pitched a perfect game on August 18th against Apopka, Florida. Sadly, it turned out his age was falsified. An investigation showed that the adults surrounding Danny kept him in the dark and used him. He had no idea he was ineligible. The team's accomplishments as well as Danny's perfect game were wiped from the record books.
Adults that oversee youth sports need to seriously think about the consequences to the kids when they even think about going outside the rules. There is no excuse for this behavior and it damages these children, who are supposed to be becoming better people because of their involvement in sports.