Too Many Teapot Despots in Little League

Little League Needs to Clean Up Its Act

Yesterday at Gero Park I witnessed a 45-year-old team manager argue vehemently with a 16-year-old umpire about a foul ball in a baseball game for 9 year olds.

The embarassing event ended with a toss of a clipboard and the players on his team leaning up against the fence in the dugout chanting. "Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!"

Something is very wrong with this picture. This is my first year at Gero park. My kid is 8. But I have heard more yelling and criticism of children and umpires in the past 10 weeks then I hear at MLB games.

We don't tolerate our children talking back to the umps...why do we tolerate it from team managers?

Young kids who play baseball are trying their best under intense scrutiny, and yet, repeatedly, over-zealous base coaches invariably shout criticisms.  

What is it about a fully grown adult that celebrates the idea of making somebody much smaller than them feel even smaller?

MSHYB needs to rid itself of the teapot despots who pollute Gero Park with their complete loss of perspective and fixation on the scoreboard.

There are lots of great parents, managers, coaches, etc., who always do the right thing; who encourage kids, who pick them up when they fall and applaud them for doing their best even if they boot a grounder or strike out swinging.

As for the teapot despots? There should be zero tolerance for this kind of poor role-modeling, anti-social conduct and just plain bullying.

When kids leave the Little League field despondent or crying or mimicking this bad behavior, the entire league has failed in its duty to do what Little League is supposed to do -- to teach kids life skills, good sportsmanship and the idea that sometimes calls go with us, sometimes against. The best we can do is drive on and try to get the next one.

So...next time you see an adult shouting at a teenager in front of a bunch of kids...how about this as a response...

"Pick on somebody your own size!!"

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JKH June 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
"The ump screamers are usually men that are used to getting their way at work and at home and just lose it when they don't get their way on the field. They also feel they need that call to win a game because truth be told, they are incompetent." Best line 10yearmiller, you are absolutely right.
JKH June 02, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Yes Hedley but why is the culture so much saner in soccer?
Hedley June 03, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Because the games are run by adults and not children. You cannot expect children umpires to discipline parents in the stands. I have seen soccer referees do it, however.
Nick Romano June 03, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Susan-Sorry that your son had a bad experience.In fairness to mshyb I had the exact opposite experience.A few years back for the first time in his little league career neither my wife nor I was at Gero for my sons game.As luck had it a mishap occurred and my son ended up needing stitches.My co-coaches in the Falcon chain treated my son like their own. Chain Manager Garry Butter was his usual great self.The OD Manny Fontaina handled the situation like a trained professional.The only time my son got upset during the whole ordeal was when he was told by the plastic surgeon that he could not play ball the next day.There are plenty of wonderful "volunteers"involved in MSHYB.
Greg Licciardi June 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Well put Matt - agreed. I have coached baseball for several years now and some of us take this too personal and too far. This is a good wake up call. It is really neat having kid umps. It is something our young players can aspire to - experiencing a fellow kid make calls with authority and respect is something for our our players to look up to and value. Both coaches and our players should be more educated on the role and respect to be given to umps. All good - let's learn from this unfortunate incident and build it into our play books moving forwawrd. Millburn has a very special youth baseball league which many of our surrounding towns envy - let's keep it that way. Greg L.


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