22
Aug
09

For all you hothead coaches, there are guys worse than you and here’s the proof

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5 Responses to “For all you hothead coaches, there are guys worse than you and here’s the proof”


  1. August 22, 2009 at 9:52 PM

    please read and let me know what you think.

    Copyright 2009 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company
    Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

    August 21, 2009 Friday

    SECTION: NATIONAL; Pg. 1

    HEADLINE: Kids’ coach guilty of punching rival;
    Feud erupted violently after Slidell game

    BYLINE: By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, St. Tammany bureau

    The Yankees and the Red Sox have one of the most storied rivalries in all of baseball, and it’s not unusual for the fierce competitive spirit embodied by the players, coaches and fans to carry over into downright animosity, even after the final out.

    But when a Yankees coach beat up a Red Sox coach on the field at the end of a crucial game — in a north shore league for 8-year-olds — things had gone too far, a Slidell City Court judge decided Thursday.

    After a daylong trial, Slidell City Court Judge James “Jim” Lamz found Jason Chighizola, 34, guilty of battery of a school or recreation athletic contest official in an incident at the Slidell Bantam Baseball Association field on May 19, 2008.

    The misdemeanor offense is punishable by a minimum of five days of community service and a maximum of six months in jail. Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 1.

    Chighizola, then coach of the Yankees in Slidell’s 8-year-old youth baseball league, punched Robert Johnson, 35, an assistant coach for the Red Sox, at least once in the face in a post-game altercation, according to most of the eight witnesses who testified Thursday.

    The Yankees had lost the game, moving the Red Sox into first place for the close of the season. After the game, the players and coaches, as customary, had lined up in two rows to shake each other’s hands. But Chighizola walked away before shaking Johnson’s.

    In a video recorded by the mother of a Red Sox player, the Red Sox are seen returning to their dugout on the third-base line, celebrating the win.

    “Woo! We go home with a first-place trophy!” cheers one child, clad in red jersey and Red Sox hat. Seconds later, screams emanate from just past the pitcher’s mound, and soon the young players are left in tears.

    >From that point forward, witness testimony differed Thursday. Some witnesses said Johnson approached Chighizola about the lack of sportsmanship, asking, “Why it got to be like that?” Others testified that Johnson said, “Shake my hand. Don’t be a punk because you lost.”

    Chighizola then rushed toward Johnson. Some witnesses testified that Johnson flinched at him, or made a motion faking a punch. Others said Johnson just stood there, as the two exchanged words.

    Either way, everyone agrees that Chighizola punched Johnson, hard. Johnson fell on his face, and the infield was flush with parents and coaches trying to pull the two apart.

    After the on-field brawl, Chighizola ran back toward the Yankees dugout on the first-base line and grabbed a bat. He started swinging.

    Chighizola’s wife jumped on his shoulders trying to remove the bat from his hands, trying to hold him back. Chighizola threw his wife off. He testified that he didn’t know it was his wife, just some person who had jumped on him.

    No one was hit by the bat, and an off-duty St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s lieutenant, who lives in Pearl River and whose son played for the Red Sox, ran onto the field, hand touching his service pistol, helping to quell the situation.

    “Guys, stay in the dugout, stay in the dugout,” you hear a mother warn the children on the video, which was shown extensively in the Slidell City Court trial.

    Lt. Clifford Oswald then escorted Johnson back to the Red Sox dugout. In the video, you see blood on Johnson’s face, neck and shirt. He testified that he received several lacerations, on his forehead and above his right eye, and got nine stitches later that evening.

    On Johnson’s return to the dugout, you hear his son, a Red Sox player, scream “Daddy! Daaddyy!”

    Oswald testified: “It looked like more of a hockey match than a baseball game.”

    Chighizola and Johnson already had built-up tension between them, according to Chighizola and witness testimony. Chighizola had been given the coaching job for the All Star team that year, taking it away from the Red Sox’s head coach, who had held that prized position for several years, according to testimony.

    After Chighizola was named its coach, Johnson and some other Red Sox coaches pulled their sons from the All-Star team. Chighizola had joined the Slidell Bantam Baseball Association’s board that year, and Chighizola testified that there was animosity toward him because Johnson and other Red Sox coaches felt he had joined the board hoping to parlay it into the All-Star coach position.

    Johnson also is charged with battery of a school or recreation athletic contest official, but it is not yet certain whether that charge will be pursued. Johnson has a lawsuit pending against Chighizola.

    Both coaches have been suspended indefinitely from the league, and from events held by the United States Specialty Sports Association, the national association that oversees the league. They can’t even set foot on the Slidell field to watch their children play, according to the association’s president, Dennis Neyland.

    “This is the type of case that affects the life in our community,” said Slidell City Prosecutor Patrick Berrigan outside the courtroom. “Young kids, they should not be exposed to things like this.”

  2. August 23, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Once again, It has become more about the coaches and parents than the players or the actual game. All-Star coach for 8-yr olds???? Can you put that on your resume?? I had to stop reading half way through because I was so embarassed… Punching another coach and going back to get a bat… then tossing your wife off your back….How do you face these kids ,let alone your own kid…makes you wonder if organized sports really is worthwhile when things like this erupt at an 8 yr old baseball game.. A memory that all that were present will carry with them forever… Makes you sad to be a coach sometimes

  3. August 23, 2009 at 5:21 PM

    I had to laugh when the guy said he didn’t know it was his wife. As if it was acceptable to throw another woman off his back. It does illustrate however how political these youth sports organizations have become and how frustrating it gets for people.

  4. 4 Joeybagabaseballs
    August 24, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    I am wondering what Oswald would have done if Chighizola took a run at him with the bat in his hands? As bad as incident was it could have been allot worse.

  5. August 24, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    Very true. Couldve been a lot worse but couldve and shouldve been a lot better. I’m wondering what the guy would have done with the bat if his wife didn’t jump on him.


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