Did this California team walk under a ladder and pick up a black cat? What a month this team had…


1 Response to “Did this California team walk under a ladder and pick up a black cat? What a month this team had…”

  1. July 22, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    I found this on Press Democrat. I can’t believe it. What the hell is going on in California? Read on…

    We want to believe the adults are the mature ones, that the kids are shown the proper way to play and react, that embarrassing meltdowns are infrequent.
    But then a first-base coach sucker-punched an umpire at a Babe Ruth baseball game Sunday and all those suppositions were rendered for the moment irrelevant, as an umpire lay on the ground unconscious, legs twitching.
    “His eyes were rolling in the back of his head,” said Joe Lunny, manager of the Sonoma Valley Babe Ruth team. “Blood was running down the side of his head. I’m looking at him and I’m saying to myself, ‘I can’t believe what I am seeing.’”
    Vallejo Babe Ruth League coach David Davis was booked at Solano County Jail Tuesday night on charges of battery against a sports official. Bail is $5,000. Maximum fine is $2,000 or a year in jail. Davis claimed he was defending himself. Davis might as well claimed he saw Big Foot while he was at it, for all the veracity that defense carries.
    “The only gesture the umpire made was to throw him out of the game,” said Sonoma Valley assistant coach Mario Alioto, who saw the incident from his team’s bench.
    It was the seventh inning of a Babe Ruth state tournament game between 15-year old All-Stars from Sonoma Valley and Vallejo at Wilson Field in Vallejo. The first-base umpire, his name not released at this time, called a Vallejo runner out. Davis, the first-base coach, argued, using loud obscenities. The umpire ejected Davis. Davis turned away, as if to leave, but then spun and punched the unsuspecting umpire.
    “It was like he got everything behind the punch,” Alioto said. “He hauled off and belted the umpire right in the jaw. The umpire was defenseless. He had his hands down. He wobbled for a second, went down on his knees and then flopped on his back. By the time I got there, he was out and his whole body was shaking. It took about 30 seconds for him to come to.”
    The umpire was placed on a stretcher and taken by an ambulance to a local hospital. At this time, his condition is unknown.
    Lunny spoke of the incident Wednesday, three days after its occurrence, and was still upset at what he saw.
    Said Lunny, “I went back to my kids and told them that my coaching staff has 100 years of experience and we have never seen anything like that. And I told them I hoped they would never see anything like that again.
    “It was mind-blowing for my kids,” said Lunny, 58, an engineering contractor from Sonoma. “We (coaches) tell our kids all the time that if they have a problem with a call, go back to the dugout. Let us (adults) take over. And then they see this.”
    Two days later, the All-Stars from Sonoma Valley saw another act of violence, this time perpetuated against them and not by an adult. A Hayward batter hit a grounder to the right side of the infield that the Sonoma first baseman had to go into the hole to field. The Sonoma pitcher ran to cover first base and, as he is he taught, ran parallel to the first base line to field the throw.
    “The Hayward runner punched my guy in the back, in the kidney,” Lunny said. “I saw it all. I’m sure the runner’s intent was to dislodge the ball, to reach first base safely. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to hurt my guy. But he did.
    “I asked the home-plate umpire, ‘Did you see that?’
    “The umpire said he didn’t. I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Why is my guy on the ground in pain, peeing blood?’ The Hayward coach came over and asked his guy what happened. The runner said, ‘I hit him accidentally with my elbow.’
    “It was no accident. It was a punch.”
    The Sonoma pitcher was taken to a hospital, released and is now resting at home.
    “But he’s still in pain,” said Lunny, who asked that the name of his player not be used.
    The runner did dislodge the ball. He was safe. The eventual winning run did score. Lunny was livid. But he controlled himself. Had to. Had to practice what he preaches.
    “I’ve been involved in youth baseball since 1968,” Lunny said, “and I have never been kicked out of a game. It’s about the message we adults send to our kids. This is a 13-15 age group, which is fantastic age group because they are impressionable. They want to learn to do things the right way, to act the right way.
    “And then some idiot punches an umpire and we win the game on a forfeit. I wished they would have let the kids play. The kids for both teams pay for what this idiot did. It’s beyond anything I have ever seen” in 42 years of coaching.
    So the infrequency, that’s a good thing, yes? It is, Lunny said, except there’s still that image in his head of the umpire on the ground, eyes in the back of head, his legs “quivering.” He saw it, his kids saw it and telling his boys he had never seen such a thing before, frankly, gains little traction when an image like that is bouncing around inside your head.
    The Sunday incident has been splashed nationally through network television. Maybe, it was suggested to Lunny, this might serve as a wake-up call to a possible knucklehead. After all, David Davis will have to live with the stain on his forehead for the rest of his life. It will be a scarlet “I” for idiot and it won’t go away because he wishes it so.
    “That would be great, if someone could learn,” said Lunny, not sounding terribly convinced. A squeaky wheel does get the most grease and what David Davis did Sunday has the potential to trump and wash out all the examples of the adults who do know how to behave in youth sports.
    It was a crime of passion you might say, that David Davis had no intent to sucker punch an umpire when he showed up at Wilson Field Sunday. He just lost control, after all.
    “Yeah,” Joe Lunny said. “Our jails are full of people like that.”
    Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit contributed to this article. For more on North Bay sports, go to Bob Padecky’s blog at padecky.blogs.press
    democrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or bob.padecky@pressdemocrat.com.

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