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Little League president thinks host actions are bush league

Umpire dispute, ejection lead to playoff dispute

Posted: June 28, 2012 - 4:49pm  |  Updated: June 28, 2012 - 5:04pm

Twitter @ScottRouch

 

When the Martinez-Evans Little League 9-10 Americans play against the home team in the District 6 championship round at Elbert County’s McWilliams Park Thursday, there won’t be local umpires involved.

That’s especially the case after what happened when the teams played Tuesday.

“I told them after the game the other night, my team would not play, absolutely would not, unless there were umpires there I had never seen before that were not from Elberton,” said Americans manager Robert Peel.

Tournament director Kim Bray gave assurances that locals would not be umpiring.

“They are all from out of town,” she said. “I just hope everything goes smoothly because it’s been stressful.”

Tuesday night, the drama started before the game when the umpire came into the dugout and challenged the Americans about equipment he said was illegal. That’s when Peel asked him where he was from.

“The guy (umpire) .. told me he was from Augusta,” said Peel. “Come to find out, he graduated high school with the district administrator from Elbert County High School.”

“I’m not aware of any of that,” said Little League District Six administrator Vince Fernandez of what the umpire told Peel.

Peel said he told the umpire privately that he wanted the game to be called fairly – and the umpire then ejected him before the game began.

With Peel off-site, the Americans (3-1) lost 12-6 to ECLL, but rebounded Wednesday to beat Masters City Little League 15-6 to reach the championship round. Woodie Melton was at the helm for the Americans, however, as Peel had to serve a one-game suspension because of the ejection. A win by the Americans Thursday would force a third and final meeting on Friday for the title.

MELL president Mike Daly was upset because the rule book states that local umpires should not be assigned to games that involve local teams.

“Should” is where the gray area starts the problems.

“According to what I was just told, it is up to the tournament director and the district personnel to assign the umpires for any particular tournament game,” wrote Little League director of media relations Steve Barr in an e-mail Thursday. “It is in the best interest to NOT assign an umpire from a local league to that local leagues tournament game, but it is not a mandate that they cannot umpire that game. I’m not going to say it happens in all cases like this, but normally the district umpire-in-chief makes the assignments.”

District Six does not have a district umpire-in-chief, which has been an issue for Fernandez.

“Our district has never had a district-wide umpire program,” Frernandez said. “I’ve been trying to get that done the past few years. Umpires work other places, they have jobs, so all the tournament directors are responsible for providing umpires. We have been trying to provide a district umpire plan which will send out umpires from a central location to different tournaments.”

Daly also was upset with the way Peel was treated. He went back on the field after the game, but was asked to leave because suspended managers are not allowed to be at the game site.

There were separate interpretations of the rule in the tournament rule book.

Daly quoted rule 4.07 which he took that to mean Peel should have been allowed to be with his team after the game from which he was ejected. Fernandez conferred with the region office in Warner Robins after the game and they interpreted a rule from T18 of the tournament handbook to mean Peel should not have been allowed to return to the game site until his suspension - which began immediately - was over.

With the previous drama behind him, Peel will be on the bench for the Americans Thursday.

Rules regarding manager or coach ejections:

Rule 4.07: "When a manager, coach or player is ejected from a game, they shall leave the field immediately and take no further part in that game. They may not sit in the stands and may not be recalled. A manager or coach ejected from a game must not be present at the game site for the remainder of that game. Any manager, coach, or player ejected from a game is suspended for his or her team's next physically played game and may not be in attendance at the game site from which they are suspended."


T18: "The manager or coach suspended for any reason is not permitted to be at the game site and must not take any part in the game or have any communication whatsoever with any persons at the game site. Violation may result by action by the tournament committee by further suspension or forfeiture of a game and/or disqualification of a team, managers, or coaches from further tournament participation."

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Comments (7)

Little Lamb

??

As the story is written, I cannot blame the umpire for ejecting Peel. When a manager says to an umpire before the game, “I want this game to be called fairly,” it is a perfectly natural thought that the guy is questioning the umpire's integrity. It was an unecessary thing for Peel to say.

It's like walking into a restaurant in Swainsboro and asking the chef where he went to cooking school. When he tells you, you don't say, “Well, I hope you cook it to my satisfaction.” Some things are just left unsaid by gentlemen.

And let's look at Peel's statements about the umpire's heritage. Peel asks the umpire, “Where are you from?” You just have to wonder how much sneer was in Peel's voice. When the umpire told him he was from Augusta, that should have been the end of it. But no-o-o-o; Peel digs around and finds out the umpire graduated high school with the district administrator from Elbert County High School.

So what? The umpire can't help where he went to high school many years ago. For all anybody knows, the administrator of Elbert County High School grew up in Augusta.

This Robert Peel sounds like he goes through life with a permanent chip on his shoulder. I hope Martinez-Evans Little League does a little investigating of Mr. Peel.

Barry Paschal

Actually, Little Lamb...

Actually, Little Lamb, the part you might be missing (and it might not be conveyed entirely in the narrative) is the umpire was lying about where he was from because he knew the rule about using "local" umpires. And that was after the umpire tried to disqualify some of the visiting team's equipment that wasn't illegal.

In short, the manager was doing his job and trying to protect his team from home cooking, which the umpire telegraphed was coming before the game even started.

judgementcall

Thats the Pot Calling the Kettle Black

M.E.L.L is the worst Little League to go to for Games in this whole area......The Parents,Fans and Coaches have there noses so far up in the year and they think there (moderated) don't stink....They think because they have money they should get special treatment..This includes the whole Columbia County Schools aswell......Its a Shame because the kids are real damn good ball players and when they look at the umpire and say there sorry for the way there fans and parents act is a damn shame..Peel is not innocent and has been tossed before many times and he was starting crap and got tossed before the game.His kids lost fair and square and he insults the game of baseball and good sportsmanship by making excuses....Daly needs to worry more about cleaning up his little league and start by getting rid of the bad apple parents first......You don't throw stones when you live in a Glass House Daly....Barry you are probably one of those problem parents and thats why you want to make excuses for MELL...No matter where the umpire is from he is gonna toss your (moderated) when ya act like that...Go Tell your Fellow Mell Fans and Parents to grow up..........Your kids are laughing at ya with the umpire during the games when you yell crap that just isn't true....But keep yelling and we will keep laughing at ya.......

drmstck

For the record

Robert Peel had never been ejected from a Little League baseball game prior to this tournament. Further, the umpire admitted he made a mistake, and apologized for his actions the next evening. Finally, the DA provided the information on the umpire being local without solicitation.

justputtin

Horrible influence

The worst thing about this debacle is all the young kids seeing how important this is to the parents. I played for years and I can't remember parents or coaches doing anything other than encourage and cheer. What example does this show impressionable young kids? I feel bad for Woody Melton for his name is mentioned in this mess and he would never behave in anything less than an honorable way.

LLbaseballfan

It seems quite comical that

It seems quite comical that Mr. Peel and the Little League president find this matter important enough to make it an issue. It sound to me that this is more a matter of "sour grapes" than an umpire. When you lose two games by a combined total of16 runs, the umpires had nothing to do with it. That is after the getting the same treatment last year. Mr. Peel and the president were disrespectful to the tourney staff, the directorm and the District 6 rep. It is actually a trajedy that MELL has so many talented players and polite fans that a few bad apples spoil the bunch. As for Mr. Peel, your reputation proceeds you. From travel ball to Little League, everyone knows you, and that is not a positive thing. And by the actions of a couple of your players, it unfortunate that it is a "monkey see, monkey do" situation. Maybe you should be more careful about your facebook posts, and be careful what you wish for. To the rest of the fans, parents, and players of MELL, you are a great bunch of people with some very talented and polite young men

drk

What isn't told

In this article, it does not let everyone know that the umpires until this game, were Georgia High School umpires. When it was time for the winners bracket game to be played, there was local Elbert County Little League Umpires that umpire their games during the week. I was there and saw it all. Yes, the team did end up losing and no one diputes that, but the manager did was right for his team once the game had begun and saw things going wrong with several calls. He did it in a professional way and talked in private with the umpire. There was no profanity used.
The next night the umpire apologized to several people and said he reacted wrong when questioned and should have not ejected the manager.
It was a case of someone trying to do what he felt was standing up for his team. This is the third year in a row Elbert County has hosted a tournament. They were asked to not have local umpires and it is strongly suggested to not have local umpires in Little League guidelines. It did seem odd when the one team that could beat Elbert County went to play them and there was all of a sudden local umpires from the town of Elberton. Anyone would question that.
As for the manager crying sour grapes as someone posted, after the championship game he went over the other team's celebration and shook all their coaches and players hands. He told them what a great team they were and even said he hoped they brought the state title back with them. He told his own team, that sometimes a better baseball team shows up and beats you. No one disputes that Elbert County was the better baseball team. The manager just wanted things to be done the right way. This is coming from a parent on the team that saw for two weeks the 3-4 hours a day this team put in. For the championship game there was at least one umpire not from Elberton that umpired behind the plate. One was once again thier local umpire in chief. He umpired in the field and had no bearing on the game, although this was not what was promised. The game went along fine and excellent sportsmanship was shown form both teams. The manager of the American team form Martinez Evans, Mr. Peel, had all of his players stand on the field and applaud the winning team. It was in deed how little league was supposed to be played for all of you who were not there.

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