, Salem, MA

May 23, 2013

Letter: A poor example of sportsmanship

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I had the chance to visit Harry Ball Field recently, and was saddened by the lack of sportsmanship I witnessed. I was watching AAA baseball, a step down from the majors, with 10- and 11-year-old boys. First and foremost, I am in favor of boys learning how to lose. This is not a gripe against winning and losing, as long as both winners and losers do so with dignity. Nor is this a gripe against umpires.

The situation was that there was a close play at second for the third out. The ump made the correct call at second and called the runner out. However, with only one ump per game, his back was to the runner rounding third and approaching home. After the out at second was called, the winning coach had his player hustle across home, and then motioned toward home for the ump to see that his player had scored, AFTER the out. The ump called him safe, and the coach who cheated celebrated loudly.

I was standing near the dugout of the losing team, and when the ump came over to offer a clarification, that coach said, “None needed. You made the call and we won’t argue it.”

Congratulations to the losing coach for showing his team how to act with class and dignity. Shame on that winning coach. How do you explain to your 10- and 11-year-old players that you cheated to get a run?

Derek Johnston