July 17, 2005


Cops: T-Ball Coach Took 'Hit' On Challenged Player (ThePittsburghChannel, July 15th, 2005)

NORTH UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A T-ball coach seeking to keep a player with a mental disability off the field allegedly asked another player to hurt the boy, state police said Friday.

The alleged incident happened June 27 at R.W. Clark Little League Field in North Union Township, Fayette County, police said.

During pre-game warmups, Mark Reed Downs Jr. offered one of his players $25 to hit the 8-year-old boy in the head with a baseball, according to a police news release.

After speaking with Downs, the second player hit the victim near his left ear and in the groin area, leaving him unable to play in that night's game, state police said. [...]

Downs, 27, of Dunbar, was charged Friday with criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, corruption of minors and reckless endangerment. He is free on bond and faces a preliminary hearing on July 28.

Okay, BroJudd readers, here's your homework assignment: Please describe, in 200 words or less, your preferred method of punishment for this slice of human vermin. Creativity is appreciated. To be considered, the answer must involve some kind of baseball equipment and absolutely NO cup protection for the guilty party.

In the spirit of the times, feel free to drag horrific creatures from the Harry Potter novels into your scenario.

Answers due by noon on Monday. Class dismissed.

Posted by Matt Murphy at July 17, 2005 1:42 AM

He should be forced to coach a kids soccer team.

Posted by: carter at July 17, 2005 1:41 PM

He should be forced to coach the Slytherin quidditch team.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 17, 2005 2:20 PM

He should be punished by Juan Marichal.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at July 17, 2005 3:01 PM

An easy answer: State time in general population facility, making sure that everybody knows what he's in for.

This sort of thing may not be all that rare, although this is an unusually aggravated case. Y.O.S. has a fair amount of experience in youth atheletics in the sport-which-is-not-to-be-named. It was not rare for a dirty coach to have some little hoodlum charge the keeper for intimidation purposes. This is a truly evil practice, exposing both of the players to injury: good keepers know how to defend themselves.

I have seen 8 & 9 year-olds execure vicious take-downs from behind and, at the whistle, make a 10 meter square cut to get out of the ref's field of view. The plan here is that everyone's attention is on the player who went down. Well, little kids don't think this stuff up on their own. Somebody, a dad, a big brother or, most likely, a coach has been teaching advanced cheating.

The best thing for this sort of swine would be the bibical prescription of a millstone around the neck for a Lucca Brazzi one-way boat ride. Failing that we would settle for the above recommendation.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 17, 2005 3:05 PM

This is a real problem in youth sports across the country. Because the people who do it are all too often non-professional, either in sports or education or both, there are lots of people for whom their coaching activity is a compensation for their failures as athletes. This causes them to eschew the teaching function entirely and focus solely on winning. Some of these folks are mentally disordered and act out their pathologies with the kids, as seen in this case.

The way to deal with the problem is licensing of coaches, managers, trainers and similar personnel. Make them pass exams, make them pass psychological testing, make them work in a probationary setting for a while. And also pay them, creating an incentive for people to do the job.

The way not to do this is mandatory play rules where every kid plays every game no matter how inept he is. Incompetence should be punished and kids should learn that rewards are based on performance. G-d knows, they don't get that lesson in school any more. And it also provides an incentive for kids to improve, working on things in their spare time.

Posted by: bart at July 17, 2005 3:51 PM

I don't believe a word of it. It's just as likely an overbearing over protective mother caught the mean little ba^ta*d who threw the ball (not just once but twice) by the ear and caused him to lie. Kids can be mean, treacherous little monsters and they lie all the time. Parents are always looking to place blame on coaches who don't play their little darlings.

I'd say this guy is getting the royal shaft and if he does get put in general population he'll probably get killed. How many men's lives have been ruined by grandstanding prosecutors and a law system that will take the word of a child over the word of an adult every time?

Posted by: NC3 at July 17, 2005 3:57 PM

Although there have been cases where the obviously fictitious word of a child has put adults in prison, it's actually far more common for kids not to be believed, or even if believed, for there to be insufficient evidence for conviction.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 17, 2005 8:17 PM

My earlier comment assumed that the facts had been proven by competent evidence, as the law professors say. Little kids can by bullies, and they can play dirty, but someone has to teach them to cheat. When you see a 2d grader cheating like a high schooler, you know someone has been trying out for a millstone necklass.

There are coach training programs available. I had amateur coach's licenses from my state's F.I.F.A. affiliate. Does anyone need a training program to know that he should not counsel one child to injure or endanger another? This sort of misconduct cannot be excused by ignorance or inexperience.

Everyone should get to play in youth sports. The beautiful thing about the Beautiful Game for children is that you can always coach around about two zero talent players and still have a creditible team. My happiest coaching experiences involve weak players who scored goals because I played them up front on the theory that in this game you can score no goals and still not lose. Several times such children, sometimes with their parents, would come up at the end of a match or the end of the season to thank me for giving them a chance.

Some research indicates that sports coaches are extremely significant figures in childrens' lives. Second only to parents, it is said, more so than teachers or clergy. This is possible: my memories of my rifle coaches, going back to the early '60's, are quite distinct. They taught me discipline, safety, fair play and maximum effort, and I revere their memory.

It has been several years now, but still, as recently as last week, some young man or woman I cannot quite recognize will come up to me in a mall to tell me about how they played in college and how their children are starting the game. What kind of fool would sacrifice that kind of status for a cheap, dirty win?

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 17, 2005 10:40 PM

Give him a lifetime contract, by court order, to manage the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Posted by: John at July 18, 2005 1:20 AM

Dump a ton's worth of pharmacy prescriptions on his head.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 18, 2005 10:46 AM

The NY Yankees' new GM.

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 18, 2005 11:32 AM

Beaten with a Louisville Mugger - I mean, Slugger. Repeatedly. By a very angry and strong man. With multiple hits to the joints so that they shatter and he never walks properly or can bend his elbows again, so that he lives in agony for a very long life.

To ensure this, there will be no blows to the head.

Posted by: Mikey at July 18, 2005 12:45 PM

Plant him up to his waist and use him as the tee for the National Organization of Women's annual tee-ball tournament.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 19, 2005 10:14 AM

give him a trial and find out if he is guilty ?

Posted by: cjm at July 19, 2005 6:40 PM


C'mon, we haven't got all day. ;-)

Posted by: Matt Murphy at July 22, 2005 3:41 AM