Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Foul Ball

May 1, 2013

I’m sorry. I can’t help it. When I see an injustice, I just have to speak up. Below are slightly edited excerpts of an email sent to the president of King Philip Little League (KPLL).

I’m an assistant coach for the AA Durham Bulls and I noticed on the flyer for the Pitch, Hit & Run competition that girls aren’t allowed in the baseball division. Apparently, this isn’t a league rule but is coming from the event sponsor, Major League Baseball (MLB).
Do Boys and Girls compete separately?
Yes. Boys and girls will compete and advance separately throughout the competition. Girls will compete in a softball division and boys will compete in a baseball division.
Back to my email:
As a coach of three girls (and father of one of them), I intend to challenge this blatantly sexist rule — hopefully with the help of KPLL. No little league should support such unsportsmanlike conduct. If MLB was attempting to discriminate based on race, the event would have been shunned immediately. How gender-based discrimination has been allowed to go unchecked is beyond me.
I think KPLL should tell MLB and Little League Baseball that the rule be changed to allow all baseball and softball players to compete in their chosen sports, and until it is changed (I doubt either organization will listen right away), KPLL should openly defy the rule or refuse to participate altogether. Otherwise, expect my daughter to be in the baseball division of the competition next year.
I know the girls on the Bulls would more than hold their own in Pitch, Run & Hit and I bet the same is true across KPLL. But that’s not the point. The point is if we want our players to become good teammates and citizens, we need to be good role models ourselves. Thousands of girls play baseball across the country and it isn’t fair to deny any of them the chance to compete.
Let me know your thoughts and how KPLL plans to proceed.
Stay tuned for updates!

Standing Up To Bullies

December 3, 2010

What do the Bristol-Warren School District (BWSD), a pair of NCAA Division I football programs, and WikiLeaks have in common? Not a whole heck of a lot, but they have each been the target of recent bullying and someone ought to stick up for them.

School Bullies

Patch reported that the BWSD will “participate” in the Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative, as if they had a choice in the matter. The truth is that, like every other district in the state, we could either implement the mandated changes solely on our dime or with help from a $75 million RTTT grant. What Patch mistakes for participation is actually the acceptance of bribe money, which will make it difficult for us to keep to the high road in future struggles with a Board of Regents and an Education Commissioner who are dead set on privatizing our public schools. In fact, we’re already sliding down the slippery slope: One aspect of the RTTT initiative, which is bound to suck up much of Bristol-Warren’s share of the grant, is a new student performance database… Because it somehow makes sense to slash a massive amount of state aid to our high-perfoming schools and replace only a fraction to invest in a computer system that will determine whether students are performing better. I’m sold. To which opportunistic vultures, I mean tech companies, shall we write the first check?

BCS Bullies

Boise St. and TCU have been the darlings of college football all season. Despite not being members of one of the six major conferences guaranteed spots in the lucrative post-season playoffs known as the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), the two squads hung with the big boys at the top of the rankings week after week. However, while both earned the right to play in the BCS, only TCU made the cut. Unfortunately, though one of just three undefeated teams remaining, they are still on the outside looking in at the title game between the other unbeatens: Oregon and Auburn.

These types of snubs are nothing new to the BCS. What’s novel are the lows that the big money schools and the NCAA will stoop to maintain their boondoggle. When it was becoming apparent that small conference schools might crash the BCS party, Ohio St.’s President called out Boise St. and TCU for not playing tough schedules, likening their competition to the Little Sisters of the Poor. Of course, he failed to mention that the schools’ strength of schedule numbers are comparable to his beloved Big Ten’s best teams.

Now, name calling is one thing, but cheating is a whole other ballgame. Auburn’s top player and possible Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, was suspended last month for being shopped around by his father in a proposed pay-to-play scheme with another university while the quarterback was a recruit. The subsequent NCAA investigation, which cleared Newton to play just prior to a big game with in-state rival Alabama, set an incredibly poor precedent by exonerating a player for wrongdoings committed on his behalf. If there was any integrity left in college sports, it’s surely gone now.

Gov’t Bullies

One might think WikiLeaks would be praised for publishing thousands of documents that reveal and/or verify criminal activity done in our country’s name by the government. Well, think again. (More on that in the next post.)

“Bully!”, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”

The problem that bullies have is, sooner or later, their dirty dealings and scare tactics stop working. The newly formed Bristol-Warren Parents’ Alliance isn’t afraid to let the state’s educaton deformers know that our district isn’t for sale, the Playoff PAC isn’t afraid to challenge the BCS in Washington, and the “hacktivists” aren’t afraid to bring down the Internet if it means protecting one of their own. It seems, suddenly, the Little Sisters of the Poor aren’t so little anymore.

Bristol Baseball’s Best

July 28, 2009

Frederick Ivor-Campbell

Only a few miles and nearly 125 years to the day from the start of one of the greatest feats in baseball history, the sport tragically lost one of its top ambassadors. On Friday, Frederick Ivor-Campbell was traveling on Route 195 E when his car was struck head-on by a westbound vehicle after its driver lost control and swerved across six lanes of traffic. Fred was pronounced dead at the scene, while his wife Alma was seriously injured in the crash. The news of his passing is being mourned by the thousands of loyal fans, friends, and colleagues across the country who had the honor of knowing him.

A former English professor at Kings College in New York, Fred Campbell was a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) for three decades and was, as the Bristol Phoenix described him in 1997, “one of the foremost experts on the origination and early days of baseball”. Fred wrote or edited several books including “Total Baseball – The Official Encyclopedia”, “Biographical Dictionary of American Sports”, and the Sporting News/SABR Award-winning “Baseball’s First Stars”. In addition to his fine research, Fred served in many official capacities for SABR, such as chair of the 19th Century Committee, member of the board of Directors, and Vice President. His tireless work ultimately earned him the group’s highest recognition, the Bob Davids Award, in 2003.

I first met Fred eleven years ago when he graciously shared his vast knowledge with a gritty bunch of ballplayers known as the Providence Grays Vintage Base Ball Club, while we prepared to recreate the sport the way it was played in Rhode Island back in 1884. As Fred explained to us at our first team meeting, that was when pitcher Charlie “Old Hoss” Radbourn did the impossible — leading his Providence Grays almost single-handedly to the National League pennant and first-ever World’s Series, winning an astronomical 59 games in the process! Today’s Grays, thanks much to Fred’s input, have been a pioneering force in the burgeoning sport ever since our first game on the Bristol Town Common in 1998. We, and the dozens of vintage clubs throughout the region that have followed, all owe a huge debt of gratitude to this kind, soft-spoken gentleman. With a youthful sparkle in his eye and loving wife by his side, Fred’s joy in watching the game, which he knew so intimately, being played on one of the nation’s oldest ball fields, was something special to behold. In his typical humble fashion, I’m sure he would claim this was repayment enough… but it’s not even close.

Like his favorite story of Old Hoss’ march toward immortality that he worked so hard to preserve, Frederick Ivor-Campbell’s memory should also be kept alive for future generations. However, just as a mid-season suspension of Radbourn was lifted on July 23, 1884 by Providence’s management after their only other pitcher jumped to another league, pressure must again be exerted on the powers that be in order for Fred to have his chance at lasting glory.

If the Bristol Athletic Hall of Fame can induct members who reached their prime as teenagers or whose impact was felt only at the local level, then surely there’s plenty of room for one of the most profound baseball intellectuals of his or any era — not to mention all of Bristol‘s other baseball greats missing from the plaques adorning the wall in the Town Hall. Indeed, not only are the two Bristolians who reached the majors absent from our Athletic Hall of Fame (that would be John Hamill and a player known only by the name of Sullivan in case you’re wondering), but so too is the best ballplayer to have ever called this town his home:

William Whyte

Billy Whyte was denied what certainly would’ve been a solid big league career simply because of the color of his skin!

In the above-mentioned Phoenix article, Frederick Ivor-Campbell coyly admitted he loved “seeing [his] name in print.” Well, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Fred, a person who filled so many minds and touched so many hearts with the history and wonder of our national pastime, than for him to see his name posthumously etched alongside the rest of Bristol baseball’s best.

Fred With The 2003 Bob Davids Award

He will be missed but hopefully never forgotten.