What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Try not to let that headline shake your faith in humanity. I know it’s hard to admit that something as innocent as Little League baseball might be fraught with corruption.
In case you didn’t realize it, that was pure sarcasm. Every year, I watch the Little League World Series if for no other reason that to spot the kids who look like they drove themselves to the ballpark. That’s why I’m not surprised at all to see this about last year’s feel good story from Williamsport.
Another of Jackie Robinson West’s rival teams is calling for an investigation into cheating allegations against the Little League World Series’ U.S. champs — but it still doesn’t sound like Little League International is going to budge. In the latest story to come out of Chicago, an official from a neighboring league is publicly calling for the main Little League headquarters to investigate Jackie Robinson West, even though Little League has said multiple times it considers the case closed.
Let me give you some back story here in case you aren’t glued to the inner-working of the Chicago Little League. A Little League official from Evergreen Park last month publicly accused Jackie Robinson West of recruiting players from outside its district and said he wants the team stripped of its title. Then, the word got out that prior to the 2014 season, a Little League administrator in Chicago’s District 4 approved a new district map that helped Jackie Robinson West load its team up with star players. The problem was that no other team in the district approved the map, which according to the league’s by-laws was a necessary step.
So, now a blogger named Mark Konkol is looking to become the “Woodward and Bernstein” of the Chicago Little League.
Ricardo Coleman, the vice president of Rosemoor, the league immediately east of Jackie Robinson West, told DNAinfo.com he was informed that his league neither knew about nor approved the boundary change. The change was signed off on by Michael Kelley, administrator for the District 4 umbrella group of six leagues that included Rosemoor and Jackie Robinson West.
Coleman also called on Little League International to investigate, becoming the first member of a District 4 league to do so publicly.
“I can tell you 200 percent that we didn’t sign off on that map,” Coleman said.
What I discovered while researching this is none of the complaining about Jackie Robinson West mean a damn thing unless Little League International (LLI) decides to launch an investigation. That isn’t likely to happen because:
On top of that, we all know what risks Little League International face if they launch an investigation. First, Jackie Robinson West had financial support from big leaguers. It would follow reason that those same big-leaguers could kick over some cash to fund a legal fight if LLI looked into stripping JRW of it’s U.S. title.Then there’s the public relations nightmare which could come into play. These kids got treated like rock stars for six weeks. They made appearances at Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs games. They got to attend the World Series. They got to go to the White House and getan audience with President Obama. The minute anybody tries to take that away, somebody will trot some kid crying about how his memoriesare being ruined, and suddenlyLLI looks like the schoolyard bully who picks on the handicapped kid.Now it’s “elephant in the room” time. You know damn good and well that if anybody investigatesJRW, and then we find out some other team did the same thing and didn’t get investigated the racism charge will come into play.
Given all that, there’s no way LLI is going to do anything about these allegations. They have already refused to release documents about the district re-mapping to the local league officials in Chicago or to the media, even after they got hit with the old “if you don’t have anything to hide…” routine. That’s why LLI spokesman Brian McClintock reiterated the matter was closed.
“We have not looked the other way simply to avoid the situation or come up with a particular conclusion,” McClintock wrote in an e-mail. “Given the information made available to us, understanding that not one complaint or dispute from any league arose in Illinois District 4 during the height of the 2014 season or during the tournament season, coupled with the fact that all players have been deemed eligible by 2014 residency or school enrollment requirements, Little League still considers this matter closed.”
Naturally, that leaves some people believing Little League just isn’t interested in the truth. They are, but not in the truth the JRW detractors would like. The ugly truth is baseball is a dying sport in the inner-city, and JRW is all about changing that. That means baseball organizations at all levels will be willing too look the other way at a lot of stuff if they can get the game to have an urban presence again. Nevertheless, the JRW detractors have started an online petition asking for “Justice for Little League.”
To prove nobody cares about this, at the time the Konkol blog was published, it had 81 signatures.