Volume 74, Number 53 | May 11 - 17 , 2005

Red Team catcher Vincent Santvoord and his mother, Sandra

Manager dad melts down on Mother’s Day in G.V.L.L.

By Judith Stiles

Everyone was expecting a la-de-da Little League baseball game on Mother’s Day, until a team manager, a father, lost his temper and started cursing at the umpires. Mothers in the stands sat aghast, as they heard someone shout, “Call the police!” from within a huddle of arguing adults that had quickly formed near first base. Finger-wagging escalated into a shouting match when, suddenly, the statuesque umpire, Kevin Dorsey, held up both hands in the stop position, as he proceeded to talk everyone down in a steady voice that lowered the temperature of the fight.

“What’s going on? What happened?” asked one of the moms, annoyed that the tranquility of the day was broken. John Oliva, manager of the Blue Team in the Seniors Division of Greenwich Village Little League, had stepped out of the dugout and was reprimanded by umpire Glen Hinton for doing so. Being chided for stepping onto the field pressed a red-hot button for Oliva, who explained, “I am fed up with the G.V.L.L. umpires focusing on petty little rules such as having one foot out of the dugout.” Another father piped up, “But it’s a matter of safety to keep everyone in the dugout and it’s a rule!”

Dorsey took control of the situation and ejected Manager Oliva from the game, and, without police intervention, Oliva voluntarily walked out of Pier 40. “I had no choice but to eject him,” said Dorsey calmly shaking his head, as he ordered the resumption of play. The official Little League rule book states that “the umpire has the authority to disqualify any player, coach or a manager for unsportsmanlike conduct or language and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field.”

Up until this point, the top of the third inning, the score had held at 0-0 for the 15-year-old boys playing against each other on the Red Team and the Blue Team. In this division there are no fancy names, just colors, including a Black Team and Green Team. After Reid Daniels of the Reds had cranked out a single to first, he managed to steal second, then third and then on a wild pitch that got behind the catcher, Daniels boldly stole home inching up the score to 1-0 in favor of the Reds.

In the bottom of the third, Coach Joe Lubin took over the orphaned Blues when batter Jonadel hit a whopper so far out into left field that the ball got tangled in an idle soccer net, which robbed him of a home run, because balls hit under the bleachers, into the soccer nets or into the adjacent soccer field yield only a double, according to the rulebook.

Later, on a sacrifice fly, Jonadel went home to bring the score to 1-1. With two outs and two strikes and two men on base, Reds second baseman Jesse Avino-Towsen scooped up a hit as he tumbled to the right of second base, and then with his body stretched out on the ground, he managed to tag the runner out at second for the third out. Notably in the top of the fourth inning, the Reds’ Vincent Santvoord, after being walked, managed to steal second and then third. Because he had to suit up as catcher very soon, pinch runner Josh Ben Yaish who is known for his speed, took over for Santvoord and stole home, as his mother jumped up in a nanosecond exclaiming, “That’s my boy!”

The game continued at a good clip with stellar pitching for the Reds by Sam Weiser, who also plays for the United Nations School. Reds left fielder Devin Erickson-Sheehy made a spectacular catch for the second out in the bottom of the fourth inning, which was followed by a perfect throw from Reds shortstop Aaron Greenwald to first baseman Daniels, for the third out. The game was ended by the clock after the fifth inning with a final score of 8-6 in favor of the Reds, and even though they should have played seven innings, time was up and they had to clear the field for the next game.

Blues Ricky Rodriguez was wondering “What if?” after the game was over, and rightfully so, because Ricky got robbed of two home runs when he was forced to hold at second because his first whopper fly ball went into a soccer game, and then his second big hit dropped into a lacrosse game. What if they had played on the grassy fields of Central Park and those hits had been homeruns? Would the game have ended 8-8 or even played on to seven innings?

With the Green Team itching to take over the field and start their game, the Reds and the Blues lined up to shake hands, minus the Blues manager, who had not pulled a Bobby Valentine disguise to return for the rest of the game. A flock of mothers came down from the bleachers to congratulate their sons on a game well played, as a woman could be heard in the background muttering, “You see! That’s why I always say, watch your language!” This is perhaps a motherly aphorism that will echo in the ears of the Blues’ manager the next time he feels like cursing the ump.

Devil Rays vS. Marlins

When David Heffernan came to the plate with two runners on and his Devil Rays team trailing 8-7, the Marlins coaches could be heard yelling “back a couple steps” to their outfielders. His time at bat before he had hit a long RBI single to tie the game at 3 all. But “a couple steps” were not nearly enough, as Heffernan smashed a homerun to left field to lead the Rays to a 10-8 victory in Greenwich Village Minor League play. David Johnson pitched a scoreless final inning to close out the victory. Angus Smith scored two runs and Jonathan Lane had two hits and a run batted in for the victors. The star of the game for the Marlins was James Goldfarb, who drove in two runs and made an acrobatic catch at first base and scrambled back to the bag before the base runner to record an unassisted double play. Martha Strautman and Aidan Perret each drove in a pair of runs for the Marlins, while Wyatt Frank contributed some fine defense at shortstop.

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