Back to the basics

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August 19, 2013 by kujhawk

Little Leaguers are showing the pros how its done, at least in the sportsmanship department.

By Evan Dunbar

It’s that time of year again – the time of year when baseball takes center stage in the sports world.

Playoff races in Major League Baseball are heating up, and the Little League World Series is in full swing, capturing the attention of fans all over the world. But you might be surprised to hear that it isn’t the 12 and 13 year-old little league players who are making the game look sloppy, but rather, the professionals.

In the Red Sox-Yankees game Sunday night, Ryan Dempster hit New York slugger Alex Rodriguez during his at-bat in the second inning. Only, it took him three pitches to do so. After throwing behind him and very far inside, Dempster plunked A-Rod on his left leg, causing heated words and warnings to both teams from the home plate umpire. Yankees manager Joe Girardi then approached the umpire and proceeded to scream profanities at him while arguing that Dempster should have been ejected. He was not.

Later in the game, Rodriguez got his revenge, hitting a home run that sparked a New York rally and sharing some words – words that I can’t put in print – with Dempster.

How it should be

Now let’s talk about a scenario that happened just the day before in the Little League World Series. I can’t recall this as vividly as the Red Sox-Yankees incident, because this did not make national news.

A player for a team was pitching a great game. He threw a fastball and the batter hit a line drive right back to the pitcher, hitting him in the leg and knocking him down. After reaching first base, he ran over to the mound and stayed by the pitcher’s side while trainers looked at him. After he received the O.K. to resume pitching, the batter shook his hand, apologized and went back to first while the crowd applauded wildly.

Now that is what I call sportsmanship. It is something that is lacking in professional leagues today. You see so much show-boating, that it is now a penalty in some sports to celebrate success. You see fighting and yelling and foul language and ejections and people not caring how they represent themselves and it is a shame.

Not just the pros

Yes, there are exceptions to this trend, but you see a lot more fights and unsportsmanlike conduct between players now on ESPN then you do good deeds and kindness. Maybe this trend is the reason we see more players getting arrested on assault charges and battery charges and theft and drug and DUI charges. Not just professionals, but college players too.

Just last week, Alabama cornerback Geno Smith was arrested on a DUI charge. He was penciled in as a starter for the Crimson Tide, but will now most likely watch from the sidelines as his future is determined.

And another player from the state of Alabama, this time Auburn, was also arrested last week. Demetruce Neal, a safety for the Tigers was dismissed from the team after his arrest for possession of marijuana.

What kind of example are these players setting for the next wave of young athletes who will be in their shoes in the next few years? A terrible one. Maybe I am just old-fashioned, but if you want to see shining examples of what sportsmanship and good character is, go and turn on the Little League World Series for a few minutes tomorrow. I guarantee you will see something that will put a smile on your face and show you that there is still hope for the next generation of athletes. These kids could show Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Dempster a thing or two about what sportsmanship really is.


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