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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

home : opinions : columns October 4, 2015

7/19/2013 6:00:00 AM
TIMES EDITORIAL: Little League officials blew big call

The recent "scandal" that forced Little League officials to move the senior league championships from Blythe to Yuma was totally overblown and exaggerated.

According to Little League officials, Kingman parents had been warned that if Kingman won the game against Blythe, they'd need to be armed or have a police escort to get out of town.

No one from Kingman ever stepped forward to verify they actually heard the threat or point out who made it. And we can only wonder why, if such a threat was made, why they didn't they report it to the Blythe Police and make a report. If someone truly feels threatened, one would think that would be the correct course of action to take, wouldn't one?

Furthermore, it was alleged that threatening text messages were sent from Blythe people to Kingman parents, another allegation that was never proven. If actual text messages had been sent, why were they not handed over to the police as well?

In a story in the Kingman Daily Miner, this is what the Kingman coach had to say about the threats prior to the game being moved:

"That may be rumored. I don't know if that is fact. That's just going with the texting between everybody, but that's basically what it is," [Rick] Ogborn said. "Somebody called somebody else and threatened that if we win tonight that we would need a police escort out of town."

So there you have it - even the Kingman coach who complained the loudest, didn't have anything more than rumors to go on as did the Donna West, the District 9 administrator, and Oscar Lopez, Kingman South Little League president. It was a rumor they heard that had no basis in fact.

And it was the Blythe players, parents - and all of us in Blythe - who received an undeserved black eye and loss of local revenue to our hotels and restaurants as these over-reactive officials slandered our town and moved the games from Blythe to Yuma.

While it's only a game, and the Blythe kids, who travel miles and miles to engage in just about every sport they play, are resilient enough to deal with this injustice, the fact that Kingman and other Little League officials would do damage to our town's reputation based on what they admitted were only rumors, leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who worked so hard to create an atmosphere of good will and sportsmanship as hosts of the senior league tournament... and all Blythe residents as well.

Kingman, District 9 Little League and every level of the Little League program that was involved in this decision owes our town an apology and a promise that this scandalous behavior will never happen again. There are bad parents on both sides of the field and if any of them makes threats, they should be immediately reported to the police, investigated and arrested if the allegations prove true.

Until then though, rumors are just that, rumors, and not a reason to smear the hardworking kids, coaches, parents and residents of a community some may have a personal dislike for.

The opinion expressed is that of the Palo Verde Valley Times

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@Donna W. It appears that you have about the same information as to what happen with those threats as we do. As you said that you have no reason to apologize because you did nothing wrong. You only did what someone higher up told you to do.

Then why bother explaining to us if you know nothing and did nothing wrong, and have no authority to do anything.

In Which case you put yourself in the middle, and did nothing but add fuel to the fire.

Since you know the higher ups it would have been nice if you could have gotten a better explanation, and also what they will do different if this ever happens again. My bad here I go again asking you to get in the middle of this when it is Not Your Job.

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: @ donna west

Thank you for volunteering your time and it is understood now that the situation is out of your control. I am sure though that you would know who the complaints should be directed to then. If you do not can you please find out and let them know or tell the people of this town who needs to be contacted to get to the bottom of this situation. I have no stake in this fight myself but I do remember as a child on all star teams how badly the kids of blythe were treated and how there was always negativity surrounding us when we did nothing wrong. Seems like the bullies always like to pick on the little kid on the block.

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: Donna West

I have no authority to punish anyone that comes from much higher than my VOLUNTEER status. I make no apologies because I have done nothing but do what I was instructed to do by once again by someone much higher than my volunteer status. I cannot say who's fault it is other than what I stated earlier... parents...As far as an explanation itis merely to try and have people understand this situation.

Unfortunately most people who comment were not there or do not know what took place.

No one said don't make comments but some of these comments are ridiculous and low. Comments like that fuel something that again is caused by the PARENTS.

The season is over the boys did a great job. Can everyone at least give them that instead of all the negativity??!!
Both of these towns are in my District I am not on either side I am merely a neutral party doing what I was instructed.

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Article comment by: Crazy Town

Thank You Donna, it IS usually the parents that ruin these games for the kids. If there were threats made, it is surely not a stretch to say the kids making them, learned it from somewhere. I have read a couple of comments from what I would assume to be adults, that show us just where this behavior starts.

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Article comment by: Richard Contreras

District Administrator Donna West, you are correct, it is a game for the kids, Good Sportsmanship should always be at the top of a Coaches and Parents list. seems to me, everyone got carried away with this incident, Parents, Coaches, Presidents, District Administrator. If there was ever a concern about Safety, there could have been a couple of officers there to watch the game and ensure the safety of everyone. Easy solution that should have been followed. I just hope this never happens again. Just remember, an overreaction, only makes the situation look worse then it is.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@Donna West. No apologies from your end? Then why the long winged explanation coming from your end? So what this amounts to it's not my fault it's theirs and all of yours fault. So let's just push it under the rug. So any other comments from people constitutes adding fuel to the fire.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: @ donna west

You are one hundred percent correct in saying that there was not time before the game to investigate the accusations. With that being said there now is plenty of time to look into the accusations and find out if there is any truth or not. What you have to understand is that there are people in this community that take pride in our town and would like to know if we have a problem that needs to be addressed or if our towns name was wrongfully dragged thru the mud. If you find that the complaints were not justified then you should punish those that made them. You say parents should just stay out of it but I believe it was the kingman parents that complained not those from Blythe so I hope you have made the same complaints to them in their local paper. Fair is fair and getting the truth out is the least you can do for our community! I imagine we will hear nothing else though.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: DONNA WEST

Sadly in order to answer/explain everything in the article 300 words just cannot do it.

These boys finished their game on Monday and had to be in Dewey-Humboldt the next day. Investigations take time and unfortunately there was no time.

The bottom line is the game was moved to a neutral place it was not moved to hurt any league or town. Enough with the black eye etc this is a game for the kids and the adults are the ones who always ruin it for them.

It would be a great game with no parent interference.

Everyone can make all the accusations they like it will never change anything all it will keep doing is adding fuel to the fire. If the parents cannot behave the players sadly are the ones who always suffer.

There will be no apology from this end. Maybe next time the parents will seriously think before starting whether they believe them to be rumors or not. Parents Stay out of it and quit eggin the players on.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: DONNA WEST

To All the bottom line is parents and presidents made phone calls and sent emails stating that they were worried about their players due to something that some parents had heard.

Though some of you would like to think that there is plenty of time to start calling around, interviewing people, making police reports etc the time is just not there.

If parents had proof of being threatened then they could have gone to the police, what would the outcome of been? Again time is needed for even the police to check these things out.

Whether some would like to think that a call was blown by moving the tournament that is your opinion, everyone is entitled to one.

The last two games were great games there was a little chirping at the end which was to be expected with a title on the line. Players who made a few remarks were asked politely to show good sportsmanship no matter the outcome and did.

Without being at the games in Blythe nothing can be confirmed. Everyone needs to tell these players what great games they played and leave the situation alone.

District Administrator

Next time maybe ALL parents and Presidents will be more cautious in what is said and actually produce evidence before they go off the handle. Whoever notified the paper and gave the story is at fault too.

Due to both presidents from kingman writing emails and parents is exactly why the game was moved. It is not LL job to investigate that would have taken days-more than we had to get these games off.

whoever started about the texts etc should have came forward with proof.

This ordeal is over the last couple games went well the boys moved on and its done.

Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013
Article comment by: PROOF READ YOUR ARTICLE

Thank you for at least changing the location to Yuma! Thank you Mr. Smith that is exactly what occurred. I understand that they are 15 and 16 year olds, but coaches and league officials have a duty to act when this behavior occurs. I don't think Kingman wanted the location changed I think they wanted to make sure their were security measures in place in case anything did occur.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: dale smith

Sorry Blythe parents.... I was at the game on Monday and Wed . I hear the Blythe boys making really bad comment when the other team were up to bat. The Blythe teams saying thing that their coach should have stop. So no I think Blythe got what they ask for. Seem like the Parents and coaches are to blame for not telling the kids enough.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: PROOF READ YOUR ARTICLE

Please proof read your "EDITORIAL"! The game was not changed to Kingman it was changed to Yuma. If you would of had a reporter their this editorial would not have been needed. You are adding fuel to the fire when it is not needed. The first article is completely taken from the Kingman paper the only changes was that of the heading. Do your own research instead of copying and pasting a complete article. I have friends that live in Kingman and also in Blythe, Ripley and Palo Verde. The text messages were Kingman people to Kingman people NOT Blythe people to Kingman people. The threats were over heard as Kingman families were leaving the ballpark when Blythe beat Mohave Valley. While you are doing your research find out why a Blythe adult was escorted off the ballpark in Bullhead City at the 11-12 tournament by the Bullhead City Police Department. Please DO NOT add fuel to the fire!

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Mark Gentle

I recently relocated from Blythe to Long Beach for work. I was an umpire in the Blythe Little League for two seasons. I can only say I am shocked that such allegations could be made about a such a dedicated group of people. The coaches, umpires, Little League officials and parents that I came to know exhibited first class sportsmanship and were dedicated to providing the sound program that exists for the future young men of their community. I have nothing but respect for everyone asociated with Blythe Little League. Keep doing what you are doing because you do it well.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

It appears now that some will back paddle and say it was he,she heard something from someone,and he heard it from someone else.
OK. Now that, that is out of the way. Some people that took this all the way to the top should now do their part in cleaning this up.

Also the people at the top that made the decision to change the venue of the game should also be held responsible for the actions they took. As to why they did so without first demanding any proof or going to the Police and filing a report.

If I was one of these people that believed in conspiracy's. I would say that all of this was done by a few people with the knowledge of the people at the top, that had the power to change the venue of the game. That is why the police were never involved.

A big letter of public apology in the Yuma, Kingman, and Blythe Newspapers. From these people should run for 6 weeks.

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