Wilson Little League Players, Officials, Disappointed By Age Controversy
Posted August 31, 2001 11:08 a.m. EDT
WILSON — Little League star pitcher Danny Almonte is 14 years old, not 12, a Dominican official said Friday in a finding that could strip his team of its third-place finish in the World Series.
Young baseball players and administrators in Wilson expressed disappointment over the incident.
Everyone agrees that Danny Almonte is a great baseball player. During three games in the Little League World Series, the Bronx pitcher struck out 46 batters. Some say that performance is too good for a boy who is supposed to be a 12-year-old.
Brian Pollock and Tyler Davis played for Wilson in the Babe Ruth World Series in Wilson last week. The Babe Ruth World Series is not a part of the series Almonte played in. While they have never faced the New York pitcher, they both think the boys who did are probably upset.
Mickey Davis is director of the Wilson Youth Athletic Association, the organization that helped bring the Babe Ruth world series to Wilson.
"The scary part is it could happen to us, and it doesn't matter how many safeguards you have, because it's a black eye on all of us," Davis said.
So what can be learned from all this? Davis says the parents have the most to learn. While the overwhelming majority play by the rules and encourage their children in a positive fashion, a few here and there are willing to bend the rules to win.
"I think the biggest problem is the parents and coaches. It comes down to wins and losses, whatever it takes to win a game and that's really a shame. Kids just want to play ball," Davis said.
Letting them play for the fun of it, he says, is the best way to stay out of trouble.
Although the Wilson series required birth certificates to play, the director says dishonest parents can even find ways to around that.