I think they have quite a few kids to check out, so it makes it easy to miss someone. But by the time the teams get to the LLWS, or at least the qualifiers, you'd think LL would check them out thoroughly, especially after last year.
-The Big Kat "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care." -Peter Gibbons, Office Space
Each individual LL is supposed to check all of this stuff out before their seasons start. This would tend to solve a lot of their problems before they start. But you would think that after Danny Almonte last year and that Taiwan team that won the title(only to have them stripped of it and given to Long Beach) that folks would be a little more studious in making sure that their papers are in order.
I don't know, it sounds tough to me. They're Little League, not the FBI. Isn't it just ran by volunteers, at least on the local level (we didn't have the official Little League around here, I think it was called Dixie Youth, but that was just ran by parents and volunteers locally)? These people have other jobs, and are not paid. They have better things to do than track down each kids' home. In fact, wouldn't that be what they would have to do, visit the homes? I mean, you can have all the paperwork you want, but it's not that hard to produce anything needed if you really want to cheat. Simply need an address of a grandmother, cousin, friend of the family, etc. and claim you live with them. And I quite frankly think the locals around here would have a cow if a league went to far in investigating such things, invasion of privacy and such.
What's sad is that people are so willing to cheat at something that in the end is ultimately so unimportant (it's not like there is big money to the winners or anything, just an appearance on ABC). In fact, by cheating, it removes all importance that it does have, pride.
There is a simple problem that is pervasive in both the Danny Almonte case and the case this year...
Excessive television coverage.
Do a squad of 12 year olds need to be televised in the LLWS sub-regionals, regionals, and all throughout the LLWS itself? I doubt it. It's a game. Played by kids. Grade schoolers, fer cryin out loud. When you put this much television on this type of event, you breed Al Bundy types looking to capture glory from their youth, either real or imagined, by bending the rules and placing unneccesary pressure on 12-13 boys to win, win, win.
"Your solitude is welcome, welcome... Your attitude is welcome, welcome!"
Guess there was something we should have all thought about. Just because there is an accusation doesn't mean there was actual wrong-doing. The Little League has verified that all the players are eligible. Much ado about nothing.
Yet Another Moment That Redeems My Faith In Human Decency:
During today's Harlem/NC game, Jack Edwards and the other announcer apologized for making a big deal of Fernando Frias calling his shot in an earlier game. They said it's just kids having fun, they shouldn't make as big of a deal of it as they did. A little unnecessary, if you ask me, but it's good to see.
I don't really want to debate his hall of fame merits right now ... but if he gets in, I will wish then that it had happened this year. Wright Thompson at ESPN has a nice column (sports.espn.go.com) up about O'Neil that I would point anyone to.