Lawsuits, tobacco don#039;t belong at ballparks

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another youth baseball season is underway in Greenville and most towns across the country by now.

The girls will kick off the softball season this Saturday, so it's ironic that my wife, Wendy, found this article the other day.

The Associated Press article was based in Arcadia, Calif., where an attorney filed a $3 million lawsuit against his daughter's softball coach for &#8220inflicting emotional distress” on a player and other players because the coach basically scolded the children for making mistakes during a game.

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Just then you thought that lawsuits could go too far, here's another one.

In the suit, the father alleged that coach Don Riggio &#8220took advantage of his position of authority to engage in an abusive pattern of excessive intimidation and humiliation of the female players, frequently calling them idiots and belittling them for minor errors.”

Calling a teenage softball player a &#82202-year-old” now constitutes a lawsuit?

Man, I can only wonder what a lawsuit would go for if a coach called a player soft or a sissy. Better yet, what if that coach dropped a four-letter word?

Parents have just gotten out of hand.

I remember being called everything but a child of God sometimes for making a common mistake, but I didn't seek counsel to file a lawsuit.

It was comforting to know that even Superior Court Judge Jan Pluim saw how ridiculous this lawsuit was.

In her written March 14 decision to dismiss the case, she said that she saw nothing wrong with &#8220a coach pushing an athlete to excel, and in so doing, using words that in another context would be considered rude, demeaning and even intimidating.”

If a child can't take some criticism or scolding in his or her teenage years, what in the world will they do when they reach adulthood? Will daddy file a lawsuit because his daughter was scolded by her boss because she made a mistake or was late to work?

I guess I shouldn't have written that, I may have just planted the seed to another obscure lawsuit.

Luckily in Greenville the coaches within the parks and recreation department have got to be some of the best I've seen.

They get their point across, but are always encouraging. If I had a son or daughter, I would certainly want them to play for any of these coaches.

If there is any fault I find with some of the coaches within the parks and recreation department it would be the use of smokeless tobacco by those coaches around young players.

I remember growing up as a horrible little league baseball player that I wanted to be just like one of those tobacco juice-spitting players I saw on TV.

They had that huge chaw of tobacco in their mouth with the juice just dripping from their lips. They would take a couple chews and then spit what seemed to be a mile.

While most of us who were about 10 or 11 at the time weren't into smokeless tobacco, it didn't preclude us from putting a huge chaw in our mouths.

At that time a bubble gum company put out a brand of gum that was shredded up and put in a pouch similar to chewing tobacco. I think that brand is still around.

So if you wanted to be a hotshot, you would put a pouch in your back pocket and let everyone see you put a wad into your mouth like the big-league players did.

Smokeless tobacco is banned from high school and college baseball events and, I think it's time that the recreation coaches here in Greenville need to put the tobacco away and trade the chaw for sunflower seeds or bubble gum.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of the Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail