Letter to the Editor
Dear HCB –
Great job with the sportsmanship article, especially in light of the recent NBA incident. Still, you missed out on a great opportunity with respect to the Babe Ruth League, New Jersey State Champs from the Flemington-Raritan Baseball League.
In 2004 this team of 14 year-olds and current Hunterdon High School freshmen won their second consecutive Babe Ruth League title. They then finished in third place in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, defeating the defending national championship team from the Bronx, New York in the process.
What made this team a perfect fit for your magazine is that, in addition to the team’s on-field success, the players consistently demonstrated the sportsmanship that you lament no longer exists in youth sports. The team received notes from opposing coaches and from the Babe Ruth League Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament director commending them for their exemplary behavior both on and off the field. Additionally, they gained the respect from the previously mentioned Bronx, New York team, which had experienced discrimination and poor sportsmanship over the previous two years of Babe Ruth League tournament play.
The Flemington team earned the Bronx team’s respect with their fine play on the field, but, more importantly, by how they treated them during and after the games. So much so that the Bronx team traveled all the way to Flemington last fall to play in a doubleheader scrimmage on a Sunday afternoon, that also featured a between-games pizza lunch.
Needless to say, this story would have been a perfect fit for your sportsmanship theme.
Flemington-Raritan Baseball League
Dear Tom –
HCB could not agree more with your assessment that sportsmanship can play a unifying role in baseball and in any competitive sport, for that matter. The champion players on your 14 year-old Babe Ruth League team may feel justly proud of their accomplishments on the field. By displaying sportsmanship, they became winners in the game of baseball as well as in the game of life. Likewise, you and your coaches may feel justly proud in the guidance and influence you have in the lives of these young people.
It is stirring examples such as this that others need to emulate, in baseball and in every sport, particularly at the youth league level. You may rest assured that HCB will devote a full measure of attention to the exploits of the young athletes in the FRBL. Please accept this invitation to continue providing information about the league, and the teams and players who comprise it.
In recognizing that youth baseball needs more models like those provided by the FRBL, HCB celebrates that fact that sportsmanship thrives when rational people respect the integrity of the game and those who participate in it – players, coaches, and umpires alike. We thank you for your contribution to the greatest game on earth, and we sincerely hope that others will follow the example that you have set. - HCB