SPORTS & MORE: ITALIAN SHORTSTOP BRINGS BACK MEMORIES

A Little League World Series Game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. WIKIPEDIA/Contributed

I got caught the other day watching a Little League game on TV between Italy and Chinese Taipei. I was impressed with an Italian player who made TV-highlight-worthy plays, one at shortstop, the other at second base. Both were line drives, headed for the outfield that one guy dove for and caught. He was no older than 12. I watched through two rain interruptions, but left during the third delay. Taipei won, 2-0, I later learned. It brought up memories from way back. When I was a kid, the man who ran the youth baseball programs in my small town of Cambridge, Ohio, was Doc Thompson. 

Mr. Thompson called a meeting to see if we should join this group out of Williamsport, Pennsylvania that was trying to organize a national youth baseball program that would end up with a national championship to be played in Williamsport. Since we didn’t join, I would guess we couldn’t afford it.

Instead, we continued to play our games at spacious City Park, where I once slammed a ball that neither the shortstop nor the left fielder could get to. It went for what is now called a “little

league home run.” I played baseball into my high school years, but that “home run” continues to be the highlight of my career.

In short, I wasn’t a very good hitter. But I have wondered if I could have been if I had known  about — and worn — batting gloves. Gloves on both hands that would have taken the sting out of the ball hitting the bat. It was my own bat. I delivered papers, I went door to door selling vegetables from our victory garden. I mowed six yards each week. That’s how I had the dollar or so to buy the least expensive bat in the store. But it stung when the ball hit it. I can still feel it. Gloves. You can tell I still think about it.

I’M HAVING TROUBLE understanding what happened with Deshaun Watson. He has, supposedly, attempted to get 24 female masseuses to commit sexual actions on him. Twenty-four women charged him with illegal sexual misconduct or abuse. It was reported that 23 of the 24 had settled with the quarterback. Even though he says, “I’ll continue to stand on my innocence.” Well, money was not an issue. Watson, once he was traded to the Cleveland Browns, had plenty of money. Not just thousands, but millions. Twenty-four women accused Watson of urging them to provide him with sexual satisfaction. That’s 24 women who went to court. Twenty-three of them settled with Watson.

I have been wondering how much was enough for the 23 masseuses. Was it not enough for the 24th? Was there some other reason that kept the 24th from settling? We wonder.

Meanwhile, former judge Sue L. Robinson, who was assigned to the case by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, decided six months was not enough of a suspension for Watson. No financial fine. Just six games of 17 plus any playoff games. Why did the commissioner not set the suspension himself? He must have wondered this himself as the “NFL” appealed the result. The commissioner handed the appeal to former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. But before a new result, such as a year’s suspension, which is what the commissioner said aloud that he wanted, came down, the two sides, Watson’s National Football Players Association and the NFL lawyers, reached a “compromise” – 11-game suspension, $5 million fine and directives that supposedly will make him a better man. It should cost Watson $5.69 million.

In the meantime, while Watson is hiding off in the woods, the second-string quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, will be playing at least 11 games for the Browns. I have come to my own numbers. What if Brissett directs the Browns to victory in eight of 11 games? I think that’s enough success to keep Brissett and let Watson think about what he’s done for the rest of the season while Brissett keeps playing. If it’s only 7 of 11, then bring on the alleged predator.

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Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.