Letters to the Editor

Thanks for the support

Thank you for your support in the Democratic primary election. When I first ran for state representative six years ago, I promised to be available and responsive to you, to keep you informed and to support the values we Vermonters hold dear: a clean and safe environment, a high-quality educational system, a strong economy and a fair and affordable tax system. We have made progress on all of these fronts, but we still have a lot of work to do to achieve these goals, especially in the area of funding our education system with less reliance on property taxes. I will continue to work hard to make Vermont a great place to earn a living and raise a family.

Thank you again for your support, and I hope you will do so again in November.

Rep. Mike Yantachka

No respect for the game

For the past few years, Little League baseball across the country has been losing players. Most people blame it on other sports, but I have a different theory.

Little League Baseball is losing kids to other sports because the game of baseball is not being taught by adults who have a respect for the game. With a couple of exceptions, it is being taught by baseball illiterate, incompetent and unknowledgeable adults who don’t have a basic understanding of the game or its rules.

I’ve been involved in Charlotte/Shelburne Little League in one way or another for 22 years. I’ve raised money, coached and umpired. I’ve volunteered in Bristol, Connecticut, as media coordinator, umpire and uncle. I’ve seen this over and over again.

However, nowhere have I seen a more political organization than in Shelburne—with personal agendas and little knowledge of the game. Board members and coaches blast the volunteer umpires for not making the call to their liking. They protest but don’t explain to the kids what just happened on the field because they themselves lack the knowledge and respect for the game.

I ask you, would you want a teacher at Shelburne Community School or Charlotte Central teaching your kids about a subject when they don’t have a grasp of the material? Maybe that’s why baseball is losing today’s youth to other sports—the adults can’t translate actually how exciting baseball truly is.

This year, the All Star teams from Shelburne, Charlotte and Hinesburg (they are consolidated now) were able to have 14 players on the 9/10 and 11/12 year-old teams. However, the “insiders” who run this league decided to eliminate four kids and only have 12 on each team. Because of this, four children did not get to wear the shirt, the hat, the uniform and practice every day and be inspired to love baseball even more. Instead it is the private agenda of these board members not to facilitate the game for the over 250 children that participate but only the 24 or so who are their children to participate in post-season play.

Little League is for all youth within the borders of Shelburne, Charlotte and Hinesburg who wish to participate. Playing in post-season games is how the less-skilled players get better so they too may have a love and respect for the game. But we must insist that teachers of the game have the basic tools and understanding and respect for the game first.

As the local Little League by-laws state, every September there has to be an advertised, open meeting of the public for elections for the board. Please participate in this process. Go to the meeting and let your voice be heard for ALL of the kids. Please don’t allow these few baseball illiterate board members to continue to ruin this game. Go to the open meeting and get involved!

Vinny DeToma


One thought on “Letters to the Editor

  1. I largely disagree with perspective of Vinny DeToma in his recent letter to the editor, “No Respect For the Game.”

    I have sent two boys through Little League. I’ve been involved with the Charlotte/Hinesburg league and now the merged Charlotte/HInesburg/Shelburne league. I coached a team in the newly merged league in 2015.

    I strongly disagree with the characterization that our little league coaches are baseball illiterate, incompetent or unknowledgable, or lacking in a basic understanding of the game and rules. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised by the high level of baseball knowledge by these dedicated volunteers. I consider my knowledge of the game to be pretty good but found that other coaches had just as much and usually more knowledge.

    My father was involved in a baseball league for 39 years. I recognize the familiar grumbling. I surmise that all similar organizations have their share of persons with a “personal agenda.” We’ve all heard the stories of selfish coaches doing whatever is necessary to get their way or to ensure his team will be the winner. My experience has been that the local little league is a decent organization with hard-working volunteers trying to do the right thing. Volunteer coaches and league officials devote an astonishing amount of time and energy executing just one season with all it’s Little League requirements, staffing, procurement of equipment, registration, scheduling, field maintenance and many more logistical considerations. In the local league I have experienced the occasional over-enthusiastic coach, some typical groaning in response to bad calls by umpires, and what appears to unevenly distributed talent among teams. All this is pretty standard stuff for leagues. We are imperfect beings and the volunteers from the little league seem to be striving to address all that. If you’d like to hear it for yourself, talk to the league president, Tim Pudvar, one of the nicest persons you’ll meet in your lifetime.

    I realize that I may have just spent a lot of time addressing a perspective of one individual that I could have just ignored. However I’d like everyone to know that the local little league is comprised mostly of fair, decent, generous, and knowledgeable individuals who are volunteering their time and doing the best they can. Is there room for improvement in the Shelburne/Charlotte/Hinesburg little league? Yes, there is, and I hope the league solicits feedback that they can use to improve and already great organization. Is Mr. DeToma’s assessment accurate? I’ll bet most parents would say “no.”

    Rick Devine


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