'What's with postponements?' umpire asks

SIDELINES

June 26, 1992|By Pat O'Malley

Let's lead off this session of "Q's without A's" with an unhappy camper and remind you to call the 24-Hour Sportsline, 647-2499, with your responses, questions or answers of your own.

"What is going on?"

That's the "Q" from a disgusted Jack Kramp, the Anne Arundel Baseball Umpires chief. Kramp is upset over the postponing and rescheduling fiasco in Anne Arundel's 18-and-under Connie Mack and American Legion leagues.

"It's really bad, gotten totally out of hand," said Kramp, who has changed at least 30 games in that age bracket already this season.

"[Coaches] call up and say their best players are down the ocean, so they can't play so and so today; and then, I have to track down the assigned umpires and tell them 'no game' that night.

"Then, they call back the night before they want to make up the game and expect me to assign umpires. It's really ridiculous, and I'm fed up. I never had high blood pressure until I had to start dealing with this garbage the last couple years."

Kramp was livid Monday afternoon after receiving more postponements from Connie Mack coaches unable to field teams for one reason or another.

"Either they want to play baseball or they don't," said Kramp. "Somebody has got to do something about this because I'm tired of changing games. . . . Either they play or forfeit, or we might start boycotting games."

Talk to any coach in either league and they express their concerns over the constant game changes and all the various reasons for players not showing up.

"It could be a really good league if we could stop all of this and get the teams to play their scheduled games," said Mayo Post No. 226 coach Bernie Walter.

Veteran umpire Frank "Jocko" Svoboda is concerned that Kramp will throw in the towel.

"Let me tell you something, if this county lost Jack, our baseball program would be in big trouble," said Jocko. "There is no one else who could handle all these problems the way he does.

"He must spend 24 hours a day on the phone. . . . These coaches better be careful, because they could ruin a good thing."

Will someone tell me why guys sign up to play and then don't show up? Should the county disband the 18-and-under age group or start charging forfeits and making them pay the fine before they can play again?

* As for the man who called the Sportsline late Sunday and asked how I could criticize those not fulfilling scheduled games and "in the next breath criticize the Severna Park Legion players for leaving an exhibition game [High School Seniors All Star Classic at Joe Cannon Stadium] to meet their commitment at Arundel High to play Mayo Post, a scheduled game," let me explain.

Those who left early were going to meet their commitment to a regularly scheduled game, set for 8:30 p.m. at Arundel High, about 15 minutes from the stadium in Harmans.

The point was, they could have stayed until the end of the all-star game, rather than leave early for batting practice two hours before the start of the league game. Mayo coach Walter and his players stayed for the conclusion of the all-star game, then went to Arundel to play their Legion game.

What I was trying to say was that a lot of people on the Friends of Joe Cannon Committee were trying to do something nice for the high school seniors and certain people didn't seem to appreciate it.

* How about the tournament Davidsonville's Kevin Gibbs had playing for Team Maryland in the Sun Belt Classic at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater?

Named to the All-Tournament Team as on outfielder, Gibbs, who attended St. John's High in the Washington area, hit a robust .412 (7-for-16) and set a tournament record, successfully stealing all 11 of his attempts.

Gibbs led Team Maryland to a 4-2 record, including a 5-2 loss in the final to Florida. Gibbs had three hits with four stolen bases and a run scored in the finale.

Selected on the 44th round of the June free agent draft by the Boston Red Sox, Gibbs has accepted a full baseball scholarship to Old Dominion University. Gibbs said before the Sun Belt Classic that the Bosox planned to watch him closely in the tournament and then again at the U.S. Junior Olympic trials in Iowa before making him a serious offer.

The smooth outfielder could turn pro this summer.

Did you know that Gibbs' dad, Ed Gibbs, coaches the Annapolis 15-and-under Babe Ruth summer team that also plays in the Anne Arundel County 16-and-under Joe E. Brown League?

"I'm amazed at the lack of fundamentals the kids from the South County high schools have," said Coach Gibbs. "These kids are obviously not getting much instruction at the JV level at any of the South County high schools."

* If you get around the county to see the local baseball diamonds, do you agree that the out-going Joe McCann rec and parks regime made a colossal mistake by putting in so many deplorable dirt infields rather than grass?

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