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Sunday, Schmunday says Little League
2006-08-08 14:44
by Bob Timmermann

Via LA Observed, comes the story of the Snow Canyon Little League team of Utah that has had to forfeit an upcoming game in the Western Regional of the Little League World Series beceause the predominantly Mormon team would not play a game on Sunday.

"This is consistent with what Little League always does,'' Western Regional director Jim Gerstenslager said. "The problem with (accommodating Utah) is that it opens up a can of worms, where maybe you have a team with Seventh-Day Adventists and they can't play on Saturday or another religion can't play some other day. We have to draw the line somewhere.''

2006-08-08 15:11:29
1.   Steve
This is a tough issue, made tougher by my personal biases on the matter, but the fact that it's a tough issue means it deserves a less absurd response than this one. A team of Seventh-Day Adventists? Please.
2006-08-08 15:19:38
2.   Bob Timmermann
Even the NCAA basketball tournament tries to not have BYU play on Sundays.
2006-08-08 15:32:46
3.   Steve
There is a special rule that governs BYU, which is that they can only be in Thursday/Saturday brackets (Two schools have accommodation under the rule, bringing the NCAA to its very knees). The unwritten quo in the quid is that they always get a 12/13 seed regardless of the quality of their team. A couple of years ago, the committee screwed it up, which would have necessitated a historic bracket switch had BYU reached the Sweet 16 (and of course, it's no fun to not only get scheduled for Sunday, but get still get the underseed anyway). But Gerry McNamara scored 87 points against BYU in the first round and made it a moot point.
2006-08-08 15:37:33
4.   Bob Timmermann
Wasn't this 2003 when BYU lost to UConn in the first round?
2006-08-08 15:40:51
5.   Xeifrank
My feeling is that if they want to forfeit the game then so be it. If it's a simple scheduling change then accomodate them. If it gives their team an advantage or another team a disadvantage or completely messes up the schedule then don't accomodate them. Perhaps this issue should've been cleared up before the Utah team even qualified for the western regionals. If the problem had been identified earlier, Utah could've forfeited in the sectionals and let a different team advance to the regionals. It always sucks in a tournament when you lost to a team/person who ends up forfeiting in the next round. If no money is involved for advancing to the next round, just let the other team move on. vr, Xei
2006-08-08 15:42:38
6.   D4P
BTW: Is it surprising that Jeff Kent (among others) plays on Sundays...?
2006-08-08 17:11:22
7.   yankee23
Apparently Jaret Wright and Kyle Farnsworth are Mormons as well:

2006-08-08 17:12:21
8.   yankee23
Don't these guys usually take Sundays off?

2006-08-08 17:21:26
9.   Bob Timmermann
Not being an expert here, but isn't taking Sundays off for a Mormon, more or less like a Jew taking Saturday off? In other words, only the most devout will do so.
2006-08-08 17:22:19
10.   D4P
Can I then infer that Jeff Kent is not among the most devout?
2006-08-08 17:35:12
11.   Bob Timmermann
I didn't even know Jeff Kent was Mormon.
2006-08-08 17:43:49
12.   D4P
Bob 1567, D4P 1
2006-08-08 17:44:25
13.   Bob Timmermann
Is this part of your "Know Thy Enemy" campaign with Jeff Kent?
2006-08-08 17:48:51
14.   D4P
Let's put it this way: Jeff makes obedience to Matthew 5:43-44 a challenge
2006-08-08 18:36:55
15.   Vishal
[3] g-mac is a demigod here in syracuse.
2006-08-08 20:37:44
16.   Voxter
There was a time -- not so long ago, I don't think -- when the rule was that Little League games weren't played on Sundays by anybody, let alone Mormons. Most leagues ignored it (at in areligious Oregon) for practical reasons, but it was there.

I do remember that one of the best pitchers in the league when my younger brother was playing was the son of very strict Jewish parents. If you drew Food Value one a Saturday, you had lucked out, especially since he was pretty much their only good player.

Anyway, this sounds to me like something was screwed up before this tournament even started. If the Utah manager had made it clear that this was going to be a problem long before the tourney started, as he says he did, then something should have been done -- it makes no sense to punish a bunch of kids because it "opens up a can of worms". I'm not a big fan of religion in general, but this is dumb.

2006-08-08 21:26:31
17.   Steve
16's reaction is interesting, because outside of Utah, I find this to be the general opinion. It's not really strongly debated; people basically figure the game should be rescheduled because either:

1) Reasonable accommodations should be made to people of good will, because we would want to receive them in similar circumstances OR

2) Games should always be decided on the field and not by arbitrary means.

Now, within the state of Utah, this is a debate over which blood is spilt.

And the answer to 9 is pretty complicated, but I would lean toward the short answer "no." The answer to 10 is definitely "no," without making judgment as to Jeff Kent's devoutness one way or the other.

2006-08-08 21:37:08
18.   D4P
If the Sabbath is so important for little leaguers, why isn't it at least equally important for big leaguers...?
2006-08-08 22:03:44
19.   Steve
18 - I know you want to draw me into this, and I don't want to be in it. The little leaguers are making their own decision not to play. Jeff Kent (Steve Young, etc.) make their decision to play. Man has his moral agency and wields it.
2006-08-08 22:12:47
20.   D4P
Come on in, the water's fine...

So, guys like Kent aren't risking (e.g.) their "temple recommends" by playing on Sundays?

2006-08-08 22:35:54
21.   Bob Timmermann

I understand what you're getting at Steve. I posted the link because I thought it was an unfortunate decision by the Little League people.

I apologize if I made an inappropriate generalization about people of the Mormon faith.

2006-08-08 23:19:43
22.   Steve
Not at all, Bob. The answer to your question, like I said, is complicated. It may just be a matter of semantics, but mostly it is simply a matter of myself not wanting to make moral judgments of others when I fall short of the ideal myself.

Baseball judgments, well, those are a different issue.

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