KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One youth baseball president said he will have to address the issue of sportsmanship when his league’s games begin due to a recent rash of fights on the field by the Royals.
League administrator for the North Kansas City Area Baseball Mike Cantwell said that nearly 3,500 kids play ball in that Northland league and the young players will be talking about the Royals and their trio of fights in the coming weeks.
Cantwell said many of his league’s young players were watching the game Thursday night when Royals Pitcher Yordano Ventura and White Sox Outfielder Adam Eaton started jawing, and within seconds, benches cleared and fists started flying.
“It’s a good lesson learned to the player that this is not how we’d like to carry ourselves. There’s a better way to be a sportsman,” Cantwell said.
Cantwell said his league keeps sportsmanship in mind at all times. The league even requires coaches and umpires to attend a positive coaching training course. Part of that program involves player fighting and how to keep young athletes out of trouble.
Dr. Andrew Jacobs is a sports psychologist based in the metro, and worked on the Royals medical staff on two occasions. Dr. Jacobs says players like Ventura must handle adversity more proactively, since three opponents — the White Sox, Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — have all shown that the Royals can be rattled.
“(Ventura is) a young player with tremendous talent, but he has to handle his emotions better. He’s being challenged by these other teams,” Dr. Jacobs said.
“They need to learn how to handle the emotions and they’re a target now by other teams and they’re going to be egged on and challenged. The positive is I think this is going to make this team even tighter.”
Major League Baseball has yet to discipline players involved in Thursday night’s fight in Chicago. For now, the Royals series against the White Sox continues and runs through Sunday.