THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
Bump In The Road
If you caught any part of the Women's College World Series this year, you might have caught this clip. During a game between UCLA and Texas A&M, a double steal led to an assistant coach bumping an umpire and receiving a two game suspension along with her ejection.
The play? It's the old "runners on 1st and 3rd" scenario where the runner on first base has to get caught in a rundown long enough for the runner at third to score. However, the defense didn't get a single out on the play. The runner on first got caught, the runner on third scored, and the runner from first ended up at third.
Lisa Fernandez, the UCLA first base coach, argued over a lack of an obstruction call. You know the rest of the story.
What's really crazy, though, is that the story doesn't stop after Fernandez gets ejected and suspended. UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez actually supported Fernandez and praised her, claiming she had no problem with what she did and discussed how it added to her team's chemistry.
Yeah, one of those...
Both coaches in question apparently forgot that they are actually educators who are responsible for these young ladies. And that's a crime.
Actually, that's a metaphoric crime. Assaulting an umpire may be an actual crime.
Five Years of Bad Blood
Back in March, an interesting incident happened that appeared to be five years in the making.
Following a college softball game between Florida and Auburn, Auburn shortstop Haley Fagan got into a shoving/screaming match with Florida coach Tim Walton during the handshake line. Apparently, as Fagan led the line for her team, when she reached the end of the Florida line to see Walton, she put her hand down to not shake his hand, resulting in Walton's hand slap going into Fagan's shoulder. When Fagan turned around, she then shoved Walton in the back to return the favor. This eventually turned into some screaming where Fagan, not Walton, had to be restrained.
There is some history here. In 2012, Walton had to dismiss three players from his team prior to the start of their NCAA tournament. Two of them were Fagan's sisters, Sami and Kasey. Apparently, it all stemmed from an altercation where specifics were not discussed. However, Kevin Fagan, the father of all three girls and former defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, spoke up back in 2012 about the issue and stated his girls would be transferring.
Ironically, Kasey Fagan and the third girl dismissed, Cheyenne Coyle, are both graduate assistants for Auburn.
Walton issued an apology shortly after the incident with Haley Fagan, stating it was never his intent to touch her in what was conceived to be a poor intent, but to just shake her hand as per the custom. He even took responsibility and said he should have been more aware of what was happening. Nothing was said from Fagan, Auburn, or the SEC around the same time.
There are a million potential factors at play here, all of which are based solely on the mere possibility of them occurring, not so much on any hard evidence. It's tough to formulate opinions and garner suggestions when you're working only with connecting the dots of potential situations, especially when you're not a detective working to solve a case for the Special Victims Unit. But it doesn't take a genius to see the writing on the wall at the same time.
The Fagan family has some grudges that will slowly turn into demons if they are not resolved. I'm not sure if Walton has those demons. He seems like he tried his best in all these situations.
The next question is whether or not this type of culture is rampant in that part of the country...
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.