On Wednesday, Little League Baseball stripped 2014’s United States Champion Jackie Robinson West from Chicago, Illinois of its title.
The Jackie Robinson little leaguers captivated the country on an unexpected run.
1. Jackie Robinson West Was in Violation of a Rule
The organization found that Jackie Robinson West used a falsified boundary map and that team officials met with neighboring Little League districts in Illinois to claim players and build what amounts to a superteam.
According to an ESPN statement that Little League International president and CEO Stephen D. Keener:
The real troubling part of this is that we feel horribly for the kids who are involved with this. Certainly, no one should cast any blame, any aspersions on the children who participated on this team. To the best of our knowledge, they had no knowledge that they were doing anything wrong. They were just kids out playing baseball, which is the way it should be. They were celebrated for that by many, many organizations, many people. What we’re most concerned about today is that it’s going to be hard on these kids. And that’s the part that breaks your heart.
2. Their 2014 LLWS Wins Will be Vacated
In addition to being stripped of the 2014 U.S. Championship, their 2014 victories in the Little League World Series will also be vacated.
3. The U.S. Championship was Awarded to the Runner-up
Chicago, Illinois defeated Las Vegas Nevada 7-5 in the United States Championship Game. Las Vegas was officially awarded the U.S. Championship on Wednesday.
4. Jackie Robinson West Was Important for African American Kids Looking to Play Little League Baseball
Jackie Robinson West drew significant national attention — as well as African American girl Mon’e Davis from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — as it advanced to the tournament’s title game, where it fell to South Korea. Baseball, specifically youth baseball, has struggled to attract African-Americans in recent years, and the Jackie Robinson little leaguers provided a positive impact for young African Americans looking to play the game.
5. The Team’s Manager and District Supervisor Were Disciplined
The team’s manager, Darold Butler, was suspended from Little League Baseball, and Illinois District 4 administrator Michael Kelly was removed from his position in response to the incident.