Baseball’s “black eye” hits close to home for local Little League teams

Sports

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Houston Astros cheating scandal has rocked the sport of baseball from top to bottom, and its effects are being felt even back here in Western New York.

“That’s just it: it’s playing fair. I think all kids inherently understand that, and the adults we have volunteering in the league encourage that,” Central Amherst Little League Treasurer Scott Gretch said. “You know when you can lead off and when you can’t. You know when you can steal and when you can’t. You just have to live by those rules.”

Within the last 24 hours, the Board of Directors for the Central Amherst Little League decided not to use the Astros name for any of their teams this season.

“Originally some of us on the board of directors were having a conversation on text about whether we should pull the name or not, and ultimately it came down to that it’s something that we should do,” Central Amherst Little League GM Keith Wing said.

“The actions of the Astros are really contrary to what we believe in as a Little League, the character and integrity involved in the decisions they made. We contacted our vendor and luckily our vendor could pull some strings at the last minute so we were able to make a change.”

On top of professional athletes speaking out in the wake of the cheating scandal, other organizations are having second thoughts about using the Astros brand, just like Central Amherst LL has. Earlier this week, several Southern California youth baseball leagues have banned naming their teams the Astros for this season.

“A lot of us on the board are baseball purists, and we were really upset about what happened with the Astros,” Wing said. “We just felt like the Astros didn’t deserve to have their name on the shirts of our little kids.”

“We have a core belief in kids playing hard and playing fair,” Gretch said. “Regardless of the outcome of the game or regardless of the current situation on the field, we always strive as adults to encourage them to play fair at all times and this basically went against that core belief.”

“As fans and the rest of us, there’s not a lot we can do when we see major leaguers cheat or something like that, but this is something we can do,” Wing said.

“We can stand and say hey, this is Little League. We’re not going to use the Astros. That’s the little step that we can take to show that we’re not okay with this.”

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