Pennsylvania Little League district to ban use of Astros as team name
In what may be developing into a trend, a Little League district in Pennsylvania is seeking to ban the use of Astros as a name in the wake of MLB team’s sign-stealing scandal and subsequent fallout.
Little League director Bob Bertoni heads up the District 16/31 Little League, which oversees 23 leagues and 4,000 players in the Williamsport area. He is recommending that no team use Astros as its name.
“I think about our Little League pledge; that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. Part of the pledge is, ‘I will play fair and strive to win,'” Bertoni said, per an ESPN report.
“Our kids emulate and idolize major league players,” he added. “I don’t think we as an organization should be idolizing teams that have decided not to play by the rules.”
Several Little League communities in Southern California had previously banned the use of the Astros name. It remains to be seen whether other leagues will follow suit beyond these two instances.
While Bertoni is taking the lead on an Astros name issue in his district, the Little League International governing body has indicated it will refrain from recommending a sport-wide ban for the leagues it oversees.
“We value our relationship with Major League Baseball and its efforts to expand opportunities for youth baseball and softball, and the best thing that Little League International can do for MLB and the entire baseball community is to teach children how to play the sport by the rules and with a high level of sportsmanship,” the statement read.
Bertoni has stated he’s received support for his decision from parents, which has made going forward easier.
“Is it crazy? Yes,” Bertoni said. “But I think in today’s world there has to be consequences for everybody’s actions.”
The Astros organization — from players involved in the sign-stealing scandal all the way up to the owner — have completely bungled making even half-hearted amends amid the visceral backlash to the controversy as training camp gets underway.
Given the utter mismanagement, even defiance, demonstrated by the team, the Astros would be well-served by heeding Bertoni’s words.