Being a Little League ump is a thankless job. You volunteer your time, are forced to don layers of heavy protective equipment while squatting in the hot sun for hours at a time, and are forced to listen to bratty kids and their jerk parents argue about your calls. That’s why it’s a big deal for an ump to finally get some appreciation by receiving an award. It’s just that usually the umps getting the awards aren’t convicted sex offenders.
(Why don’t you have a seat, Mr. Barbero?)
A group of umpires in Torrington, Connecticut, are in hot water after giving Tom Barbero a lifetime achievement award despite his lurid past. Barbero was an umpire from 1970 to 1998 in the Babe Ruth League, which includes players between the ages of 13 and 15. Unfortunately, that’s the same age group Barbero was unable to “check his swing” with.
From the HARTFORD COURANT (via the ASSOCIATED PRESS):
Barbero, of Torrington, was sentenced in 2000 to four years in prison followed by 35 years probation after pleading no contest to one count of second-degree sexual assault of a victim 13 to 15 years old and two counts of risk of injury to a minor. He is listed on Connecticut’s sex offender registry.
Police accused Barbero of sexually assaulting three teenage boys in 1994 and 1995, but said the boys were not involved with youth baseball teams.
Now we’re all for the rehabilitation of cons in these parts, but this is a mistake by the ump association. Not so much giving Barbero the award, but by doing it in such a public way. If they really liked him, they should have went the more “unofficial” route by having a small get-together in the back of a town pizza parlor.
Then again, if they kept this story under wraps we wouldn’t have been able to use the awesome “check his swing” line.