Umpire Bans Little Leaguers from Speaking Spanish on Field

AP, July 29

METHUEN, Mass.—Coaches on a Little League team filed a protest with the league after an umpire ordered the players to stop speaking Spanish during a state tournament game this week.

Coaches said the order demoralized the Methuen players and cost the team the game.

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Methuen was winning 3-1 when assistant coach Domingo Infante instructed the pitcher in Spanish to try to pick off a runner at second base. After the unsuccessful attempt, the umpire called time-out and spoke with a Little League official who was at the game. The unidentified umpire then decreed that only English could be spoken.

“All I could hear was, ‘We cannot allow this,”’ Mosher said. “At this point I was baffled why we could only speak English.”

Mosher said he challenged the ruling, but the Little League official said it would stand. Infante then left the game in protest, which Mosher said demoralized his pitcher and catcher, who speak little English. Methuen lost the game 10-6, though the team remains alive in the tournament.

Van Auken said the loss can’t be reversed because a formal protest must be filed during the game. He told the Eagle-Tribune the umpire won’t be punished.

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