To The Daily Sun,
In the spring, we registered our son, Nicholas Ritchie, to play for Youngsville (Manchester) Cal Ripken. We completed the registration process using the Babe Ruth online system. There was no indication we did not live in an approved town. There was no indication our son was required to play in a specific town. The system simply took the player information, took our money, and replied, "registration success."
The officials of Youngsville Cal Ripken notified the district and state authorities of their intent to roster our son. Nicholas' participation was approved by both the district commissioner and the state commissioner. He then practiced and played with his Youngsville Cal Ripken team and fulfilled the regular season requirements for participation in all-stars.
Now, the district, state and national commissioners have reversed the original approval to play. Why? They say it is because Nicholas should have played in Concord because it is the closest in proximity to Laconia. If that is true, why didn't the registration system notify us of this requirement? If that is true, why did the national commissioner indicate there was no distance requirement and a parent from outside the geographical boundary of Cal Ripken could choose where to play?
Further, since Concord Cal Ripken league does not accept players from outside its geographical boundary, the next closest league in proximity to Laconia is Youngsville Cal Ripken. Therefore, based on this information, Youngsville Cal Ripken was the only acceptable league in which Nicholas could play.
What is the real reason Nicholas is not being allowed to play? The N.H. State Commissioner has indicated it is not in the best interest of Cal Ripken. The National Commissioner has stated Nicholas cannot play because he lives outside the geographical boundary of Youngsville Cal Ripken.
We believe the real reason, Nicholas is not being allowed to play, is pressure from within Cal Ripken and from outside the organization. The president of Exeter Cal Ripken has campaigned for Nicholas and several other Youngsville players to be disqualified. Not because these kids do not deserve to play, but because they are a threat to Exeter's fourth consecutive state title.
The general manager of the USA Mavericks has implied he would contact the media to stop Nicholas' participation. Who is this man? How is he affiliated with Cal Ripken? His e-mail to the state commissioner only touts his affiliation with the USA Mavericks. Why does his opinion even matter? Plain and simple, the district, state and national commissioners of Cal Ripken have been bullied.
As stated on ripkenbaseball.com, "[t]e goal is to leave every kid, every parent and every coach better than when we first met. The Ripken Experience is about inviting everyone to be a part of the Ripken Family. The Ripken Way is about perseverance, integrity and the unwavering commitment to be, and do our best."
Cal Ripken has kowtowed to threats and unfounded accusations at the expense of a 12-year-old boy. They have justified their decision with inconsistent arguments (i.e., it is acceptable to play in Concord even though you live outside the league boundary, but it is not acceptable to play for Youngsville because you live outside the league boundary). They have justified their decision by claiming notifications should have been in writing even though a written notification was not required and a written roster, which included Nicholas' name, was approved by the state commissioner.
The Cal Ripken organization must take a stand and do what is right. They must not hold a 12-year-old boy responsible for rules that do not exist. They must not hold him responsible for inconsistencies and inadequacies in their registration system. They must not allow a child's experience with Cal Ripken to be tarnished by the apparent inability of league officials to put aside their personal differences. They must let Nicholas play.
Deirdre M. Ritchie
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 706