Softball league suspended over wine bottles
A softball league has been banned from using a public pitch after wine bottles were found in a trash can.
Softball Bermuda was ordered to keep off the WMC Preece Softball Diamond in Bernard Park until further notice after the bottles were found in a bin next to a dugout.
But yesterday Dean Williams, president of Softball Bermuda, cried foul and said the move by the Department of Youth Sport and Recreation was an overreaction.
Mr Williams added: “I hope that this can be sorted out very quickly — in fact I am waiting to have a meeting with Government now.
“The department knows that I am tremendously aggrieved about the way it went down — they had no conversation with us. I don’t know who the culprits are but as an association we are doing everything in our power to stamp out these sorts of things.”
Mr Williams also pointed out that it was unfair to penalise the entire association.
He said: “I don’t understand how you can find alcohol in a dugout and say that it is our fault as an association.
“If somebody is trying to keep something away from you in terms of doing something nefarious, they are going to do it.
“All I can do is put in harsh penalties for people who want to circumvent the rules.”
Mr Williams was speaking after a letter from the department was sent to him on Thursday to announce the suspension.
The letter said that teams were warned in April about the drinking of alcohol at softball games. It added the bottles were found in the away team dugout during a site visit after a game on Wednesday at the park’s softball diamond.
The letter said: “This is confirmation that drinking persists during games and this letter serves as an official notice that the Michael Preece softball diamond will be closed to Softball Bermuda until the situation is rectified.”
But Mr Williams insisted that anyone caught drinking alcohol at the park would be banned from playing for the remainder of the season.
He added if anyone was drunk and or committed a serious infringement of the rules their membership would be revoked.
Mr Williams said: “That is as strong as you can get. We sent out a very strong and terse e-mail to our members weeks ago, after we got the original e-mail, saying if this is happening and we find out who it is those penalties will be implemented. Since that time nothing has happened until that particular night. I spoke to the groundsman who was unaware of anything taking place and I was the umpire of record and I saw nothing.”
Mr Williams questioned how the department could be sure it was softball players who had left the bottles.
He said: “How do they know it wasn’t the J’Ouvert they had down there? The Government may say that the trash can was empty when softball started at 6pm on Wednesday but the groundsman doesn’t know when the bottles went in there nor do I.
“It may have been a softball player but you need some evidence of who the perpetrator is. I’m not going to search everybody’s bag when they come in.”
Mr Williams added: “I think we can collaboratively think of ways to arrest this problem if it happens again — which I doubt, based on the teams now knowing how serious this is.”
The Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation did not respond to a request for comment.
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