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Shine off at Mansion

August 9, 2009
The Altoona Mirror
I can remember waking up in the summers and waiting eagerly to play basketball at Mansion Park later that evening. Unfortunately, that feeling of pleasure and enthusiasm has turned into frustration. The Mansion summer league, once very respected, sadly is just another league that may soon fade away. Remember the days when the folding chairs lined the sidelines with fans waiting to watch a great game, even during the regular season? What happened to those days? I have learned not to criticize unless suggestions are offered. Mansion is no longer sanctioned by the NCAA. It had been for several years, and many top-notch players have competed during the summer months over the last two decades. Unfortunately, this year Central Blair Recreation Commission did not submit the paperwork for this to continue. Could this be one reason why the Mansion league is fading? Many fans look forward to watching these competitive players. Poor officiating is another subject. There are still officials calling fair games and being consistent in their calls. The players and fans thank you for this. Is it any coincidence that poor officiating leads to rough play? One issue with the league is the inconsistency and inadequacy of the officiating. Players only want a few things from officials: consistency and neutrality. A simple question to an official after a violation leads to a technical foul with zero tolerance. Players only ask that the egos are set aside and call a fair game. Players are clearly frustrated; please just let them determine the outcome of the games. Lastly, I have a question about the Mansion board and divisions. The Mansion League board should consist of non-biased individuals and not league players. The board sits down every year and decides placement of teams in divisions. Players participating on the board may influence other board members based on their own team’s well being. The only way to prevent confusion on moving teams up in divisions due to shortage in a particular division is simple: The winners of divisions should subsequently move up one level the following year. I do agree teams change, but not drastically enough from year to year. As a player in the league for 16 years, I just don’t want the league to fade away. Players deserve better. The fans deserve better. Jason Jones Duncansville (Editor’s note: According to the Central Blair Recreation Commission, the NCAA?stipulated that medical insurance be provided for all student-athletes. The Rec Commission did not make that purchase). Setting record straight I agree with a lot of what Ms. Albright said regarding the behavior of Kelley Federation coaches and players in last week’s mailbag. It is, however, unfortunate that she wrongly attributed conduct of a coach to my husband, Brad Sell. Her statements can only be construed as character assassination. I do want to clarify that Brad Sell is the manager of Barkman Oil and was not one of the base coaches at any of the Barkman games. Brad is one of the calmest people I know and took the field twice this season, both times during the playoff games to question calls and to calm his players. He has never encouraged Barkman players to misbehave and has done his best to discipline those that have. Just ask any of the players he benched. Anyone who has followed Barkman baseball would have to admit that Brad’s actions and personality are not those of the person Ms. Albright described. When people are emotionally involved in a game, it is difficult not to allow those emotions to influence how we see the behaviors of those around us. Many of us will admit that the behavior of particular players and fans from each team was unacceptable, but we should remember that a single player or fan does not make a team or represent the thoughts of a community. I also want to applaud the comments made by Chris Simpson in his mailbag letter regarding the Federation league. The Federation rules are poorly established, difficult to understand (as they can be interpreted many different ways) and are not consistently enforced. I’m unsure where the responsibility lies, but it is something that needs addressed. This is a wonderful program and offers many young men an opportunity to continue playing a sport they love. I thank you for the opportunity to clear my husband’s good name. It’s unfortunate that this confusion in identity occurred and was published. Linda Sell Roaring Spring Sanchez was a true pro It was 2007, the year after Freddy Sanchez won the batting title, and my son and I were on our way to the Piratefest in Pittsburgh. The Piratefest was a yearly tradition.We’d get out there and find out the schedule for the autograph sessions. Freddy was scheduled for early in the afternoon at the same time as a new member of the team, Adam LaRoche. LaRoche’s line was empty because everyone was in Freddy’s line. About 11 a.m., we got in line, and 3¢ hours later we got close enough we could see Freddy. My son was excited. I tried to teach him right. Effort is everything and don’t ever show up your opponent. Four hours since we stepped into line, we have made it. We are ready for our autographs. My son has his glove, and I have a brand new ball. We step up in front of Freddy, and he picks up my son pulls him over the table and sits my son on his lap. He has a conversation with him that lasts a minute or so then hands him back to me. My son thought it was no big deal, but I was speechless. I was very impressed with the professionalism Freddy showed us that day. Since then my son has gained the respect for Freddy that I have. I wish him well with the San Francisco Giants. Mike Mcalkich Hollidaysburg

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