— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball
by Kingman on July 6 at 12:32PM

I wrote earlier about the thrills involved in coaching little league. And it was all true.

But I forgot to mention...all those stories you hear about obnoxious parents, snotty kids and enraged opposing coaches? They're true too.

Fortunately, we've had mostly only good experiences with everyone we've played and met. But then you have moments like this, where a coach actually head butted another coach. On the post-game handshake line. And he wasn't even drunk.

WESTFIELD -- A substitute coach from a Berkeley Heights youth baseball team was arrested late last week and charged with aggravated assault for head-butting a rival coach after a game, Westfield police said.

Andrew Hoffman, 47, of Whitehouse turned himself in and was arrested on the afternoon of June 26 at the Westfield police station.

Police had been called to Gumbert Park in Westfield the night before after a game between a team from the Berkeley Heights Police Athletic League and Westfield.

"Basically they had words, and this guy just head-butts (the Westfield coach) in the face," said Capt. Cliff Auchter of the Westfield police. Auchter said no one else was charged in the incident.

The alleged attack took place during the traditional, post-game hand-shakes between the teams, a symbolic expression that connotes good will and sportsmanship.

Hoffman was charged with aggravated assault because the incident occurred in front of children under the age of 16 at a school or community-sponsored youth sports event, according to Auchter.

The charge was elevated from a disorderly person's charge to a fourth-degree crime, an indictable offense, because of the presence of the young athletes, Auchter said.

"Sometimes you hear stories of parents squawking at each other," said Tom Barton, the head of the Berkeley Heights Recreation Department, "but I've never heard of anything turning to violence."

The baseball team was organized not by the recreation department but by the Police Athletic League.

In a statement, Berkeley Heights PAL President Michael Cranston said the organization became aware of an altercation that involved "several opposing coaches," and said the league is currently investigating.

Cranston said today that Hoffman was not one of the official coaches for the team, but was filling in because another coach had to work.

Until an investigation is complete, Hoffman is banned from PAL games.

"The dad in question is not allowed to be a spectator or obviously a coach at any PAL-sponsored event," Cranston said.

Cranston said the PAL is investigating, and will wait for the police and courts to resolve the issue before taking any further action.

"For all I know, he could be found innocent," Cranston said. "I wasn't there. It's a wait and see approach."

Hoffman was released on his own recognizance after his arrest.

[July 6, 2009 8:03 PM]  |  link  |  reply
JDS said

That's as despicable as it gets. He's probably the kind of person that weaves in and out lanes and cuts people off at 90 MPH in an SUV on the Garden State Parkway. Let him rot in jail.

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