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Hidy voices concerns over swearing at softball games

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MASSENA - Mayor James F. Hidy attended a men’s slow pitch softball game on Sunday and said he had a great time. There was just one problem - the language of the players and coaches.

“It was a great time,” Mr. Hidy told members of the Massena Joint Recreation Commission this week. “The problem is the language was deplorable.”

Mr. Hidy recalled two instances during the game where vulgar language was openly used, recalling a player fouling out on a pop up and a “bad call.”

Speaking about the foul out, Mr. Hidy said, “All the way back to the dugout from first base it was ‘f,’ ‘f,’ ‘f.’”

The second instance led to an argument on the field where more foul language was on display. The kicker there, Mr. Hidy said, was the argument didn’t end before the next play.

“He just couldn’t let it go after the game,” the mayor said. “It’s a fricken softball game. It’s a game that’s supposed to be for everybody’s enjoyment.”

Mr. Hidy suggested crafting a set of rules that would be in place for the men’s softball league and other groups using the village parks.

“I think we should draft a set of rules and say that’s the way it’s going to be in our parks,” he said.

Recreation Commission Chairman David MacLennan agreed that the language is an issue, but wondered if there was a better way to handle the situation.

“The language is unnecessary, I’ll agree with that,” he said before suggesting having the umpires do a little better job of policing the game.

That’s an idea that board member Martha Slack said she does not think would work.

“Most of them are younger,” she said. “The umpires are going to put up with the garbage.”

Mrs. Slack agreed with Mr. Hidy that a set of rules needs to be in place, not just for softball players, but for all organizations using the village’s parks.

“It is not just pertinent to softball,” she said. “At the high school if you want to use a facility there is a set of rules.”

While all of the players and coaches are adults, many of the people attending the game are not, making the village’s ball fields an inappropriate place for locker room banter.

“There were a lot of people there, elderly and children,” Mr. Hidy said. “It was just sickening.”

Mr. MacLennan agreed. “I’m sure some of the players are married and have their kids there. They shouldn’t have to listen to that,” he said.

While the problem may be more prevalent now than it has been in the past, Councilman Albert N. Nicola, the town’s liaison to the Recreatin Commission, said the situation is nothing new.

He specifically recalled two instances from several years ago, one where a player punched an umpire and one where a player jumped on top of an umpire’s car, causing damage to his private vehicle.

“It’s not unique to this day in age,” he said, adding the type of game that slow pitch softball is may lend to some of these problems.

“I really enjoyed fast pitch. In fast pitch you had great athletes. With this it’s a different sect,” he said.

“Absolutely,” Mr. Hidy replied.

Mrs. Slack said the problem isn’t entirely the players’ faults though.

“The language is our fault. We all just sit back and listen to it,” she said. “Most people just mumble going away, but they won’t say anything.”

Recreation Superintendent Richard A. Boprey said before the start of next season he’ll set up a meeting with the committee and league officials to discuss their concerns.

“It needs to be in writing,” Mrs. Slack said, again calling for a set of written rules to be created.

“It’s a sad case when as a society you’ve come to that,” Mr. MacLennan said.

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