Amidst allegations of flaring tempers, low self esteem, mind games, vandalism and humiliation techniques, the Livingston High School Varsity Baseball Team has hit rock bottom and is allegedly the perpetrators of...
LIVINGSTON, May 14, 2009 - In a school year when the Livingston Lions Football team excelled to new heights, and the basketball team even higher, the baseball team, which is made up of many of the same players, is in a state of disarray following accusations, finger pointing, and a head baseball coach who according to parents and players, has an anger problem.
Editor's Note: The following is a letter that was sent to PolkCountyToday.com by a parent who asked to remain anonymous.The portions of the parent's letter are in italics.
IT WAS DURING PRE-SEASON THAT THINGS STARTED TO CRUMBLE
This has been a very difficult and heart-wrenching baseball season for LHS Varsity Baseball players, and their families. Baseball gives boys and their families a focus to help steer clear of the multitude of temptations in today’s society including pasture parties, drugs, and alcohol.
Coach Roy Mozley ended his career at East Chambers with a one-game suspension for disrespectful behavior and then refusing to exit the ball park. It became apparent early in the season that this type of behavior would continue in Livingston, only directed at players.
The multitude of humiliation techniques, “mind games” and belittling leveled at these players does not bear going into. They were substantial, and parents have met to document events since February.
It was in February, in pre-season play that parents began calling the Athletic Director, writing letters, and making face-to face complaints. The only result of those attempts was the coach would be especially hateful to the players whose parents would complain, or a player would leave the team after heated discussion in the field house. Parents finally gave up on complaining, calling, and writing.
Morale on the team was terrible and Livingston became the laughing stock of the district and tournaments because we were 10 run ruled so often, against very weak teams. These are excellent ball players with a lot of talent who have been exemplary young men and leaders on and off the baseball field. The coaches who worked with these boys as they grew up will talk about what a great group of kids these were. Their previous coaches are shocked how the boys have been treated and shocked at how sadly the season has ended.
According to witnesses, this fountain was damaged when the baseball coach threw a bat in a fit of rage.
ON TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2009, THINGS CAME TO A HEAD
On Tuesday, May 5, after becoming angry over a player's body language the coach told the players that they were Worthless pieces of sh*&. He proceeded to repeatedly use the F word with the team and then began a tantrum which included throwing a bat into the dugout, breaking the water fountain. The actions of many team members is unacceptable. Period. There is no justification for any of the boys taking matters into their own hands. However, the example of destroying city property was set by the coach, who then left a group of angry young men alone (which the parents understand is against school policy). The boys left the field, and many of them filled containers with gasoline and wrote inappropriate words in a small section of the infield. The players and parents are embarrassed they stooped to the level of action exhibited by their coach. These boys are good kids and all knew better. For some, the voice of reason took over and they declined to participate. They should be commended for that.
Green paint was used in an attempt to cover up profanities left by varsity baseball players in reaction to the coach's angry outbursts and alleged belittlement of the players. The profanities were all left in the infield using gasoline.
The vandalism was reported to the school last Friday, and all boys who participated in pouring gas were suspended from campus until the following Tuesday where they received In School Suspension for 13 days. They are not allowed to attend any school functions including Prom this weekend. The boys will restore the field by repairing the patches of grass and the grass will be paid for by the boys and their families. Parents are unaware of any discipline received by the coach for destroying school property.
This is an example of 17 and 18 year olds taking matters into their own hands when the chain of command and protocol should have been followed. The boys have all said that they felt they needed to do something since no adults had been successful in getting a remedy to a bad situation.
Again, no parents believe what their children did is acceptable. The parents understand WHY the players did it, but not THAT they did it.
All boys involved, as well as many of those not involved in the incident, have said they will not play baseball for LHS next year if Roy Mozley is allowed to remain as coach. After the tantrum that was witnessed by these boys, there is no way they could be effectively coached by him. This has been a very sad ending for boys who love the game.
From the Editor: We've received a lot of email from people who are angry that we haven't yet reported this story. The only reason I had not reported it yet is because I didn't learn about it until Monday. The emails insinuate that PolkCountyToday.com is sexist and unfairly reported what some girls did with pink spray paint in early 2009 (while the boys were getting a free pass). While the PolkCountyToday.com, nor the parents of the baseball players involved DON'T EVER condone vandalism, the situations between the girls and the boys baseball team are two completely different situations. In the case of the girls, it was a pride thing and there was drinking involved. The girls weren't provoked, but simply were out to have a little mischievous fun. In the case of the boys varsity baseball team, it was much deeper than that; involving an ongoing problem relating to anger and obviously a bad relationship between adults who weren't effectively communicating to young people who are still maturing.
PolkCountyToday.com attempted to contact LISD for a press release on this issue. If and when we recieve a press release, it will be posted on this website.
Finally, the baseball field that is used by the LHS varsity baseball team is property of the City of Livingston and the Livingston Youth Baseball Associaton who agrees to allow the varsity baseball team to use their facilities. Any destructive behavior that is done to harm these facilities is simply unacceptable regardless of the situation.
If you would like to comment on this story, we'd love to hear from you. Your name will be listed with your comment when it's posted in the Letters to the editor.