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8/27/02

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Little League Players' Union Threatens Strike


SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Penn. (DPI) - In an announcement that has sent shockwaves throughout small towns across America, the Little League Players' Union (LLPU) has planned to strike if their demands are not met. As with their Major League counterparts, the main disputes revolve around money and perks. Billy Sorrenson, union representative for the Lynnville Astros, voiced one main concern regarding team sponsors. "We're not asking for much, but we'd just like a piece of the action. I mean, if I've got 'Danny' s Auto Repair' advertised across the back of my jersey, I'm entitled to some of the cash. Free shirts are nice and all, but I can't buy an X-Box with a sweaty shirt."

Concession stand profit-sharing is also a main area of debate. Manned with volunteers, the concession stand has been doing a brisk business this year thanks to strong soda sales during an unusually hot summer. But the players have yet to see a cent. "I'm stuck out in right field, so I have plenty of time to notice everything," said Hunter Coleman of the Lewistown Blue Jays. "The dads are scarfing down hot dogs and I never see a mom without a Snickers bar in her hand. Let's see how many Gobstoppers they sell once the games are canceled!"

The youngsters' demands also include issues such as perks and accommodations. "The post-game trip to the Dairy Queen has become totally unacceptable," complained Tyler Ward of the Martinsville Dry Cleaners White Sox. "No sprinkles allowed! I work hard out there on the field. I hit a grounder to the pitcher and turned it into a home run after a couple of misthrows. I deserve at least a Peanut Buster Parfait for that. And when we have an 'away' game, we have to cram into cars and minivans, sometimes for over an hour." Ward cited the time when his dad couldn't drive and he had to sit on Jordan Stiles' lap for almost an hour, an experience he called "humiliating."

Bench-warming has become a hot topic with demands being placed for more playing time by even the most incompetent kids. Irving Goldstein, who only gets to play when his team enjoys a 12-run lead, is asking for extra innings and for six strikes when he is at bat. "There are still many issues to be resolved," stated Austin Pruett, union leader of Little Leaguers Local 240. "Many players are taking this opportunity to also ask for an increase in allowance, later bedtimes, and one kid's trying for a dirtbike."

Many of the parents are concerned, but are not quite ready to give in to all demands. "I just spent $700 on a new digital camcorder, and now I'll have no games to record," said Charles Demming, parent of a disgruntled 2nd baseman.

As the players are poised to begin the strike, the real victims will be the fans. Fathers will be unable to live vicariously through their sons, mothers will be unable to catch up on the latest gossip and lonely perverts will have to visit school playgrounds to stare at children. The local economies also will suffer as powdered Lime-Ade sales will plummet and raffle tickets and fund-raising candy bars will sit on the shelves. , "We can only hope that while not playing baseball, many of the kids will take up smoking," said Harvey Mason, mayor of one small town sure to be financially affected. "We will need the revenue from cigarette taxes to make up for the losses if Little League shuts down."



(Reported by Buddy Fisher)



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