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No more games for umpire who banned Spanish

METHUEN, Mass. -- An umpire who ordered players on a Little
League team to stop speaking Spanish during a state tournament game
was sent to the showers on Friday.
A Little League International Tournament official said
Massachusetts administrators have been instructed not to assign the
umpire to any games for the remainder of the tournament.
Joseph W. Losch, the tournament vice president of operations,
said in an e-mail sent by National Little League spokesman Lance
Van Auken that the unidentified umpire has been sidelined.
"We do not release the names of volunteers without their
permission," Van Auken said.
The umpire told the players not to speak Spanish, a decision
their coach said demoralized the team and cost it the game.
"This never should have happened," head coach Chris Mosher
told the Eagle-Tribune newspaper. "These are 14-year-old kids who
should not have to deal with any of this, especially in Little
League baseball."
Van Auken said there's no rule against players speaking Spanish
or any other language on the field. But he said it's too late to
reverse the decision or the outcome of the game.
Mosher said he tried to file a protest after the game, but under
league rules, protests must be filed before the game ends.
"It appears the umpire was concerned that the coach or manager
may have been using a language other than English ... to
communicate potentially 'illegal' instructions to his players,"
Van Auken said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Friday.
"The umpire simply overstepped his authority, and there was no
malicious intent."
Mosher said the incident happened Tuesday night during a Junior
Little League game against Seekonk in Lakeville.
Methuen was winning 3-1 when assistant coach Domingo Infante
instructed the pitcher in Spanish to try to pick off a runner at
second base. After the unsuccessful attempt, the umpire called
timeout and spoke with the local tournament director. The
unidentified umpire then decreed that only English could be spoken.
"All I could hear was, 'We cannot allow this,"' Mosher said.
"At this point I was baffled why we could only speak English."
Mosher said he challenged the ruling, but kept his team on the
field after the tournament director said it would stand.
An angry Infante then left the field, which Mosher said
demoralized his pitcher and catcher, who speak little English.
Methuen lost the game 10-6, and was eliminated from the tournament
on Friday in a 6-5 loss to Auburn.