Allegations to be Investigated
WILLIAMSPORT (Pa.) - Little League Baseball takes seriously allegations, raised today by a Sports Illustrated writer, that Danny Almonte of the Rolando Paulino Little League team from the Bronx, N.Y., may have been ineligible to participate in the 2001 Little League season, including post-season tournaments and the Little League World Series.
This morning, Little League officials were shown a document alleging there was a Danny Almonte who was born in the Dominican Republic in 1987. The document was obtained by Sports Illustrated on Aug. 23.
"If this is the same Danny Almonte who played for Rolando Paulino League than we have been deceived, and a fraud has been perpetrated on Little League and the millions of youngsters for whom Little League is so important," Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball, said.
Little League rules require that eligible players be no more than 12 years old during the regular Little League Season and turn 13 no earlier than August 1 of the year in which they are competing. Little League officials in New York, in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament and in the Little League Baseball World Series that ended in Williamsport yesterday had been provided government issued documents asserting Danny Almonte was born April 7, 1989.
"We relied on the traditional substantiation of the age of the players that we require of all Little Leaguers," Mr. Keener said. "Then, because of rumors reported to us, we did additional due diligence and were shown U.S. and Dominican records confirming the ages of the players on the Rolando Paulino team."
Because of new evidence shown to Little League this morning, Little League officials have contacted officials of the Rolando Paulino League who again confirmed that Almonte and all other players on the team were eligible to play. The Rolando Paulino League promised to provide Little League officials with further documentation.
"We have firm, established procedures for establishing the age of Little Leaguers; procedures certain to work successfully unless government-issued documents are forged," Mr. Keener said. "If we find out that we were given forged documents we will both sad and angry that anyone would so pervert this great sport. Little League is meant to provide fun and to teach values to three million young ballplayers every year. Anyone who would knowingly undermine the trust in Little League is guilty of doing serious harm to children."
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Contact: Lance Van Auken, Director of Media Relations and Communications
Phone (570) 326-1921
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