Friday, October 13, 2006

Cruel Coach Canned

Fayette County (PA) Judge Ralph Warman gave 29 year-old former youth baseball coach, Mark Downs, Jr., from  Dunbar, PA 6-to-36 month sentences after being convicted on charges of corruption of minors and criminal solicitation to simple assault. Judge Warman revoked Downs' bond and jailed him. Unless an appeal overturns his conviction, Downs will serve one-to-six years in the hoosegow. According to officials, Downs offered one of his players, 8 year-old Keith Reese, Jr., twenty-five dollars to bean an autistic teammate, 9 year-old Harry Bowers, so that the coach would not have to play Bowers. Reese hit Bowers with a baseball once in the head and once in the groin. According to Bowers' mother, she is finding it difficult to get him to try new activities because he fears getting hurt again. I've know coaches who I think would have done the same thing: however, I don't believe that criminal convictions would have been contemplated at that time. It is heartening to see the government give justice to the weak.

Cf. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/15239517 and Fox News Live (10/12/06).

12 comments:

piperfromtn said...

Having a son with asperger's syndrome, I fully agree, James.  It is heartening to see the weak defended here.  Obviously, winning was his(the Coach's) deal; Machievellian style; the end justifies the means.

jakeho said...

Well put, Jon. I, too, have a dear loved one (nephew) with autism. The thought that one would be so callous is disconcerting.

grgb4 said...

I second your comment about your autistic nephew, J.   He's a very nice young man.  I shudder to think about what his dad would do to a coach who pulled a stunt like that.  

You remember what Larry Holmes did to Tex Cobb?

jakeho said...

I don't remember Tex Cobb but I well get your point. And I fully concur.

grgb4 said...

Randall "Tex" Cobb was the "good ol' boy" heavyweight hopeful from Texas (a redheaded, redbearded white dude) from the barroom brawler and regional "toughman" competition circuit who fought Larry Holmes in 1981 (I believe) and lost badly.

Holmes, possessor of the greatest left jab in the history of the sport, bobbed, weaved, and jabbed Cobb at will and after 10 or so rounds, left Cobb bleeding, dazed and bloody.  Although Holmes never knocked Cobb out for a true KO, the fight was called in the 10th round and Holmes got a TKO.  I remember Howard Cosell objecting loudly thoughout the last 5 rounds that the fight was a "travesty" and should be called, but it went until the 10th.   That was the last fight Cosell ever called and he said as much that evening on the air.

Cobb was a true "tough guy" but was no match for the scientific precision and superior boxing skills of Holmes, whose boxing idol and mentor had been the great Muhammed Ali.  

grgb4 said...

Two corrections:  The fight was in 1982 and went the full 15 rounds, not 10.  

jakeho said...

What that a WBA sanctioned fight, Geo.? I think that the WBC went from 15 rounds to 12 during the Ali era. Of course, now there's an alphabet soup of titles now available for viewing, and none of them tend to be on broadcast TV.

grgb4 said...

It was the last 15 round heavyweight boxing title match.  I googled "Larry Holmes" and "Tex Cobb" and got some interesting articles and blogs about that match.  That's what prompted me to correct my facts from 10 to 15 rounds and from 1981 to 1982.  I was thinking it was before Holmes-Cooney, but was actually a few months after.   I don't know if it was WBC or WBA; probably WBC.  

I'll never forget watching it, though.  

piperfromtn said...

Guys, I think it was WBA. Dad and I probably watched that one but I just don't remember. Dad and I used to watch fights regularly.  Since he was a boxing judge at one time, he showed me some of how to score, which is still vexing to me.  It's similar to 'intuitive grasp'.  
He said of Holmes, "he can take a punch and lumber his way to a win".  Tex Cobb was a tough one.

piperfromtn said...

Things came to a head in Cosell’s mind in 1983, when he broadcast the Larry Holmes vs. Tex Cobb fight. In that match, Holmes successfully defended the heavyweight title, beating up on Cobb for virtually every second of the 15 rounds it lasted. While this was going on, Holmes’ promoter Don King was gleefully shouting out from ringside, all night long Larry. And all night Holmes pounded Cobb’s head as if it were the speed bag.

jakeho said...

Geo., I think that was the last fifteen-round WBC bout: I believe that the WBA continued a while to have the fifteen vis-a-vis twelve rounds. I seem to recollect that WBA/WBC unity bouts were twelve rounds whereas WBA only fights were fifteen during this discrepancy in round limits by the boxing ruling bodies. I wonder if boxing will ever come back?

jakeho said...

Jon, I like your dad's characterization of Larry Holmes. His "lumbering to a win" was especially evident when compared to Ali's "floating...and...stinging...." I had forgotten that that Holmes/Cobb fight precipitated Cosell's departure from boxing commentary. Cobb considered that (at least, in jest) one of his greatest gifts to the game.