BRANCHBURG, N.J. — A Staten Island parent coach is accused of a brutal attack on a baseball umpire at a youth game in New Jersey.
The league said the umpire suffered a broken jaw.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner spoke with his colleagues in Somerset County on Wednesday.
It was on a baseball field in Branchburg where the U.S. Amateur Baseball League says a 72-year-old umpire was punched Saturday by a Staten Island parent coach during a 13-and-under game.
Fellow umpire Mark Smith said the victim told him there were no close calls.
“It was 16-0 was the score. It was in between innings and he said that a guy came up to him and called him a piece of [expletive]. So he ejected the gentleman,” Smith said.
The umpire, who has doing this for 40 years, said the coach kept cursing at him, eventually punched him in the face, and then drove off in a truck.
Now, the league says the umpire’s jaw is broken and wired shut as he awaits surgery.
Frank Cambria, the head of the New York Prospects, an organization affiliated with the Staten Island team, says it’s praying for the umpire, and the coach was removed immediately.
“He said ‘I truly apologize. It never happened to me before.’ I don’t know what created that, but there is no room for violence in youth sports,” Cambria said.
The umpire wants to keep his identity private, but Rozner has learned told the father and grandfather loves the game so much, he does plan to return to the field in the fall.
“The kids love him. The kids respect him,” Branchburg resident Kyle Kappmeier said.
The league says the umpire visited the New Jersey team the following week to talk to them about what they saw. The Staten Island team has been removed from the tournament, and the organization’s president says it has been hard on those kids, too.
“Everyone is really tearing these poor kids up who did absolutely nothing and we don’t teach anything like that,” Cambria said.
“I want to be clear, 95 percent, if not more, of the parents, coaches, players [are] phenomenal, phenomenal people, support us,” Smith said.
And for those who don’t, New Jersey Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn is introducing legislation to increase penalties for those who assault coaches and referees.
“There’s going to be mandatory minimums and fines associated with that as well, as well as anger management,” Flynn said.
Flynn added she wants to ban offenders from the field for at least a year.
Branchburg police said the matter is under investigation and is being forwarded to the Somerset County prosecutor.