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Crazier Coach Story: Pop Warner Bounty System or the $50,000 Youth Baseball Team of Revenge?

Here are two delightfully twisted stories from the world of youth sports. We’ll start in Long Island where a father felt his son was slighted and took action. From the New York Post:

Angered after his own son failed to flourish on the Long Island Infernos traveling baseball team for 10- and 11-year-olds, Robert Sanfilippo used his own money to create and fund the Long Island Vengeance to even the score against his boy’s former squad, a law-enforcement source said.

He named the team the Vengeance! This is both the saddest and most badass act of parenting ever. This man already sounds wonderful.

Obsessed with vanquishing the Infernos, Sanfilippo aggressively recruited players in newspaper ads and appealed to kids cut from other teams, sources said.

“No one could understand why this guy was spending so much money on 10-year-olds,” said another coach. “It was all about revenge.”

This is straight up super villain shit.

While other Long Island teams had modest equipment, Sanfilippo spent like a Suffolk County Steinbrenner. The Vengeance sported top of the line helmets with airbrushed skull and crossbones insignias that cost upwards of $300 each for a team of roughly 20 kids. The squad also provided each player with two uniforms and baseball bags worth hundreds of dollars.

Unfortunately, Sanfilippo took it a bit too far when he started sending threatening messages to the coach of the Infernos. Probably something along the lines of, “My 10 and 11-year-olds are going to kick your 10 and 11-year-olds’ asses at baseball!” How can this not be the plot of Taken 3?

Now let’s travel across the country and look another youth sport. From the OC Register:

Four months before the world heard about the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, two Pop Warner football coaches in Tustin began offering cash to their 10- and 11-year-old players for making big hits and knocking opponents out of games, according to an assistant coach, a parent, interviews with players and signed statements by two players.

Where do you think Gregg Williams got the idea!?

During an Oct. 27 film session at Crawford’s house, Crawford explained how the winners of the cash would be determined, three players said. Crawford told the team that they could all vote, and the player with the most votes would get money. Crawford told them the most money could be won if the opponents’ best player had to leave the game, they said.

I actually had to wander into the street when I read that part, so let me repeat it for you – 10 and 11-year-old football study film.

The players said they were caught up in the competitive spirit and didn’t consider whether it was right or wrong to accept money for great hits or even hurting an opposing player. One player said: “I was so excited, I didn’t think that much about it.”

Because they are children. Who study game tape. Related: There is game tape of 10 and 11-year-olds playing football and I assume one of the coaches had to edit this tape for film study. That person is the saddest person.

The craziest person is obviously Sanfilippo. Shelling out that kind of money on youth baseball is insane. Besides, his kid is probably a doofus. You have to just face the facts at some point. However, he gets points for spending all that money on kids. The California football coaches are sleazy if they really offered bounties, but they also lose points because they were so damn cheap. A concussed preteen is worth way more than $50. I bet Sanfilippo would pay low four-figures for some quality head trauma. And that’s why he wins the Craziest Coach Award.

 

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