by Timothy Burke
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The fallout continues from MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams's meltdown at a Ripken Baseball youth tournament this past weekend, as parents and coaches tell Deadspin that "The Wild Thing" called one child "a pussy" while ordering one of his own 10-year-old players to hit the opposing pitcher with a beanball.
While video of the Saturday ejection is still suspiciously unavailable, we were able to acquire footage from Sunday's championship game between the Williams-coached Jersey Wild and SJ Titans, another elite 10U baseball team from New Jersey. The film at the top of this post shows an interaction between Williams and some SJ Titans players. Multiple witnesses report that interaction consisted of Williams calling the SJ Titans pitcher "a pussy." Children on the team heard this, and one asked his parent on the ride home what it meant. The comment sparked a meeting behind home plate between SJ Titans coaches, umpires, Williams, and a handler (one witness called him a "babysitter") assigned by Ripken Baseball to keep Williams in line after Saturday's ejection.
Even in this interaction, you can see Williams being aggressive and argumentative.
Here's video of an incident that happened in the fifth inning, when the SJ Titans pitcher came to bat in the leadoff position. Watch as Williams says something to his catcher, after which the catcher goes out to the mound to say something to his pitcher. SJ Titans coaches and players overheard this interaction, and report that Williams ordered his pitcher to intentionally hit the SJ Titans batter with the first pitch. One witness told us it was in an attempt to knock the SJ Titans pitcher out of the game.
Sure enough, the first pitch hits the SJ Titans player square in the ribs. (The home plate umpire, who had been made aware of the upcoming beanball, warned both benches.) One SJ Titans assistant coach confronted Williams about the pitch after the game, and reported that Williams stated, "I told him to throw it inside."
Other witnesses—a number of parents, coaches, and other observers contacted us about Mitch Williams's behavior—state that Williams was heckling SJ Titans coaches throughout the game, repeatedly calling one a "squirrelly little teapot," and making harassing comments about the appearance of 10-year-old baseball players on the opposing team. (Lest you think these reports come from a team of sore losers, know that SJ Titans defeated Jersey Wild in the championship game.)
We've noted Williams being a Bad Sport Parent for years, and numerous sources reported to us on his various behaviors both at the most recent Ripken Baseball tournament and in other sports, in other cities. Here's a sampling of what they told us.
We hosted a tournament last weekend and 2 weekends ago and he was screaming at the umpires all weekend.
Mitch Williams is trying to get into the heads of ten-year-olds.
What an unbelievable douchebag Mr Williams acted like all weekend!
He basically was questioning every call, balls n strikes, bitching whining etc...he was basically a horses ass...well it really exploded on a very close play....he went off...cursing the ump...yelling at a spectator or two or three.
Basically in a nutshell, both days I saw this guy, he acted like an arrogant classless foul mouthed tool bag and DEFINITELY not someone id want coaching my kids!!!
At games all over our town and others, he berates teenage and adult umpires. He goes ballistic regularly from the dugout or from the first baseline and these dopey Philly fans still give him a fist pump when he walks by.
It's such a shame when you live in a town where someone famous could use it for such good things, but he garners absolutely no respect from those who know him here in town. His talented sons are passed over in rec league drafts just so the coaches and families don't have to deal with the parents.
We contacted several Ripken Baseball representatives. They have not responded to our questions, though one individual familiar with the situation informs us the organization is "taking matters quite seriously." Mitch Williams works alongside Bill Ripken at MLB Network.
Update (5/17, 12:41 p.m.): Several observers of today's Jersey Wild game at the Diamond Nation tournament note Mitch Williams, while in attendance, is not coaching the team.
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