The 1992 Little League World Series Scandal

Sports Criminals
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Event the International Youth Sports while it might Okun Image of fun and innocence throughout its seventy three year history. The tournament has been plagued by scandal and on the afternoon of August. Twenty Ninth Nineteen Ninety. Two as spectators watched the Filipino team celebrating on the field after clobbering their American opponents. They couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that something about the situation didn't feel quite right. Welcome to sports criminals. Apar- cast original. This is the third episode in our March Madness. Special this month. We're counting down the top thirty one sports scandals from nineteen ninety. Two Thousand Twenty. I'm Carter Roy and I'm Tim Johnson in today's episode. We're going back to nineteen ninety two and the Little League World Series Scandal. Zamboanga city located on a small remote island in the Philippines is most famous for its canned sardine industry but in nineteen ninety two. It was the city's Little League Baseball team that caught the world's attention the team from Zamboanga breezed through the World Series Tournament. Demolishing everyone in its path until trouncing a squad from Long Beach California in the championship. Game fifteen to four from a gold medal in boxing thirty years before the boys victory represented the most significant athletic achievement. In the country's history they returned to the Philippines as heroes where President Fidel Ramos through them. A parade in the capital city and awarded them over forty dollars in scholarship money. Nearly everyone in the country celebrated the team's victory everyone except journalist Al Mendoza as a journalist. Mendoza's job was to tell the truth. Which wasn't always easy in a country like the Philippines twenty years before dictator Ferdinand Marcos had banned anything beyond state-sanctioned news and only recently after a regime change had independent news outlets resumed operation. Just a day. After the team's Victory Parade Mendoza published a column in the daily Enquirer with the heading mothers. How old are your children? He not only cast doubt on the ages of the players from Zamboanga City. But whether they were actually from the small town as they claimed to qualify for the Little League world series players must be between ten and twelve years old and the player must live within the geographic boundary of the town or city that his or her team represents for example. Boy From Austin Texas. Can't play on team from Dallas. Ten to twelve is also a tricky age because of the disparity and boys sizes and appearance at that age some of almost reach their adult height will others are still under five feet tall to Mendoza and many others the Filipino players looked too and too poised for boys that age after he published his column. The American League president fact sheet of questions to his counterpart in the Philippines to confirm the players were the correct age and if they were all from Zamboanga City in his response the Filipino. Little League president declared that all the players were of legal age but admitted that several from outside Zamboanga city had been added to the roster because the original players weren't able allowed to travel to the United States. He explained that Zamboanga City is a very rural area and that many of the boys were needed to work on their parents farms. Others had been too afraid to fly. He also maintained that if the substitution hadn't been made the original team from Zamboanga City would have beaten the Americans by twice as much but days later Mendoza and his colleagues revealed that excluding the eight players added to the roster from other cities the six players actually from Zamboanga city. Were all over. Asia anywhere from thirteen to fifteen years old and had assumed the identities of younger boys in town that the team had replaced their original manager with coach from Manila. A coach who couldn't even speak or understand the dialect used in Zamboanga City. Furthermore the parents of the overage athletes had also assumed false identities in an effort to maintain the ruse. Maybe the Little League Baseball could overlook the replacement of a few kids who were too scared to fly but when it came to systematic fraud perpetrated by multiple generations. They had no choice but to strip the Filipino team of its title and awarded to the boys from

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