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Catcher charged with felony assault on umpire

In recent years there has been growing concern over attacks by athletes and parents on sports officials. Recently in Coral Springs, Florida, an incident at a baseball game led to felony charges against one of the players. The 21-year-old catcher at an adult amateur game was arrested and charged with felony battery on a sports official.

The incident happened when the catcher attempted to pick off a base runner at first base. The umpire called the base runner safe. The catcher disagreed and allegedly began swearing. The umpire made a motion with his arm to eject the catcher from the game. According to the allegations of the umpire, the catcher then removed his mask and threw it at the umpire, striking him in the back. The umpire spent the night at a local hospital, complaining of pain in his low back. He stated that he had undergone a hip replacement following an automobile accident some years ago.

As is the case in many incidents involving an assault arising out of a heated argument, the recollections of witnesses differ. The catcher's brother, who was the pitcher at the time of the incident, claims his brother simply threw the catcher's mask on the ground in frustration and that it bounced up and hit the umpire in the back. The catcher's attorney noted that the mask was similar to a plastic hockey mask and weighs less than a pound. However, the umpire pointed out that the mask had metal bars. The catcher's father says he heard the umpire stayed and umpired the remainder of the game before seeking treatment at the hospital. The umpire claims he went to the hospital when the pain got worse.

In a case like this the testimony of unbiased eyewitnesses may end up being critical. Assuming there was a crowd of any size at the game, a reasonable investigation by defense counsel will include an effort to locate and interview them. This also sounds like a case in which at least a reduction of charges may be appropriate.

Source:, "Baseball umpire hospitalized Luis Alvarado after allegedly attacked by catcher Bret Couvell," Nov. 8, 2012

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