little league

Homestead residents continue to express anger and frustration about the Homestead Youth Baseball League at J.D.Redd Park.

During the recent Council meeting, some parents expressed anger and frustration while others showed support for the program. Parents complained about how the league is being run and said that some coaches and players don’t believe they are being treated fairly. They spoke for about two hours during the meeting.

Parents involved with the baseball league have engaged in significant arguments at the park and in front of children.

League President Carlos Garcia said he has been treated very unfairly by parents who don’t like how the league is being run and has felt threated by individuals who are dissatisfied with the league. He has said at recent meetings that players receive good opportunities to improve their baseball skills and travel to other parks to play. He is especially proud of the Cooperstown team, that gives players a chance to compete at a higher level.

However, some residents have complained that Garcia is too dictatorial and harsh as a leader.

Homestead City Staff conducted an investigation on how the baseball league is being run. The investigation found that the league was deficient in that it had not elected a board as is required under its agreement with the City of Homestead.

Further, the program had not submitted a schedule of games and practices prior to the season and adhered to that schedule.

The league’s leadership has until April 12 to cure those defaults that is per their agreement.

Additionally, staff made a recommendation to standardize, cap or eliminate coaching fees, ensure equal field time for games and practices between all teams in the league. Also, to standardize and post the requirements for scholarships and payment plans and to post code of conduct and include with all registration materials, according to Zackery Good, assistant city manager.

A new board to include parents and coaches has been formed. An election has been held and the board will consist of coaches and parents who live in Homestead. The league President Carlos Garcia will retain his position as president for now. The league is run by an outside contractor.

The board will be formed through an election.

“We have to allow for due process and proper handling of parents needs and smooth communication with city staff,” he said.

There is a travel component to the baseball program at J.D. Redd Park. There are parents who are willing to pay more for private baseball coaching.

Councilwoman Erica Avila said, “We did find some deficiencies in the way the baseball program is operated. We want to make sure that all park programs are meeting high standards and we are giving everyone consideration,” she said.

Councilwoman Jenifer Bailey said some of the complaints involve typical sports issues.

Parents may believe a coach treats some players unfairly or is too demanding. They may believe an umpire makes bad calls. Some may want to see more competitive programs while others want the league to be about teaching the basics of baseball and having fun.

“The Homestead Little League is based in Harris Field and it is more about the fundamentals of baseball. Some want to play tournaments and play at other parks which is what Homestead Youth Baseball offers,” said Good.

The Council will be monitoring the new board and baseball at J.D. Redd Park. If it is determined the existing league is moving in a positive direction, then the current league will likely remain in place. But if there

continue to be problems and significant disagreements among parents and coaches, the Council may issue e a request for proposal for a new baseball operation.

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