Last year’s Little League national champions have been stripped of their title under grounds the team cheated.
Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West were found to have used players from outside the team’s local area in order to build up an all-star team. In addition to losing their title, manager Darold Butler has been suspended and the team must also drop all postseason victories
"This is a heartbreaking decision,” Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement. “What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome."
On the streets of Chicago the team meant something more than just baseball. Their victory built up a sense of community, innocence and the ability to defy odds. The win stood as a proud moment for Chicagoans in that their children could make headlines without it being violent and tragic.
One of the team’s players, Brandon Green, said at a news conference today that none of his teammates knew or were involved in anything that had to do with adding illegible players to their team.
"And we weren't involved in anything that could have caused us to be stripped of our championship," Green said. "But we do know that we’re champions, our parents know that we’re champions, and the team’s parents know that we’re champions, and Chicago knows we’re champions.”
The title will likely go to Nevada’s Mountain Ridge Little League.