Barstow LL Parents Teach Their AV Counterparts A Thing Or Two About Gang Fighting

It was Barstow vs. Apple Valley both on the diamond at Field 1 at James Woody Park and off on March 23. The players, all of whom were Little Leaguers between the ages of eight and 12, confined their competition to the game of baseball. Those competing outside the foul lines were adults, the parents of the players on the field. Word is the Apple Valley Nine won the baseball game. The Barstow parents prevailed in the fisticuffs division, aided, no doubt, by at least two of the parents who did not scruple about employing baseball bats during their contribution to the melee.
The rowdiness started with a vociferous Barstow parent who was more than once told to restrain himself and sit down. At some point, reportedly in the fifth inning, he was ejected from the premises. He left Field 1 but just as the game was concluding he returned, as it was understood he would be able to pick up his son. But when he made his way toward the bleachers with his wife in tow, he had a baseball bat with him. He exhorted several of the parents of his son’s teammates that they should not docilely accept being disrespected by the Apple Valley community, managing to stir up some level of indignation among the visiting Barstowians. When he confronted the coach of the Apple Valley Little League team, using a tirade of profanity in the process, a fight broke out in which those on the Apple Valley side, despite their larger numbers, got the worst of it because they did not realize until it was too late that the ground rules for the fracas included the use of baseball bats.
The psychology of crowds appears to have been at play, and alcohol use by the parent who was ejected may have been a factor as well. A century ago, Barstow, a major railroad town, ranked as one of San Bernardino County’s five major cities. As late as the 1950s, it was the only incorporated desert city other than Needles, and was then a more substantial place than the communities of Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley and Adelanto. In the years since, Barstow has been eclipsed population-wise by all four of those, which are now municipalities in their own right. Some 70 percent of the Barstow population are recipients of some form of public assistance. In this way, many who live in the city have a built-in inferiority complex and walk about with chips on their shoulders when they must encounter those from outside the immediate Barstow environs. Barstow sports teams have in recent years taken on a reputation for bringing with them fans and supporters who are prone to violence at the drop of a hat.
Apple Valley, with its air of civility and its municipal code that provides that houses be built on lots no smaller than one half acre, may lay claim to being the jewel of the High Desert in terms of livability. Its residents, nevertheless, proved to be no match for the more determined and socially disadvantaged cudgel-wielding visitors from Barstow, who demonstrated they are not going to gladly suffer the indignity of biased umpiring by hometown officials resulting in their progeny being declared out on a late throw to the bag when the runner was clearly safe, no matter how much money the upper crust locals have.
Authorities were summoned, but by the time the sheriff’s department arrived, all but one family from Barstow had departed James Woody Park. That family’s leaving had been delayed because the 17-year-old sister of one of the Barstow Little League team’s players had been injured in the tumult. She accepted treatment by paramedics with the Apple Valley Fire Protection District, but neither she, her brother nor her parents could be persuaded by sheriff’s deputies to finger any of the Barstow residents involved in the brawl. They were allowed to leave and no arrests were made of any of the remaining parents from Apple Valley who were yet on the scene, though some had made statements that could be construed as admissions they were involved in the fight.

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