LETTER TO THE EDITOR: For the Love of the Game

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letters to the editor            President of Brawley Little League, Jesse Rodriguez, is no novice when it comes to the game of baseball. He grew up participating in all divisions of Little League; Minor A, Minor B, Majors, Juniors, and Seniors. He also played for the Brawley High School team his freshman through senior years. It was his dream to be a professional baseball player as he had seen on television and at live games he attended, but he made choices during and post High School that kept him from achieving his life ambition. Now, he eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. It is his life. So much so that he decided to become involved in the Brawley Little League, where his roots were so deeply planted. When then-President, Oliver Gastelo decided he would retire from his presidency years ago, Mr. Rodriguez found it to be an excellent opportunity to continue to keep the integrity of Little League going; the way he remembers it as a kid. He loves it so much, that he is also the Secretary for the Local District 22 Little League.

Many weeknights and weekends you will find him working on and improving the condition of the baseball fields to keep the players safe and the fields in excellent playing condition. In addition to the countless phone calls he receives daily in baseball related issues, he spends many nights on baseball related business.   His presidency does keep him from being available to help maintain things at home or away from any one of his four children’s activities, but it is all part of the job. And they love and support him for being involved in such a positive way.

His decisions and practices as President, along with those approved by the Board have been challenged and questioned innumerous times. Interestingly enough, this year’s board is comprised of husband and wife teams. All the board members (who also love the game) have children that play baseball and feel that this not only maintains the integrity of the Brawley Little League, but also strengthens the family unit. Regardless of what bystanders believe, he and/or the Board will not deviate from the Little League International rulebook. It is the bible of Little League. The decisions he and the Board make are always in compliance with the rulebook and board-approved bylaws. They are never made to give any team an advantage, even the team their own children are on. There is always a level playing field. Mr. Rodriguez is very selective when is comes to who he wants representing the League, whether it is Board members, managers, coaches, or umpires. He believes in the ability and integrity of every person in their position.

“I had been wanting to redraft for the last three years. It’s the preferred method of drafting by Little League International. Minor A and Minor B is a mandatory redraft every year. Majors is optional and this year was the first year the Board approved a redraft due to the diminished number of teams in the division.“ Mr. Rodriguez stated.

It has caused quite a controversy, but it is well within the rules set by Little League International. He continued to state that “if there is ever a question or concern about any of the actions or decisions by the Brawley Little League Board, feel free to contact me or any of the Board members personally.”

Mr. Rodriguez continues to be supportive of his Board, managers, coaches, players, parents, and volunteers and hopes that everyone has a very productive and encouraging year. He can be reached at 760-791-8305 for questions or concerns.

Kelley Rodriguez