Friday, June 28, 2019

Chris Guccione to Host Youth Lakewood Umpire

Major League umpire Chris Guccione, with an assist from UMPS CARE Charities (@UmpsCare), reached out to 13-year-old Josh Cordova, the ump at the center of the Lakewood, Colorado baseball brawl involving seven-year-old teams and parents that cleared the stands, spilling onto the field to fight as the children darted toward the dugouts and into the stands themselves.

In an epitomization of the officiating community spirit, Guccione will host Cordova and his family during the Sunday, June 30 game between Los Angeles and Colorado at Coors Field.

Cordova spoke out just days after the massive fight during the Bear Creek Junior Sports Association and Jeffco Co-Op's youth baseball season. Denver affiliate KUSA reported that Cordova was "really shaken up by what happened...he feels guilty because he couldn't control the game or the parents."

During his interview with KUSA days later, Cordova recounted that the brawl began as the result of a warning issued to a fan who had employed profanity, leading to an argument amongst the coaches, which devolved into the massive melee: "I shouldn't have to tell a grown man how to act around kids...they're teaching the children a bad lesson, they shouldn't be fighting over a game."
Related Post13-Year-Old Umpire Cordova Talks CO Brawl (6/21/19).
Related PostWorkplace Violence - Parents Brawl at Youth Game (6/20/19).

Guccione invited Cordova to Sunday's game.
Guccione, a Salida, Colorado native, explained to The Denver Post what spurred him into action: "This is my state, this is where my heart is, so when I saw the incident that happened, I was concerned. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is in my backyard.’"

The veteran of 2500+ MLB regular season games described his reaction to the news story of a fight at a youth baseball game: "I was sickened, really. I couldn’t believe this happened." Continued Guccione, "it is embarrassing. It’s a 7-year-old game with a 13-year-old umpire? Come on."

Guccione officiated a few innings at the 2018 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Guccione at the Little League World Series.
Guccione's professional baseball crew, which includes Tony Randazzo, Laz Diaz, and Cory Blazer, happens to be officiating this weekend's Dodgers-Rockies series at Coors Field, and Gooch has arranged for Cordova's family to receive five tickets to Sunday's game: "I’m excited to meet Josh at the ballpark and see him and his family in person. It’s not only about him, it’s about the kids — they were affected, and we can’t forget them and their parents. It was just an unfortunate situation."

The Colorado native and UMPS CARE Charities are making the best of it, though, and the Colorado Rockies are providing the Cordova's with parking on Sunday.

Chris Guccione #68 was the UEFL's Umpire of the Year in 2016 and serves on the UMPS CARE Charities Board of Directors alongside Gary Darling (President), Jim Reynolds #77 (Secretary) Glenn Miller (Secretary), James Bowman, Samuel Dearth, Paul Emmel #50, Marvin Hudson #51, Keith Kemph, Scott Kennedy, Dan McGinnis, Tim Timmons #95, Caroline Williams, and Larry Young.

Guccione pictured wearing a blue shirt.
Guccione and his wife Amy, who serves on UMPS CARE's Volunteer Wives Committee, started Hike for Bears in 2015, a fundraising event that accepts pledges per mile that the Gucciones (and their dog Remmington) hike.

Gooch's ejection of Gabe Kapler on June 22, 2019 marked his first heave-ho in over three years (6/10/16, Dale Sveum). Kapler was subsequently fined for kicking dirt at the veteran umpire.
Related PostMLB Ejection 100 - Chris Guccione (1; Gabe Kapler) (6/22/19).


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