Oh, New Jersey — you keep us so endlessly entertained…
The latest laughing stock to come out of the Garden State is 40-year-old Joe Bellamy, who started a fight with a baseball umpire over an allegedly bad pitch that the ump called a strike. The kicker: it was during a little league game, where the players are between 8 and 11 years old. The other kicker: Bellamy’s outburst backfired — from the sound of it, he got his ass handed to him by the 21-year-old umpire.
According to the Piscataway Township Police Department, about 8:50 p.m. Friday, cops were called to the little league complex to respond to the brawl.
Bellamy, who coaches the “Astros,” was angry that umpire Dave Delnegro III called a pitch that hit the ground before it got to the plate a strike. Delnegro claims Bellamy stormed on to the field to argue the call.
Again, just so we’re all on the same page, this was during a little league game, where the players are between 8 and 11 years old.
As Bellamy was arguing with Delnegro, Delnegro claims he felt
threatened, so he punched Bellamy several times in the face, leaving him
According to MyCentralNewJersey.com, the fight happened in front of about 40 fans and parents, in addition to the young players on both teams.
Bellamy never punched Delnegro, and claims he didn’t threaten him. Delnegro, however, tells a different tale.
Through his attorney, Delnegro issued the following statement:
“Mr. Delnegro was initially reluctant to umpire in Piscataway, having
been previously warned about the unusually volatile nature of certain
coaches and fans in that township.
fact, Mr. Delnegro’s father is also a little league umpire, and was
greatly concerned for his son’s safety and well-being in Piscataway.
Their concerns proved to be well-founded.
“Mr. Delnegro’s position is that on the date of the alleged incident,
while he was umpiring, one of the coaches (the alleged victim, Joseph
M. Bellamy), became verbally abusive to the point of belligerence over a
call that he had made. In an attempt to maintain order, Mr. Delnegro
ejected the irate man from the game.
rather than exit the field, Mr. Bellamy advanced upon Mr. Delnegro in a
loud, aggressive and threatening manner, and actually made physical
contact with Mr. Delnegro, such that Mr. Delnegro feared for his safety.
“Accordingly, Mr. Delnegro intends to assert self-defense should the meritless charge against him be maintained.”
Only Delnegro’s been charged with any crimes — he faces one count of
simple assault at a youth sporting event. No court date has been set.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 10, 2012