Finally there's a prison sentence that everyone can agree is just. A judge today refused to reduce the sentence of Mark Downs Jr., a former youth baseball coach convicted of bribing a player to bean his 9-year-old autistic teammate.
Downs argued in his appeal that his former lawyer was ineffective. Well, yeah dude. It's hard to be effective when you're defending someone who paid someone to throw a ball at an autistic kid! Think about it.
Downs was convicted of corruption of minors and simple assault for offering $25 to an 8-year-old boy to hit his mildly autistic teammate with a ball while warming up before a June 2005 playoff game. The younger boy testified at trial that, on Downs' instructions, he purposely threw a ball that hit his teammate in the groin, then threw another that hit him in the ear.What's sicker in all of this? That he bribed the kid in the first place? Or is it that Downs goaded the kid into throwing again after the first ball missed? Or could it be that Downs never even ended up paying the kid?
What was Downs' problem with the autistic kid? He wanted to win. League rules stipulated that each player must play at least three innings. But the kid wasn't as talented as the other players, so Downs didn't want him in the game. Of course, it was the playoffs!
So as Downs sits in jail for the next 1-6 years, he can make himself feel better by recalling the words of the great Herm Edwards - "You play to win the game!"