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Major League Baseball asks USA Baseball to investigate alleged 'beaning' threat in Durham

Union Leader Correspondent

April 19. 2018 1:58PM
After an alleged “beaning” threat in Durham, ESPN is reporting Major League Baseball has asked the governing body for amateur baseball to investigate the claims. KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent 

DURHAM — Major League Baseball has reached out to USA Baseball to look into allegations that a local coach threatened to have an 11-year-old girl “beaned” by another child if she ended up on his team, according to ESPN.

In a Tuesday report, ESPN’s Kavitha A. Davidson wrote that according to Tony Reagins, executive vice president of baseball and softball development for Major League Baseball, the league is investigating the incident. If the allegations are true, Reagins said there must be decisive action.

“If what is reported is factual, it’s just not acceptable, and I would go so far as to recommend that those coaches that were involved in this be removed,” the former general manager of the Los Angeles Angels told Davidson.

The allegations by the girl’s father, Dan Klein, went viral last week after he emailed a complaint to a number of officials and national media picked up the story.

Klein submitted his complaint to Ben Genes, chairman of the Oyster River Youth Association board of directors, on April 7. It stated that during a March 21 majors draft meeting at Libby’s Bar and Grill on Main Street in Durham, coach Jeff Robar said if the girl was put on his team he would have another child “bean her right in the ear hole and she’ll quit instantaneously.”

‘Beaning’ is a baseball term for intentionally hitting another player with the ball, usually with the intention of intimidating or injuring the player.

The alleged threat followed a conversation by coaches about Klein, who claims they discussed what they are supposed to do when a parent of a team member has a restraining order and what to do if he files a police report.

“I must stress that I have never pursued any legal action against any of these men and I have always treated them with respect,” Klein said in the complaint.

When reached by email Tuesday night, Klein said he is not participating in any interviews and does not have a comment.

“We’re just awaiting the results of the investigation,” he said.

Messages left for Robar were not returned. Robar’s wife said he was not at home at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when the Union Leader knocked on the door of his home in Lee.

Nobody was at Demerritt Park in Madbury Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Three other coaches present at the meeting have retained attorneys.

The ORYA is conducting an internal investigation. Director Matthew Glode said Wednesday that he could not discuss the details of their review process but that USA Baseball has not reached out to them yet.

Inquiries sent to media representatives for Major League Baseball and USA Baseball were not returned.

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said Wednesday the town has yet to receive any new information regarding the investigation, but is withholding funding pending the outcome.

“Durham will not release $42,745 in funding for ORYA until we are satisfied with the outcome of an independently conducted investigation into the recent alleged incident involving the draft for baseball teams that took place at Libby’s Bar last month and any remedial steps that are deemed to be necessary,” he said. “If either Major League Baseball or USA Baseball undertakes such an investigation into these allegations and shares with us the results, I believe the Oyster River community would have a great deal of confidence in the findings.”

Selig said ORYA is an important partner in the community, imparting athletic instruction and teaching children sportsmanship.

Children from Durham, Madbury and Lee participate in the ORYA.

Opening day for ORYA majors baseball is May 5, according to the schedule posted online.

Baseball Durham Lee Madbury