EDITORIAL: Out of chaos, there may be opportunity for Susquehanna, Central leagues

York Dispatch
  • East Prospect recently won the York County Baseball Championship Series.
  • That title has been disputed by the Central League over a player eligibility issue.
  • The CL demanded that East Prospect vacate the title. The Pistons refused.
  • The CL then banned East Prospect from the Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament.
East Prospect's Austin Gallagher is seen here during the York County Baseball Championship Series. His eligibility for that series has been disputed by the Central League.

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”

That quote has been attributed to Sun Tzu in his famous military treatise, “The Art of War,” which was written more 2,500 years ago.

York County baseball fans can only hope that old Sun Tzu knew what he was talking about, because over the last few weeks, there’s been plenty of chaos on the local diamonds.

The Central and Susquehanna leagues have been involved in a dispute about the recently completed York County Baseball Championship Series.

The two leagues annually hold a best-of-3 series to determine the best adult baseball team in the county. It’s become an annual rite of summer.

This year, SL champ East Prospect bested CL champion Stoverstown.

Normally, that would be the end of the story. This year, however, it was only the start.

Stoverstown won the series opener, only to see the Pistons rebound to win the final two games and the series.

CL cries foul: There was just one problem. The star player in the final two games for East Prospect, Austin Gallagher, had not played a single game during the regular season for the Pistons. In fact, he had just returned to the United States the day before the final two games of the county series. Gallagher had been playing pro ball in Germany.

The CL officials cried foul. They didn’t believe that Gallagher should’ve been eligible to play for a couple reasons.

First, Gallagher was not eligible to play in the SL playoffs because he didn’t play in the league-mandated five regular-season games. The CL believed that, since he wasn’t eligible for the SL playoffs, he shouldn’t have been eligible for the county series.

Second, the CL believed that, since Gallagher had just completed a pro season in Germany, he shouldn’t be able compete in a series between two amateur leagues.

SL has different view: The SL, however, had a different view. The SL folks say Gallagher was on the Pistons’ roster since the beginning of the season. Since there are no written eligibility rules for the county series, the SL believes that Gallagher’s presence on the roster was enough to make him eligible.

The SL also felt that, since his pro season had ended before the county series began, his pro status had also ended at that point.

With impasse over dispute, Central League decides to bar East Prospect from Kerrigan event

The CL demanded that East Prospect vacate the title. East Prospect refused. The CL responded by barring East Prospect and its players from the season-ending Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament, which is run by the CL and annually held over Labor Day weekend.

In turn, the SL said if East Prospect couldn’t compete, then none of the SL teams would compete in the Kerrigan.

Future repercussions? The dispute could threaten future interleague competition.

This past season, the two leagues allowed interleague regular-season contests for the first time. Most folks in both leagues seemed to agree it was a success. 

Now, however, future of regular-season interleague play, and the county title series itself, could be in jeopardy.

So that’s where we stand.

In our view, East Prospect’s use of a “ringer” wasn’t within the spirit of the series, even though there was no written rule against it.

An opportunity? The recent chaos, however, could also provide an opportunity. The recent dispute has gotten the two leagues a ton of local attention. It was negative, attention, yes, but it was attention.

Once a few months have passed, hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the two leagues will get together and find a way to move forward. That should start with written rules to govern future county title series and interleague play.

If they can do that, future showdowns between the two leagues will almost certainly generate more interest than normal. The recent dispute should only heighten interest in the rivalry, which would be good for both leagues.

 It would also prove old Sun Tzu knew what he was talking about.