MONEE, Ill. --A youth baseball umpire claims that a coach, who is also the mayor of south suburban neighborhood, punched him in the face and broke his jaw during a weekend game involving 7- and 8-year-olds.
Mayor Jay Farquhar has a different take on what happened.
The incident played out on a baseball diamond in front of stunned players and parents during a game between teams from Monee and Park Forest. Farquhar, the home team coach, was allegedly not happy that the umpire was going easy on one of the kids.
"He threw this shot and I never saw the shot coming," said umpire Tim Nelson, who said Farquhar sucker punched him during the game. "That's what it really comes down to: I gave a 7-year-old girl who is playing in a boys' league an extra swing. I'm stunned over the entire matter."
League officials said Farquhar threw the punch. The president of Monee Baseball and Softball League said Farquhar has been suspended from coaching.
"It's kind of unbelievable actually because he's a mayor and he did it in front of the kids," said parent Cassie Szplett. "It's just bad, bad, bad sportsmanship."
"These kids are 7 and 8 years old and it's really sad when you hear of a coach over-reacting like that," said parent Mandy Hanson.
No one answered the door at Mayor Farquhar's home Monday evening.
However, his lawyer claimed the ump was the aggressor.
Nelson admits to grabbing Farquhar's arm but he says he only did it after the mayor called him a drunk.
The game went on, with the coach gone, and Nelson behind the plate.
"I finished the game for the kids. I didn't know my jaw was broke, but I was bleeding from the mouth and I wanted to finish the game for the children. Why should they go home disappointed because of a parent?" Nelson said.
Nelson said he will continue to ump, but will undergo surgery on Tuesday. His jaw will be wired shut for a month.
Editor's note: The online version of this story has been updated to reflect that the teams involved are not affiliated with Little League Baseball Inc.