SHINNSTON, W.Va. – The recent passing of Bridgeport-native, and umpire Mike Cook was sudden and unexpected.
Umpires and friends of Cook were emotional Monday, less than 24 hours after being on the field with him at the 9-11 State Tournament.
District 5 organized tributes and a group prayer during Monday’s action as a sign of remembrance of the veteran umpire, who passed away at the age of 58.
Unfortunately, Monday marked the second day in a row that the pitcher’s mound at the Shinnston Little League complex was surrounded by teams for a prayer.
“Pretty much everybody’s hurting. Not only for the Aloi family, and the Brockleman family but, it’s easier to think about our own pain because we lost our friend. But we try to focus on the good times, and the fun that we had together. And just celebrate the accomplishments as a man, because he had a lot of them,” fellow umpire Boyd Petry said.
The same occurred Sunday for the Bridgeport team members that were recently involved in a vehicle accident.
Cook’s passing is now somewhat coupled with that accident, as unfortunate incidents surrounding the tournament.
But the hope is that through the sadness, it can bring the District 5 family together.
“As you saw yesterday with the prayer circle for the Bridgeport kids, the reaction we’ve gotten today from Mike’s passing, it’s bigger than just baseball. Teaching these kids life lessons, and that’s a big deal. And yes, it is a rallying point here. It’s great to be able to have this, to have this sense of community and be able to come out and still run this tournament,” District 5 Administrator Jeff Mossburg said.
If the reaction from the community, as well as from visiting teams from around the state, are any indication, District 5 is not alone among the Little League family, and the community at large.