High school baseball players in Texas alleged to have sacrificed chickens to improve performance

Eva-Marie Ayala, McClatchy Newspapers
April 10, 2011
Filed under MCT, Sports

BENBROOK, Texas (MCT) – Police are investigating allegations that two high school baseball players were involved in an act of animal cruelty with chickens, reportedly in an effort to improve their performance.

The two players, whom the district did not identify, were kicked off the team for the rest of the year and disciplined, school officials said.

The students are alleged to have sacrificed chickens — possibly baby chicks — on the baseball field, according to sources with knowledge of the incident.

Western Hills High School baseball Coach Bobby McIntire said he hadn’t had a chance to talk to the students involved yet and does not know why they did it. “Baseball is very superstitious, and I assume (movies like “Major League”) are where they got it from,” McIntire said.

Fort Worth school district spokesman Clint Bond acknowledged that an incident occurred during spring break at Western Hills. He said he did not know how many chickens were involved. He declined to say how the students were punished and referred further inquiries to the Benbrook police, who are investigating.

Police officials did not return phone calls or emails Wednesday afternoon.

Western Hills was 5-12 overall going into Wednesday night’s game against Southwest High School.

Sacrificing a live chicken to end a hitting slump was referenced in “Major League.” But instead of a live chicken, teammates brought the struggling player a bucket of fried chicken. Last year, in an effort to end a nine-game losing streak, Heath Bell with the San Diego Padres asked a clubhouse attendant to bring in a bucket of chicken.

It didn’t work as the Padres lost their 10th straight after finishing off the chicken.

This is the second reported incident involving Fort Worth high school students and animals this year.

In January, baby chicks and live fish were thrown during a pep rally at North Side High School. Bond said five students were disciplined in that incident.

Sandy Grambort, equine and livestock coordinator for the Humane Society of North Texas, said she was disappointed to learn of the high school incidents and encouraged more education about the humane treatment of animals.

“These kids . . . to them chicken comes from a plastic bag, and they may not understand that chickens are living creatures that feel pain and feel fear,” Grambort said. “. . . You have to look at the intent behind these kids’ acts. That’s what needs to be addressed.”

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Staff writer Drew Davison contributed to this report.

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(c) 2011, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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