Dave Portnoy mocks touching display of sportsmanship in Little League Regionals

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The annual Little League World Series is upon us with teams throughout the country hoping to punch their ticket to Williamsport. Pearland, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma faced off in Tuesday’s Southwest Region Championship in Waco, where Pearland right-hander Kaiden Shelton lost control of an 0-2 fastball, leveling Tulsa shortstop Isaiah Jarvis to load the bases in the first inning.

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It was that kind of afternoon for Shelton, who didn’t make it out of the first, recording just two outs before getting the hook from manager Aaron Cummings. Clearly rattled at having injured a fellow player, Shelton appeared shaken up, holding his head in his hands while trying to regain his composure. Then, in a beautiful display of sportsmanship, Jarvis approached the pitcher’s mound, comforting Shelton by wrapping him in a big hug.

Genuine moments like these, untarnished by the world-weary cynicism of old age, are what make youth baseball such a needed palette cleanser, a rare sliver of hope in a divided country hopelessly polluted by ego and self-interest. Naturally, chronic troll Dave Portnoy, the face and founder of Barstool Sports (for better, or worse), was unimpressed, ridiculing Jarvis for his sweet gesture in a tweet that quickly went viral.

In all likelihood, Portnoy’s hot take was meant, not as a serious criticism, but as a pot-stirring device meant to antagonize opponents of Barstool Sports (of which there are many). A shameless contrarian who relishes playing the villain, it’s debatable whether Portnoy believes half the things he tweets or if he’s merely playing a character, crafting ludicrous arguments in pursuit of hate clicks. Portnoy has found that to be a successful business model, though it doesn’t make him any less of a jerk, using his social media platform of almost three million followers to mock a kind-hearted Little Leaguer for the crime of helping another player.

Despite a rocky first inning, Pearland would go on to win 9-4, securing their place in next week’s Little League World Series.

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