In a letter sent to "All Northborough Baseball and Softball Families," the Northborough Baseball and Softball Association addressed the issue of a "competing recreational baseball program" in Northborough this year.
The letter, sent by league president Jim Forbush, states that a group of people, which includes two former NBSA presidents, got a formal Babe Ruth charter and is "planning to field its own team this season."
According to Forbush, the new program is led by Xavier Reilly, but NBSA was "told that Sean Durkin will be coaching the team they are pulling together."
Controversy surrounded the NSBA last year when former NSBA president Durkin was voted off the board, prompting some to write letters of disapproval and defense, and assert that the vote was taken without giving an opportunity for Durkin to be there.
Forbush and others involved with the association, flatly denied the allegations, detailing the nature of the decision and added, "There was no secret meeting."
The Northborough Babe Ruth website states that the "2013 baseball season is fast approaching and with that comes a new opportunity for 13, 14 and 15 year old players living in Northboro. Local baseball has reestablished its ties to Babe Ruth Baseball and its dedication to 90' diamond baseball for players 13 years old and above."
Based on recent activities, Forbush told Patch, there are now two "Babe Ruth-level" programs in Northborough. The NSBA is not officially chartered with Babe Ruth, but plays in a league with Marlborough, Westborough, Hudson and Southborough, and uses Babe Ruth rules. According to Forbush, only Hudson and Marlborough are officially chartered with Babe Ruth.
The new program launched by Reilly is incorporated as "Babe Ruth Baseball," and will play different towns, being part of District 5.
With two programs open to 13-15 year olds, both programs will be vying for the same pool of players now.
"They are being forced to choose between the two programs," said Forbush.
In the letter from the NSBA, the board states that it is "not aware of any other town or community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where a competing recreational baseball program is in place. Northborough baseball has orgaized and played 'Babe Ruth level' baseball without a formal Babe Ruth charter for many years, including years covered by the tenures of former NBSA presidents. The current board intends to continue this practice for everyone who registered to play 'Babe Ruth baseball' this spring. The board wants to continue this practice, having all its programs, including Little League baseball, 'Babe Ruth level' baseball, and youth softball, operating under the NBSA umbrella."
The competing Babe Ruth organization had not reached out to any current board member of NSBA before taking this action, the letter states. Only after had it been granted the charter was it informed.
"We believe this was done purposefully, as we know that this new organization wants to function independently of the NBSA, contrary to the way things have been handled in Northborough for years," said the letter.
The board also adds that the new Babe Ruth league is seeking to obtain a permit at Memorial Field, where NSBA has played for years, and has already applied for a permit this season.
"The NBSA board believes the conduct of this organization is an unabashed power grab, juvenile in its nature, and contrary to the mission of our program: to do what is best for the children of Northborough," says the letter.
Editor's note: Northborough Patch also reached out to Sean Durkin, but had not received a response by the time of publication. The article will be updated to reflect any feedback we may receive.