Knothole League Plays Hardball With Kid

11-year-old James Tucker takes his baseball very seriously.

"I'd like to get on a select team next year and one day play in the majors," he explained.

Right now though, this little leaguer has major league problems. Recently, James quit his Knothole team, the Covedale Black Cobras. The MVP on last year's team, James says the Cobras were more like the Bad News Bears.

"All they do is play around. Don't take it (game) serious."

When James quit the team and went to join another team, Knothole officials said he was under contract and refused to release him.

James' dad thinks it's nuts. And summoned FOX 9 out of the bullpen for help.

"This ain't like Sammy Sosa wanting to play for another team and walking out. It's an 11-year-old kid who wants to play baseball,"  he told FOX 19 Consumer Reporter Tom Sussi.

True. But first FOX 19 had to make sure there was no illegal recruiting stuff going on.

"They give you a new car," Sussi asked James jokingly.

"No! Signing bonus? no!"

FOX 19 then met with league officials. They told Sussi players sign contracts to insure full rosters. Still, in the end, they agreed it was in the best interest of the game to let James switch teams.

"When the news gets involved. We don't want the bad publicity. We're a good organization," said Mike Pong of the Covedale Athletic Association.

A few days later, James was back in uniform for the Dunham Cobras. Hitting. Stealing bases. And scoring runs. The kid's dream of playing in the bigs is alive and well.

The Covedale Athletic Association has been producing Knothole teams for more than 40 years. It's a solid organization.

If you're interested in helping out the association, call Mike Pong (513) 471-8909.