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6 things you didn't know about the Jackie Robinson West whistleblower

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Jackie Robinson West was stripped of its Little League World Series title when one man, Chris Janes, blew the whistle on their use of ineligible players. Throwing light on the team's cheating became a life-changing event for the Little League coach, as outlined in David Mendell's SB Nation longform "Little League, Big Trouble." These are some of the eye-opening moments from that piece.

1. What undid Jackie Robinson West was beating a team by too much

As part of Jackie Robinson West's march through the national tournament last summer, in the sectionals, the ultra-talented JRW squad had beaten Evergreen Park by an outrageous score of 43-2 in a game cut to four innings by the mercy rule. Upset parents questioned Janes just how their All-Star team suffered such an embarrassing thumping, especially since their boys had beaten JRW as 10-year-olds in 2012. Janes replied that he believed JRW recruited ringers from the suburbs, although, at the time, he had no specific proof.

2. Jane's belief in fair play extends far beyond the Jackie Robinson West saga

Despite this somewhat pugnacious nature, Janes devoutly believes in fair play, especially in children's sports. In our several interviews, Janes was outspoken against the rapid advancement of travel club sports. He argued that travel sports creates an uneven playing field for families who can afford thousands of dollars per year to put their kids onto professionally coached teams, leaving behind kids of more modest means. "He doesn't believe in that for the little guys," Martus said. "He believes everyone should have equal opportunity. I guess that does make him kind of a rebel, huh?"

3. The Evergreen Park allows kids to play from outside its boundaries too, but the circumstances are different

Janes maintained that his league does not actively recruit players. He said if a player wants to play in the league and doesn't live inside Evergreen Park, the league usually won't turn away the player. But, he added, such players are not permitted to play on the league's All-Star teams. "We want to help as many kids play baseball as possible," he said. "But it's another thing to put players with questionable residency on your tournament team."

4. The stress of being a whistleblower took an immense toll on Jane's family

His wife Andrea initially had been supportive of his cause, but now she had grown concerned about threats the family was receiving by phone and social media. One caller to their home ominously told them, "I hope you burn in hell." Andrea called police and authorities dispatched a cruiser to park in front of their modest two-story brick house for a couple of days. "Why would these men of the cloth incite that sort of anger?" Janes asked. "Nothing good is going to come from that. You are putting people in harm's way."

5. Jackie Robinson West's lawyer is trying to have Janes investigated by the state

Henderson's legal team did not stop there in trying to flip blame onto Janes. In early March, Henderson sent a letter to the offices of the Cook County state's attorney and the Illinois attorney general asking for a criminal investigation into Janes. Henderson wanted to know if laws had been broken because, along with his complaint, Janes had sent Little League officials residency information gleaned from drivers' licenses and other government-held records about the JRW parents, records that are not available to the public.

6. Despite pain, suffering and death threats -- Chris Janes would do it again

"This whole thing was never about race," he said adamantly. "It was about those guys cheating. So when you ask me to look back and ask myself, ‘Would I do it again?' Hell yeah."

The full piece, "Little League, Big Trouble," can be found at SB Nation Longform.


SB Nation presents: Who's to blame for Jackie Robinson West scandal