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U.S. Little League champs stripped of title thanks to coach they beat, 43-2

The 2014 United States champions are no more thanks to stretching the legal boundaries to build a super team.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Little League officials announced Wednesday morning that Jackie Robinson West, the 2014 U.S. Little League World Series champions, have vacated their wins and been stripped of their title thanks to the use of ineligible players. In essence, they attempted to build a Little League all-star team by bringing aboard players from Chicago districts outside of their own, and a neighboring league caught on and reported as much to Little League officials.

According to Evergreen Park officials -- the neighboring league which caught on to the illegal roster -- Jackie Robinson West spent their 2014 "manipulating, bending and blatantly breaking the rules for the sole purpose of winning at all costs." This resulted in a 43-2 beatdown for Evergreen Park over just four innings at the hands of Jackie Robinson West during the sectional playoffs portion of the Little League season.

Officials for Jackie Robinson West still deny wrongdoing, but it's clear that Little League does not agree given their decision. Evergreen Park officials did not find it difficult to discover evidence of wrongdoing, thanks to modern technology: "All you had to do was Google any one of the players' names and their hometowns outside of Chicago pop up."

Jackie Robinson West wanted attention, and they got it. Said attention just also happened to be their downfall thanks to a coach who just maybe was still a bit upset over losing by almost six touchdowns in a shortened game.

While Jackie Robinson West was under investigation by Little League officials, the Las Vegas squad which lost the U.S. title game spoke out and said they wanted the Chicago-based team stripped of their victory. It is worth pointing out, though, that they didn't want the title to be handed to Nevada's Mountain Ridge squad -- just for the rules to be upheld:

"It's not a matter of changing the name on the title or the championship," Black said. "The outcome of the game is what it is, and the kids have moved on. For us, it's more of an ethics thing, a matter of doing what's right. Our intention is to not have the next 27 kids put in this position."

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That victory -- as well as the others -- have now been taken away. It's disappointing without context, but also because Jackie Robinson West was the first-ever all-African-American team to take home the Little League championship. Now, that history has been erased.

This is not the first Little League World Series scandal, of course. Most famous is Danny Almonte, who blew away opposing lineups and helped his Bronx team to a third-place Little League World Series finish in 2001. It turned out, though, that Almonte was not 12 as expected, but actually 14, two years too old to play in the tournament.

Incidents like these should serve to remind fans that professional baseball players aren't playing a kids' game, no matter how many times angry fans shout those very words whenever a major contract is signed -- kids are playing an adults' game, and that's how we end up with unfortunate situations and cheating like this.