Photo courtesy Jose Sandoval — some of the players and coaching staff
Burbank Volunteer Coach Jose Sandoval probably would have preferred to spend this morning out at a sunny park, teaching some local kids how to swing a bat or throw a baseball. Instead, Coach Sandoval was in Burbank Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. today, to face a charge of misdemeanor battery arising from an altercation during a game at McCambridge Park on May 18, 2009.
After a heated exchange over a disputed call, Sandoval says he headed for the dugout followed close on his heels by an umpire. When Sandoval turned around to face the ump, apparently the two men brushed up against each other. In most places, and with most folks, that would have been ignored. Not in this case. Sandoval got thrown out of the game and suspended from coaching for a year. Also, the Burbank City Attorney’s Office hit Sandoval with a criminal case.
I dropped by the Burbank Superior Court this morning and was surprised to find more than 50 other citizens along with Coach Sandoval, his wife Nancy and their two girls. Also, George Garcia and his two kids were there to show support for Sandoval. Folks with traffic violations got their cases heard first. As the clock ticked away, more and more defendants arrived in the courtroom to present their cases before Commissioner Dennis L. Shanklin. I was not able to stay for Coach Sandoval’s case, but he updated me this afternoon.
With a public defender representing him, Sandoval pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor battery charge and was ordered back to court on August 18, 2009 for a preliminary hearing. Sandoval is now collecting evidence and the names of witnesses to build his case and prepare for that hearing.
To say that Sandoval loves baseball is an understatement. For the past 16 years, he has been a volunteer coach for the Burbank Parks & Recreation Department. He speaks with affection about the five teams and 80 kids he coaches, or was coaching, until that controversial incident on a park field this spring. While he probably would rather be thinking about or playing baseball this evening, Sandoval is gearing up to defend himself in a criminal case.