For the last 16 years, whenever there has been a USF sporting event of huge, marginal, nominal, or even basically no significance, one man has always been there. Following his undergrad ('99) and medical school ('03) years at USF, Seth "Doc" Goldberg has continued his diehard allegiance to his alma mater. The Washington University St. Louis Assistant Professor of Medicine specializes in kidney and renal issues... as well as harassing opponents at every softball, basketball, baseball, soccer and every other USF Athletics event he can get to from his midwest home. If you've been to a Big East women's conference tournament, you've seen him. If you've been to a soccer game against SLU, he's been there. And if you've been to MSG for the men's tournament, he's been there as well.
And you'll remember him as well, because he's been wearing his signature horns and suit.
Of course Doc made the trip over to Chicago for softball last weekend, and was on hand as USF walked off the field and forfeited their last game of the 2011 regular season. Since no one from USF, DePaul, or the Big East will talk about this, this is probably the best account of what happened available. We talked with him to get his version of what happened last Sunday.
First of all, the most important question: Were you wearing the suit and the horns at the game?
Excellent! So now that the real drama is out of the way, what the hell happened out there?
I was sitting on the first base side near our dugout, so I didn't have the best angle. It was 1-0 DePaul, bottom of the 2nd, 2nd and 3rd for DePaul, and two outs. I think #13 for DePaul was on 2nd (Allie Braden), and (Brittney) Yniguez was on 3rd. I think Sean Plese was at the plate. (EDITOR'S NOTE: It was. Here's a shot of the scoreboard at the time. Plese wears #3.)
It seemed like we were going to get out of this jam, and were going to intentionally walk this girl.
(DePaul head coach Eugene) Lenti was coaching 3rd base, and I believe he called timeout as our pitcher was in the middle of her pitch. The 3rd base umpire granted time even though the pitch was almost already thrown. I was sitting talking to a couple of our players' parents, so I didn't really see what happened. The parents that were sitting by me then both said "is she crying? Is she crying??" All of a sudden I see our third baseman (Kourtney Salvarola) run into the dugout. I see Lenti yelling at the home plate umpire, and then yelling towards our dugout area.
The rest of Doc's story (now with video!), after the jump.
(USF head coach Ken) Eriksen then calls the rest of his players off the field. Then one of the assistant coaches for DePaul (believed to be Liz Jagielski) comes out of the dugout and starts yelling at our dugout. (USF assistant coach) Mo Triner comes roaring out of our dugout, heads over towards her, and slams down her clipboard. They never got close enough to be anywhere near fighting, and the umpires and coaches then bring them back to their dugouts.
Lenti and Eriksen start talking at home plate, and the USF assistants are a few feet behind Eriksen. After the conference, all the coaches start quietly walking back towards the dugout, the players pack up their stuff... and they start heading out towards the bus. Stacey Heintz says something to the parents sitting near me like "come on, let's go."
UPDATE 11:45 PM: Doc was nice enough to send a video of Coach Eriksen talking to the umpires:
Afterwards, as I'm trying to figure out what happened, I overheard Lenti say "I would never f***ing tell her that I would hit her next inning." So then they begin their senior day festivities.
DePaul needed a win and for UConn to beat Notre Dame to win the Big East Championship on the last day. After the senior ceremony, Lenti tells the team "UConn beat them!" I then hear one of the girls say "this is the greatest day of my life!" And while it was true that UConn had retaken the lead, it turns out the game wasn't over, and Notre Dame ended up coming back to win in the bottom of the 7th. So it wasn't only a USF player Lenti made cry that day, it was his own team too.
As I was walking out, I was talking to a DePaul stadium employee. She said she saw Kourtney leave the field, and that she looked "emotionally destroyed." She also really likes Lenti and says he'd never do such a thing.
So what would cause Lenti to threaten (or not threaten) Salvarola with getting plunked? There's a rumor on an always reliable fastpitch softball message board on the Baltimore Sun website that Lenti accused Kourtney of stealing signs. As the 3rd baseman and the closest fielder to the DePaul dugout, and standing next to the 3rd base coach that's also the head coach, she would be in position to do so. In baseball, sign stealing from your position of play is considered acceptable, but I have no idea what the culture is in softball about such things.
So we probably added as many questions as we answered here. The Big East, USF or DePaul has still not made a statement about what happened, but we know the conference doesn't take too kindly to forfeits without a good reason. We'll see if there's any additional fallout from this soon, as since the conference tournament starts Thursday in Louisville, you'd figure they'd have to make a statement tomorrow. Doc also said he's going to try and get to Louisville for the semifinals of softball if USF advances this weekend, and would for sure be there for the final. Let's hope he's ready to take notes if it's USF vs. DePaul on Saturday.