Josh Cordova is 13. That does not mean he's in possession of less wisdom and common sense than some of the adults in his Colorado community.
Cordova was the umpire at a youth baseball game played primarily by 7-year-olds in Lakewood, Colorado, that drew national attention last week when a brawl broke out among parents and coaches on the field. Days later, he told a Denver television station that moments before the melee he had issued a warning to spectators about using foul language.
"I shouldn't have to tell a grown man how to act around little kids," Josh told KUSA, an NBC affiliate. He said he issued a formal warning after an "an old man dropped the f-bomb on the sidelines" during the game. It was an escalation of what Josh described as "chirping" on the part of coaches and spectators for both teams.
The warning only prompted even more arguing, which devolved into the brawl.
"I issued it [the warning] to the entire field, and then everybody started yelling and screaming and it just got really chaotic, like, 'He should be ejected, he should be out of there.' Coaches were pointing," Josh said.
Multiple people were injured in the incident, one seriously, according to Lakewood police. Five people involved were cited for disorderly conduct and fighting in public, and two are employed by the Denver Public Works department. A spokeswoman for the city told NBC News that both have been suspended with pay pending the results of the investigation, with one of them a part of the group that cited by the police.
Josh, himself a baseball player who works as an umpire to help pay for his equipment, told KUSA that the scene was "very chaotic."
"I was scared not only for me, but the 7-year-olds who happened to be on the field at the time. We never thought anyone would fight at a Little League Baseball game.
"I thought maybe by issuing a warning everyone would just chill, take a step back and realize how stupid they were acting . . . but [I] guess not."
The Bear Creek Junior Sports Association, which oversees youth baseball in Lakewood, canceled the rest of the season for the two teams playing in the game, adding that "all coaches and parent identified participating in the incident are being removed indefinitely."