The disturbing details surrounding the Friday night arrest of Long Island youth baseball coach Robert Sanfilippo grew more audacious still on Monday, when the New York Post reported that Sanfilippo spent more than $50,000 to build out a youth baseball squad just to compete against the team of a father who he had grown antagonistic with in prior competition.
In further proof of the 45-year-old Sanfilippo's lack of perspective, it now appears that all of his alleged deranged efforts to undermine a fellow youth baseball coach were the result of his disappointment that his own son had struggled as a member of that other coach's team.
Even the name of Sanfilippo's team contained a heavy dose of disturbing literal symbolism: The Long Island Vengeance.
As reported by the Post, Sanfilippo, who was arrested on charges of aggravated harassment and stalking, invested a reasonable annual salary for many Americans just in the development of a travel baseball team. While the coach may have claimed multiple motivations as the genesis of the squad he developed, it's now believed that a pre-existing feud with fellow youth coach John Reardon was the driving factor behind the team's creation.
It appears that feud began when Sanfilippo's young son struggled to succeed as a member of the Long Island Infernos, the team which Reardon led and which also featured Reardon's own son.
"No one could understand why this guy was spending so much money on 10-year-olds," another coach in the league which competed at the Baseball Heaven facility in Yaphank told the Post. "It was all about revenge."
The alleged financial investment in Sanfilippo's Long Island Vengeance squad appears truly mind boggling for anyone who would look at his youth baseball program at face value. The coach, who allegedly has a significant amount of personal wealth and lives in a mansion in Huntington, N.Y., reportedly spent $300 per helmet on customized, top of the line batting helmets for his team of 20 players. He outfitted each of his players with pricey baseball bags and two custom uniforms.
Perhaps most desperately, the coach reportedly recruited other players with newspaper ads and other gimmicks, actively seeking out any talented players as they were let go from other teams.
Keep in mind, this is all for 10 and 11-year-olds playing baseball. And these dramatic efforts led to Sanfilippo's terrifying stalking adventures, where he spied on Reardon's family with telephoto lenses, sent aggressive text messages and photos of Reardon's wife and son and even threatened to abduct his son from the bus stop, all while using a phone that Sanfilippo erroneously believed was untraceable.
Sanfilippo's day in court will come, at which point he can provide a defense for his past actions. Given the accusations and statistics mounting against him, the coach had better hope that his defense is an awfully good one.
- Sports & Recreation