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‘Loaner’ mound leads to major dispute, costs NYC $9,000

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In what must be one of the most bizarre equipment disputes in recent times, two New York City high schools finally concluded a protracted argument over who had the right to a portable pitcher's mound on Thursday, with the New York City Parks Department agreeing to buy a new portable pitchers mound for the school which felt left out.

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Portable pitchers mound at Victory Field

Portable pitchers mound at Victory Field

"It's definitely a unique situation," Richmond Hill baseball coach Kenneth Hernandez told the New York Daily News. "You don't usually hear a lot about a pitcher's mound."

The dispute was immaculately documented in this story from the New York Daily News, but the following is a relatively succinct account of how the dispute played out.

Richmond Hill (N.Y.) High, a school in Queens, has spent the past eight years traveling across the borough to other sites for its home games, despite having a perfectly suitable home field that is designated as its actual home park. Because Richmond Hill's alleged home field didn't have a suitable pitching mound, the team was forced into the nomadic lifestyle it became accustomed to.

Then, out of nowhere, the New York City Parks Department delivered a synthetic mound to Richmond Hill's Victory Field, which suddenly made the site suitable for use.

There was just one problem: The mound was actually supposed to be a temporary loan, as it belonged to Thomas Edison (N.Y.) High. The mound was transported to Victory Field after it had been in storage while Edison's home field at Joe Austin Playground was under construction.

Yet, after the mound arrived and allowed Richmond Hill to play a true "home" game for the first time in nearly a decade, the school quite understandably didn't want to return the it. Citing the old adage that possession is 9/10ths of the law, the Lions fought any attempt by the Public School Athletic League or the Parks Department to get the mound back to Joe Austin.

Finally, to avoid matters getting worse, the Parks Department caved and agreed to buy a new synthetic mound for the Inventors. It will be delivered as soon as construction at their home field is complete. Pledging to buy a second mound was no small, cheap, snap decision, either; each synthetic mound costs upwards of $9,000.

That should have finally -- and convincingly -- ended pitching mound-related arguments, yet one man is still not particularly happy that the original synthetic mound will be residing at Richmond Hill permanently. Unsurprisingly, that man happens to be affiliated with Edison's athletic department.

"If they don't give us the new mound soon then they should give us back the other one," Edison athletic director Mark D'Elia told the Daily News. "If we don't get the mound soon, the season will be over."

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