“This ish my final warnnning to all of yeeewww parents.” the umpire sneered at our sideline, swaying and visibly drunk. The parents were being typically irritating, especially so to a drunk. Screaming out commentary at every pitch and vocally questioning every single call. One mom, a pretty blonde and prominent local surgeon who is usually very mild-mannered jumped up and started to enter the field in protest. A few of us pulled her back as she screamed”HEYYYY! MY SON IS SAFE THERE ARE YOU FU%@#%**@%T# BLIND?” I am often fascinated by what baseball can do to the most reserved, classiest people among us. No, dear. He was not “technically” blind. He’s was just hammered and looking to earn a quick $50 bucks by umpiring a 10 year old baseball game. He was a brave, brave man indeed. What sane person would willingly enter the ego-soaked jungle of a youth baseball game? Perhaps the man had a point being drunk on arrival.
“NO NO NO NO NO!!! That is compleeeeeettttee bulllllshhhitttt.” the Dad coach implored to another home plate umpire who was all of fifteen years old. “It’s my call.” the kid said back simply and succinctly (I like that kid) but the Dad kept pleading and whining in the fading evening sunlight. Dude. Wrap it up. Its Wednesday night and the sun is setting on this meaningless game of eight year olds. Really.
“Well, I got thinking about it, and I think I need to change my call.” another hapless fool umpire said to a group of rabid baseball parents. Oh. Did someone mistakenly tell him you can show humanity and frailty in this very treacherous situation? “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU GOT THINKING ABOUT IT? THAT’S RIDICULOUSSSSSS!!!!” several of the parents screamed. It meant he got thinking about it. God forbid a man thinks and possibly admits… a mistake. Reminder – while everyone strives and rightly expects to follow the rules of the game to the letter, we are not affecting the stats of pro ball millionaires here. Most of these players are fourth graders missing teeth. (Come to think of it so are some of the the umpires, but I digress).
A few of them I really liked. Like the one who within ten minutes into the first inning tossed our (former, with good reason trust me) coach out of a tournament for mouthing off. “Out.” he said as the coach stalked away and stood within viewing distance of the field. “No. OUT of the facility.” that umpire said. Unlike me, that umpire knew to get rid of that guy as soon as possible.
And my personal favorite:
“Scorekeeper!” he’d call out professionally. “That’s me.” I said and walked over. “I will be confirming the count and the score with you throughout the game and I will assume that you will confirm the same with the other team.” “Of course, sir.” I said back. “And what kind of tea are you drinking there?” he asked. “Chai,sir.” I replied. “I prefer Earl Grey.” he said smiling and walking behind home base to neatly brush off the plate and conduct a perfectly called youth game.
Now that my son is fourteen he is eligible for the umpire training program in our league. “Mom, I really want to be an umpire.” he said yesterday.
Well that ought to provide some good material this spring…