Please indulge me....
It happened yesterday. I knew it as soon as he stepped out of his vehicle wearing his Walmart greys and grease smeared umpire shirt, No sooner were his feet on the ground and I said hello then the war stories of the old days started.
I made the mistake of joking that I presumed we would be wearing blue since he was already wearing his newly approved, but widely stained blue NJSIAA umpire shirt. "Of course!" he replied. "We've been called blue forever, why wouldn't we?" Alrighty then.....
That was the high water mark of the day.
Our pregame consists of him telling me that we are going to do things the old way. He had the plate, so I figure that I should acquiesce. He's going to take all fly balls.
"Even when I am in the middle?"
"Why wouldn't I?" he replies. Perhaps because I am 80-100 feet closer?
"How about if I take trouble balls?" I ask.
"Well I guess that would be OK."
He proceeds to go on about how his partners have not been great, that we need to be a team, and that he will keep the game moving along because his strike zone is generous. The plate meeting was a Shakespearean quality soliloquy about everything except the menu of the hot dog place down the road. And so it continued. Now to the game.......
The first pitch of the game was called before it crossed home plate and I knew this guy was so full of crap that the game was going to have the potential of heading south in about three batters. Quite frankly, I am really surprised at how quietly the game went despite his antics, It is a testament to how disciplined the teams were and how the coaches had resigned themselves to my partners unique (dis)abilities as an umpire.
The strike zone. Two times F2 was set up with the point of the plate centered on his body with 2 strikes on the batter. Two times F2's glove was in the middle of his body, F1 hit his spot, the glove never moved and F2 fired the ball to F5 on the backwards K. Except two times those beautiful pitches were balls. Remember I mentioned trouble balls in the vee? F8 on a full run nabs a knee high sinking line drive while I am in B. I start to come up with "Catch" when I hear from behind me "Catch"; F8 on a sprint to the fence behind him reaches up over his left shoulder without breaking stride and guess what happened? That's right boys and girls, a call of "Catch" emanates from behind me. F9 and F8 converging on a sinking line drive...... well you get the idea. No one on, ball is hit to F8's right and is sinking quickly. I button hook and watch BR touch 1B. As he hits the bag I look to pick up the ball and see F8 fumbling on the ground momentarily and I then hear "Catch!" and the entire OT bench erupts because they believed it was a trap. Considering that F8 seemed to be scrambling for the ball, I kind of believe OT likely had a good case, but since I did not follow the ball to the catch, I had no additional information to offer. Did I mention the strike zone? Or perhaps I should call it the strike stamp. Or, depending on the pitch, strike ZIP code? Pitchers, batters, coaches, and i were all regaled with a continuously evolving interpretation of balls and strikes. Not one time during the entire game was the ball put back in play after a foul ball. Every time the plate was cleaned off though, the ball was put in play even though time was never called. Not one time during the entire game was a ball thrown to the pitcher or handed to F2 on a foul ball that stayed within the confines of the field. In the 3rd inning he took a ball out of his black ball bag walked in front of HP, licked his hand, grabbed some dirt and rubbed up the ball before "throwing" it to F1 on a foul ball that left the yard. I chose not to engage him in a post game as I knew it would simply be time that I would never get back. A college scout I have known for years saw me at my car after my partner left and we spoke for quite some time. After a while he mentioned a few of the things I have captured above. I looked at him and just smiled. He smiled back and said, "'Nuff said."
I am awaiting a call back from our assignor to find out how this guy not only was assigned a varsity level game, but how I ended up on the bases while this stooge did everything umpires should not while behind the plate.
Thank you for indulging me. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
By Umpire in Chief
Its lightweight-athletic performance of Smitty's unique 92/8 poly-spandex 4-way stretch blend not only moves with you but also breathes and cools you in warm weather by wicking moisture away from your skin (no more pants soaked in sweat). The highly-polished professional look and rich charcoal grey will make you the envy of your crew. Not to mention, its durable-construction will withstand many seasons of wear without the extra dry cleaning expense.
These pants are available in Plate, Base & Combo cuts.
BASE PANT FEATURES
92% polyester and 8% spandex for an innovative 4-way stretch fabric that moves with you Fabric spreads and lifts moisture from the skin for a cooler and lighter fabric feel Athletic cut for comfort and durability Pleated-front with standard slash pockets Wrinkle-resistant fabric Color: Charcoal grey For baseball and softball PLATE PANT FEATURES
Sewn-in saddle seat for added strength to meet the demands of plate work Silky smooth fabric slides easily over your shin guards when you get in your stance (fabric won't get caught) Adequate room in knee to fit all shin guard brands and styles (approximately 12.5" diameter as measured off size 38 waist) COMBO PANT FEATURES
Can be worn behind the plate and on the bases Sewn-in saddle seat for added strength to meet the demands of plate work Silky smooth fabric slides easily over your shin guards when you get in your stance (fabric won't get caught) Adequate room in knee to fit most low profile shin guard brands and styles (approximately 11.75" diameter as measured off size 38 waist) CONSTRUCTION
Reinforced-stitching throughout Premium quality double clasp combined with inside support button Upgraded brass zipper will hold up better than plastic zippers Detailed matching grey pocket lining and grey back button with loop on left pocket (say "no" to tan buttons) Wide-reinforced belt loops fit all style and size umpire belts and provide the right amount of spacing, especially in the back - with one in the middle and adjacent ones evenly spaced (no more large gaps or un-professional triple side-by-side belt loops found in other brands) Pressed crease Snug-fit, non-roll, gripper waistband helps keep your shirt tucked These pants are available form Ump-Attire.com.
Check them out at this not-yet-available-to-the-public link with detailed info, photos and videos by Scott Kennedy.
Find out for yourself as we are offering a VIP promotion of them to UE members, our Facebook fans and email subscribers before we open them up to everyone.
The reason we are doing this is there is a very limited current supply and wanted to give you first chance of what will be a hot item.
Emptying out a few items from the closet. All excellent condition - in fact that's why I'm getting rid of them, because I haven't used them much.
1/2 zip medium Smitty black w/ white stripes plate jacket. Open bottom (no elastic) and long for tucking. Ideal for bad-weather plate jobs. Medium Smitty black long-sleeve shirt. Small Honig's light blue w/ black collar short sleeve shirt. $50 gets you the lot shipped. Otherwise, it's $25 for the jacket, $15 for the long sleeve, $12 for the short-sleeve. I'll give it til Friday, then it's off to Ebay if no one needs them in here.
Color from the photos might be off a bit, each item is like new.