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Officiating Positives - The Kids Who Inspire Umpires

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Umpires and referees know that officiating can be a thankless and mentally fatiguing job. When hurtful grownups try to tear officials down, think of the child who loves nothing more than to see a dedicated referee or umpire at work. To help in that regard, we've put together a video featuring...

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@Gil  I posted this last year during the East Regional Tournament.  It was a privilege to sit with Matthew and spend most of the afternoon with him.  Here is what I had sent to his league officials.

Dear Coventry, RI League Officials,

     With what I am about to share, please feel free to share this with you league.  In hopes that this finds its way to your District Administrator, I have also blind copied the East Region Director. 

                  Let’s just clear the air and start out by recognizing that umpires in general, don’t have many fans.  We aren’t there for the fame or glory, and sometimes, are thought to be “the bad guy” on the field.  As a 25+ year LL umpire, I like to think that I recognize something good when I see it.  What I am about to describe next……….is GREAT!  During Coventry’s 1st game at the Eastern Region on Aug 5th, 2018, I was fortunate enough to meet a very special young man from your area.  As a fellow umpire, I noticed that he was very well mannered, in uniform, and for a lack of better words, was SPOT ON in his execution.  When the plate umpire made a call, Matthew made the same call, (with the proper umpire mechanics) and then gave the correct count (usually before the umpire on the field, or even before the scoreboard was updated).  He only looked at his indicator when he reset it.   When the plate umpire cleaned the plate, Matthew pulled out his plate brush, and cleaned the area in the bleachers, between his feet.  With plate brush away, mask back on, he points to the pitcher and yells “PLAY!”

 Even though he was umpiring from the stands right next to me, I sent a text to an umpire friend of mine who was working in the replay booth and told him “You have GOT to see this”.  I’m not exactly sure how (or if) he communicated with the ESPN team, but I soon received a text back from him.  “You guys are getting a LOT of air time”.  After the game, I introduced Matthew Colardo (who I later found out also plays in the LL Baseball Challenger division) to Coach Dave Belisle from RI.  They hit it off tremendously.  We ran into Dave LaRocque (ER tournament umpire from Warwick, RI) who presented Matthew with a baseball signed by all of the umpires from this tournament. We stood at the gate so he could “high five” the umpires coming off of the field, and then later, at the gate near the umpire room, so he could high five the crew for the next game.  He was especially excited to meet Chris Wasileuski, who was the Plate Umpire for the next game.  Chris even took a moment to stop and take a picture with Matthew. 

Well, a little time passes, and my phone rings.  My wife is asking where I am.  I told her that Matthew and I were at the gate, waiting for the next umpire crew to come out.  Her response was simple, “ok, you boys have fun!”   Unfortunately,  we left on Wednesday and were unable to share more time with Matthew.  However, in checking my twitter on Sunday during Conventry’s championship game, Little League posted another short video (from the booth) of Matthew hard at work…..in the stands.  All the post said above the video was, “He’s back!”

 

I’m sure that many of you saw him during the game, but I have attached the link below for those who did not.

https://www.littleleague.org/videos/young-umpire-calls-game-from-the-stands/

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