The Life and Times of a Little League Umpire

Alex ShultzCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Manager Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox argues an interference call with home plate umpire Doug Eddings during the game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 12, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The White Sox won 4-3 in 10 innings.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Portions of this article appeared on vype.com and vype.com/dfw.

Note: This was a piece from mid-summer. I thought everyone might enjoy it after the recent Red Sox-Angels late game umpire controversy. 

After only four games of umpiring little kids, I’ve had my fair share of bonehead moments. Perhaps the most embarrassing of these came in my first game, which featured two teams of eight-year-olds and their coaches who appear to take things a bit too seriously.

There was a man (actually a kid) on first, and no outs, and a hit deep into center field (highly unusual), followed by an outfielder making the throw of his young life that not only flew near his second baseman, but in fact landed in his teammate’s glove.

To top it off, the confused second baseman listened to parents scream different directions for him to go, and he actually ran to second and tagged the base right when the runner who was on first slid into second. It took me a moment to realize that I actually had to call this play, even though I really just wanted to give both the second baseman and center fielder the gold glove award.

I had absolutely no clue what the call was, mostly because it was a bang-bang play that really could’ve gone either way, so I went with an out. Immediately half the crowd applauded loudly while the other half went crazy.

I even heard one fan yell, “HEY BLUE WHY DON’T YOU GET SOME CONTACTS AND THEN MAKE THAT CALL!” To which I wanted to respond that he should get some sedatives.  The kids playing are far more concerned with picking grass in the outfield and talking about video games than actually playing sports.

Using my better judgment (I’d rather not lose my job), I didn’t respond, but I was rattled nonetheless. I looked over at the other coach whose call I might’ve blown, and I thought I saw him ask me if I had a good view of that play (he was far away from where I was standing).

I shook my head yes, and became puzzled when he started cracking up. An inning later, I put the pieces together. He had asked me if I had blown the call.


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