Monday, May 24, 2010

Brass Balls

Sometimes things on the field just don't go as planned.   FUBAR becomes the norm.

My congrats go to a guy who stuck to his guns and didn't hide from a situation that a lot of guys would have run away from like a little girl.

The situation was in Evansville, IN a couple of weekends ago at the Midwest regional for D2 hosted by Southern Indiana.

Southern Indiana was in the championship game against Grand Valley State from Michigan.  7th inning and USI is ahead by a score of 11-4 when the leadoff hitter for USI tries to bunt his way on base to lead off the inning.  Guess where the next pitch went?  You guessed it...right behind his head.

Home plate umpire Shane Friebe issued warnings to both benches and the rest of that inning continued without incident.  With USI up 7 runs headed into the top of the eighth...that should have been the end of it.  Get your 6 more outs that you need and dog pile on your home field and celebrate going to the D2 World Series.

But-----That isn't what happened.

Leadoff hitter for GVSU in the top of the eighth gets plunked with a fastball right in the middle of the back.  Pitcher and Head Coach ejected.  That should have been it.  Get your six more outs that you need and dog pile on your home field and celebrate going to the D2 World Series.

But-----That STILL isn't what happened.

After getting the next two guys out...the catcher for GVSU (who apparently had been mouthing off all day) walked up to the plate.  First pitch to him---Fastball in the middle of the back.  Pitcher and Assistant Coach ejected.

Then USI decided to go ahead and get the final 4 outs and dog pile on their home field and celebrate going to the D2 World Series.

Without their #1 and #3 starting pitchers for the first 4 games of the World Series and their Head Coach and lead assistant for the first game in the series.

Seriously...I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

Shane could have ignored the situation and let it get TOTALLY out of control and have a madhouse on his hands.  But he nutted up and did what he HAD to do to get control of the situation.

USI did appeal the decision and tried to get the suspensions waived.  THANK YOU NCAA for not doing that and upholding the ruling.

My congrats to Shane for stepping up and DOING THE JOB!!!! 

Next beer you have with your partners, how about sharing this story and having a toast to a helluva umpire.

And just in case you are a bleeding heart liberal who thinks he should have ignored this crap....Check out the video.  He got it right!!!

Back Again

Sorry I have been MIA the past couple of weeks.  Been a little crazy in my world.

Let's see if I can update you real quick.  Since my last post I have:

(1)  Been to Wright State for my final Horizon League weekend of the year...(Wright State clinched the championship on Sunday of that weekend.)

(2)  Got rained out at Butler and collected my check.

(3)  Had my first Frontier League game of the year at Florence...(Not really a game since it was an exhibition and they played a scrimmage game amongst themselves.)  But it still paid full fee and was easy because no one gave a shit.  (By the way Brad Zerkle...You really DO look like Ken Kaiser back there.)

(4)  Went to Akron, where Kent State clinched the East Division title on the final day.

Ok...that's it.  Now I am packed and headed to Chillicothe, OH for the MAC Tournament which begins on Wednesday.  Working with 7 umpires that are all really good judges and it should be a great week down there...(and HOT supposedly with highs in the upper 80's and low 90's this week.)

Tourney ends on Saturday and if all goes exactly college season will end with a third base job on Friday night.  If it doesn't go exactly right...then I will have one elimination game on Saturday.

My first D1 post season since my return to the field in I am really looking forward to it.

Look for some posts from the tournament this week as I bring you up to date on the adventures of umpires in Bed and Breakfast Hotels.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

IU vs. Kentucky

Randy Bachman has had a pretty good run of plate jobs when I am with him.  I think he is probably averaging around 2:15 when has me with him.

That came to a screeching halt on Tuesday in Bloomington as IU went for a two point conversion in the 10th inning and beat Kentucky 18-17 in a 3:48 marathon. 

IU scored 5 in the eighth, 3 in the ninth and 2 in the 10th to win it.

All this after Kentucky went back to back to back in the 7th inning, and none of them were even close to staying in the yard.

Always fun working with Jimmy Jackson.  I really hope he gets a chance to go to Omaha this year.  He has earned the trip.

Was going to go to Little Zagreb's as usual following the game, but I decided to stay married and get home as quick as I could since it was Brenda and mine's 8th anniversary.  By the time I got home it was 9:30 and too late to do anything, but Morton's Steakhouse is on tap for Wednesday night to make up for it.

Next game is Thursday in Florence, KY as I have an exhibition game in the Frontier League between Florence and Washington.  I haven't ever worked a FL exhibition before, but I am on the bases with Brad Zerkle from Ohio on the plate. 

The weekend takes me to Wright State for Horizon League "Weekend From Hell-2".  Six games in three days with two plate jobs.  (Remember the last one had a rainout on Sunday so I only had to work four games).

DH's Saturday and Sunday in Dayton and then home to Indianapolis for a Butler-Valpo DH on Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan

A weekend in DeKalb, IL.  First two days pretty good as the teams split.

E. Michigan won on Friday 4-2 on my plate game in 2:40.  Not much to talk about on this one..pretty well played game.

Same thing on Saturday as NIU wins 3-2.  Bret Bruington went 2:15 and again no issues as NIU wins with two runs in the eighth and holding Eastern in the ninth.

On Sunday became a wild one.  John Argus was the recipient of the end of the pitching staffs as Eastern Michigan scored 8 in the ninth to win 13-11.  Eastern scored all 13 of the runs after the 7th inning.  It really was a trainwreck at the end. 

John took a foul ball straight off the mask in the top of the ninth that rocked my ass all the way down at first base.  As I got down to the plate to check on my partner..he looked up and said, "Down goes Frazier..Down goes Frazier."  I had to laugh.  But the shot he took wasn't funny.  A lesser man wouldn't have finished the game.

Had to undress an assistant coach from first base on balls and strikes.  (Argus is a little hard of hearing at 66 years old).  He had been giving us cheap shots all weekend..He even cost Ed a balls and strikes warning on Saturday's game.  Amazing how quiet it got when I caught him yelling at John.

Now admittedly John had struggled most of the day, but with head coach Ed Mathey standing right in front of wasn't his place to bitch.  So I let him know that.  Ed knew..and didn't say a word.

The drive home was long and I was ready to hit the sack when I got home around 11.  Game lasted 3:44.  It felt like 6 hours.

Food for the weekend....A pretty good club sandwich at Fatty's Pub and Grill on Friday and a drive into Chicago to have dinner at Gibson's Steakhouse on Rush Street Saturday night.  Big steak...some great meritage wine...and THIS for dessert. 

It was called The Meaning Of Life.  If you are curious, apparently the "Meaning of Life" is chocolate, raspberry sauce, bananas, butter creme frosting with almonds.  It was $14 and it was HUGE.  Took 6 of us to eat it all.  It was awesome.

It was a fun weekend with Bret and John.   I look forward to going back up to the Chicagoland area every chance I get.  I would love it up there if it weren't for all the damn people living there.

Next up for me, IU hosts Kentucky on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Penn St. vs. Michigan State

The standings of the Big Ten Conference going into the weekend were a logjam.  Only three games separated first from last place.  It is crazy.  Also makes for the potential for high emotions.

I was happy that wasn't the case this past weekend in Happy Valley.

I really expected a tight series.  Michigan State was tied for first place while Penn State was three games back in tenth.

To everyone's surprise.  Penn State swept the series.  And NONE of the games were even close.

Friday night, Dave Smith went 2:54 as Penn State won 18-7.  Saturday I went 2:40 in a 22-5 game.

Then on Sunday, Scott Inman had the fastest game of the season on a field I have been on as he went 1:47 in a 9-1 PSU win.

I was happy for Scott.  Usually when he and I work is a marathon.  This day he was aggressive in the zone..(especially at the bottom of the knee) and players were obliging by swinging the bats.

Although it was a bit miserable with light was made less miserable with the quick game time.

The five hours waiting for the flight back to Indy sucked a bunch after the game...but that was made tolerable with a trip to The Creamery for "Death By Chocolate" ice cream followed by wings from Damon's.

It was my last Big Ten series of the year...and it was uneventful.  I wish they were all that easy.

Beautiful ballpark

Hallowed ground.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thomas More vs. W&J

Not many times will I take a game almost two hours from home on a mid-week game that isn't a D1 game.  But this game is an exception.  Big rivalry.  I have done it for two years straight now and it is a great competitive game.

Not any different today either.  Washington & Jefferson heads into the top of the 8th inning trailing 6-3...Hits a 3-run HR in the 8th and a 2-run shot in the 9th and wins the game 8-6 to take sole possesion of the conference lead.

Even better, I got to work with one of my favorite umpires, Matt Hughes from Louisville.

Matt is an ex-AAA guy and has been through a lot of wars in his time.  A great umpire and an even better person.

2:45 minutes and it seemed like an hour and a half. 

Only problem on the day was the sun.  Oh it felt great.  Just wasn't good for the fielders on the left side of the field. 

LF took one off the noggin.  So did a SS.  Third baseman couldn't find a pop foul.   A catcher had the same problem.

Did I mention that the sun felt great though?

The one thing I have always said about Matt Hughes still held true on this day.

Matt just doesn't get excited about much.  He calls whackers just like he would call a play that wasn't close.  Every time I see him soft sell a close play it makes me smile.  He just doesn't get excited out there.  Just goes out and does the job he was hired to do.

There are days I wish I could be more like Matt.

Another night game tomorrow night at Victory Field in Indianapolis.  Hanover vs. Franklin.  Always fun working on the pristine Triple A field.  Then fly out Friday morning to Happy Valley for Penn State vs. Michigan State.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cincinnati vs. Xavier

My first time to taste the crosstown rivalry in Cincinnati.

Skyline Chili was in the air.  I left disappointed.  It really wasn't much of a game as Xavier won 10-4.

Randy Bachman, sooner or later you are going to have a bad plate job.  I don't know when it is coming...but you can't continue to be great every time out like you have been.

2:15 and I seriously don't think he missed a pitch.  Keep it up...especially when I am with you.

Was with Randy and Chuck Stewart today.  Good crew.  Everything under control except for one small thing that Bachman had to handle which I will get into in a sec.

Chuck and I stole money today on the bases though.

Bach had a little situation today where a couple of Xavier players tried to step out of the box as they requested timeout and Randy wouldn't grant it.  Pitcher was in his motion.  Too late.  Good call Randy.

Coach didn't think so though...and went down to the plate to give it to Randy.  Bach shut him down cold.  The coach started to yell at Randy..and Randy said "I will TALK to you...but you aren't gonna YELL at me."

Bottom line is this.  I am not sure I like the rule any better than the coach does.  There are some things that should just police themselves.  I think this is one of them.  But as long as it is in the rule book we HAVE to enforce it.

I sometimes wonder if coaches remember that umpires DON'T write the rule book.  All we do is enforce it.  I believe there is only one umpire that is on the rules committee.  The rest are coaches.

We as umpires have very little influence on what rules make it into the game.  At any level.  Maybe it is better that way.  It has worked for a long time.

Weekend From Hell

Ok...Let me start this post by saying that I am OLD.  I admit it.  Let me also say I love God.  Because if it weren't for Him...I would have had the longest weekend ever for me.  Was scheduled for a funky Horizon League weekend this past weekend...Here was the schedule.

Friday--Wright State at Valpo (DH)  Beginning at Noon.
Saturday--Wright State at Illinois-Chicago (DH) Beginning at Noon.
Sunday--Illinois-Chicago at Valpo (DH) Beginning at Noon.

That is six 9-inning games in three days with two plate jobs.  I was totally dreading it because my 50-year old butt was gonna be sore.  I knew it...and HE knew it.

So he made it rain on Sunday.  I prayed for it on Saturday and He answered me.  Thank you Lord.

OK..On to the baseball.  Wright State took two from Valpo on Friday.  11-1 and 10-4.  Both games were like they sound.  Not even close.  But something happened on Friday that I HAVE to bring up.

Don't let coaches get in your head.  They want to get into conversations with you that will try to get you to contradict yourself. This happened to me on this day. started out innocent enough.  He comes out to where I am standing down the left field line between innings and said that my plate job in game one was one of the best he has had all year.  But that a call I made at third base the inning before was one of the worst calls he had ever seen.

It took every inch of restraint I had not to toss him right there on the spot.  But I told him I wasn't going to discuss that call with him.  If he wanted to argue he had his chance to come out and man up right after the play happened.  I guess that is why it caught me off guard when he came out to talk to me between innings.  He told me not to take it personally...and that if ANYONE should take it personally..that it should be him because baseball how he feeds his family.

THAT did it.  I was pissed.

The last thing I need or want is someone questioning me about my professionalism.  I don't care if you are feeding your family by coaching baseball.  I put extra food on my table by umpiring baseball.  After umpiring in the minor leagues...I am pretty sure I know what professionalism is all about. 

I turned around and walked away.

Could I have dumped him?  Sure.  Would I have gained anything?  Nope.

He stayed in the game..won...and I didn't have to write a report.  All in all...even though I was REALLY worked out ok.

The next day...all was quiet.  Wright State and UIC split a doubleheader...Sunday it rained like crazy and God gave me my day off...Got paid for 6 games while only working 4.

God works in mysterious ways.

P.S.  Got a chance to work with David Uyl in Chicago on Saturday.  Spent quite a bit of time in the big leagues the past couple of seasons.  For the love of Pete, I don't know why he didn't get the chance.  This guy can flat out umpire.

I am very proud of him though.  He went out on HIS terms.  Not many get to say that.  Most guys hang on to the bitter end when they finally get released.  He didn't.  Good for you David.  I will go to war with you ANY day.  Character counts.

P.P.S.  To Scott Behn and Tim Farwig.  Another outstanding weekend with quality people.  Anytime...anyplace.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ball State vs. Buffalo

A little bit of everything this past weekend as I head back into the MAC for Ball State vs. Buffalo.

Right off the bat on Friday, we get started an hour and a half late because of the threat of rain.  It DID sprinkle a bit but they left the tarp on the field and we waited it out in the locker room.  Finally got started at 4:30 as my permanent partner for the 2010 season Randy Bachman went 2:38 minutes in a 11-5 Ball State win.  Not a whole lot of fanfare or issues in this one.  I think everyone was too tired from waiting around.

On Saturday it was my turn to throw on the gear in game two of the series and while it wasn't one of the best plate jobs I have ever was pretty damn quick.  I established a big zone early in the game and carried it through (or I should say the players carried it through because they swung the sticks on this day).  6-5 Ball State win in...get this....WAIT FOR IT......1:58.  A sub two-hour game.  Love it!!!  And don't think I have forgotten the code Bachman and Tim Farwig....YOU OWE ME A STEAK DINNER!!!!

Speaking of steak--I was commuting back and forth to Indy for this series and I had meat overload on Saturday night after this game as my wife and I went with two other couple to Fogo De Chao in downtown Indy.  Carnage at it's finest...try it sometime.

Then came game three on Sunday.  Tim Farwig behind the dish--and let me just say for the record that it was the first time I have worked with this guy from Northern Indiana and I hope it isn't the last time.  This guy can flat work!!  Nice job Tim.

He only has one thing to learn.  We don't get paid overtime.  He took us 11 innings on Sunday as Buffalo salvaged the final game of the series with a 11-7 win.  Good thing was it still only took 2:50.  Again nice job.  And looking at my schedule I have Tim with me on a DH at Valpo on Friday this week.  (BE GOOD AGAIN!!!!)

All in all a good weekend with no visits and just a little chirping.  Not church..but not hell either.

Next up for me...The Horizon Weekend from hell.  Three DH's in three days.  Hope I am still standing by Sunday afternoon.

Wabash vs. DePauw

The frat boys lined up down the left field line.  The BBQ grills lit up.  No Monon Bell around like they do in football, but it was still a lot of fun to work the baseball version of the rivalry between the two schools.

Mike Mann worked the plate with me on the bases as Wabash came back to win with a two-run bottom of the ninth 8-7.

Decent baseball for D3.  Not great, pitching weak.  But a good atmosphere and two teams that wanted to win at all costs.

Kudos to Wabash for one thing though.  First non-D1 game I have worked this year where my check was waiting for me when I got there.  Thank you Wabash College.

Their coach also made a comment about getting a new field next year.

It has been coming for a couple of years...but still no sign of groundbreaking.  For the 3B and SS throwing across the diamond to first base on this gives a whole new meaning to "throwing downhill".  Usually you refer to this coming from the mound to the plate.  But the grade is so sloped at Wabash there is literally a good five foot drop from 3B to 1B. 

Coach there seems to be a pretty good guy.  Hope he gets his field.

2:52 for Mr. Mann with no incidents.

Next up:  Ball State hosts University of Buffalo in MAC play in Muncie this weekend..

Monday, April 12, 2010

W. Michigan vs. Ohio U.

MAC series this past weekend with two of my favorite umpires and working two of my favorite coaches.  What could go wrong?

Well...let's just say not much as long as one of the teams doesn't show up..which was the case for W. Michigan.

Randy Ford has quickly become one of my favorite coaches in the game.  He is a class act and just leaves you alone and lets you work.  I truly felt sorry for him because as good of a guy as he is I hate to see a team quit.  Which is what happened this weekend.

Worked this weekend with Randy Bachman and Jon Milesky.  Great guys that I can have fun with away from the field as well as on it.  By the way--Let me just say that Bachman has everything in the MAC scouted out.  Friday night Abrio's Italian which has an unreal Chicken Parm.  Saturday for lunch Miller's Chicken which had broasted chicken to die for.  Saturday night Courtside Pizza.  A 20" three topping pizza for less than $20. (You gotta LOVE college towns.)  Thanks for the extra 10 pounds this weekend Bach.

Friday night was my plate game that went 2:59 and was the longest game of the series.  Ohio won 25-3.  Painful.

Saturday wasn't much better.  15-3 Ohio.  But Bachman somehow got the game done in 2:05.  Don't know how that happened..but he gets rated a 5 for getting that mess done so quickly.

Most competitive game of the series was Sunday where Ohio won again.  This time 11-5.  Milesky goes 2:46 for this one on getaway day.

No real issues this weekend.  I had an interference call on a runner sliding into second base with his arms up in the air and knocked down the throw on the DP turn.  Had to put a RF in his place after yelling in at me about a call.  That's always no fun.

Baseball was thing for me this weekend was the chicken.  It is a MUST DO in Athens.

Went out on Saturday night with some friends from Athens for a while.  One of the decided to grab my phone and make some Facebook posts that I had to later delete after I figured out what had happened.  Dickhead.  Thanks Scott.

I must admit though that Athens is one of my favorite towns to go to during the season.  ESPECIALLY when the weather is nice like it was this past weekend.  Great views.

Light week this week for me.  DePauw at Wabash on Wednesday.  Another MAC series this weekend in Muncie with Ball State vs Buffalo.

Have a great week guys.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

UIndy vs. Anderson

Victory Field.  Beautiful yard.  Reminds me of my days in the pro game.  Beautifully manicured field..lots of empty seats.  But it was great.

Last night it was UIndy against Anderson University.  Rain threatened all night and we eventually had to suspend the game in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied 9-9.  Fitting.

Worked this game with Andy Warren from Indianapolis.  He did a really nice job behind the dish.  But unlike the game at Franklin on Tuesday where Matt Waggoner didn't have a single damn call...I HAD 50!!!

OK...Maybe it was more like 6-7..but they were all whackers...And they all went for outs.  (Must have gotten them all right...I got to watch them a second time on the video boards and I wouldn't have changed any of them.)

Pretty uneventful game..lots of offense..a new pitcher every inning.  Andy would have had about a 2:20 game if it hadn't been for the lightning and rain.

Now for the fun part of the night.

Andy told me to speak of it kindly.  I think I will speak of it with enthusiasm.

It has happened to all of us.  If you say it hasn't happened to you as an umpire--YOU ARE A LIAR!!
The dreaded STE-BALL.

I have had my share in my see the comes track it is going to be in the it isn't.

Pitch came in...looked good from the start...then all of a sudden a 70 mph gust of wind blew it off the plate.  But too late...Andy was already up...out of the squat...standing up...AND turning to his right to call it a strike...but it wasn't...and as he stood up...turned right and began to raise his right arm...he changed his mind.

It is the worst feeling in the world.  You are standing there looking towards the first base stands and you know it is coming...grief.  But it didn't.  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't hear a word from anyone.  If that had been me....well...I don't even want to think about it.

For the record...he got the pitch was definitely a ball.  But it was without a doubt the biggest STE-BALL I have ever seen on a baseball field.

For those of you who think I shouldn't be writing this...he knows about the blog...and like I said earlier...he told me to speak of it kindly.

Andy...You are a great umpire..and it happens to everyone.  Keep up the great work.  The side benefit is we had a good laugh about it after the game in the locker room.


Next up...MAC weekend at Ohio University hosting W. Michigan.  Have a great weekend guys.

Franklin College vs. Rose Hulman

D3 baseball.  $100 for the day.  Close to home on a mid week game.  I'll take it.

A lot of games like this you don't see many in the stands.

Take for instance the game on Tuesday with these two teams.  50 people in the stands.  Only thing different is that there were 20 scouts.  Now I must admit, I don't follow D3 baseball that much.  I am doing it because Deron Brown asked me to and it is a 4pm start.  But if there were that many scouts there on a Tuesday afternoon...there must be some guy who can pitch.  (For the record his name was Derek Eitel...struck out 9 in 4 innings and got a no-decision.  He was not bad.)

But this day was different.  For many reasons.

Number one, let me tell you that Franklin College has done a very nice job with their field.  No locker room for the umpires...but is D3.  (Actually there is a place I could have changed in the press box...but I would rather dress in the car get the picture.)

Now, back to the game.  The one thing that really got to me on this day was that I answered more "Where was that pitch" questions on this day than I had in all my other games combined this season. I am glad it isn't like that every day.

Next...and it ALWAYS happens in these type of games...there is always ONE jackass on the bench that yells at the top of his lungs every 15 seconds...It doesn't have to make sense..he just yells something.  Today he was on Franklin's bench.   Seriously are giving me a headache.

I had never been to Franklin College and it was my first time to work for Franklin coach Lance Marshall.  Not a bad guy.  But twice he came up to me and said..."Can I ask you something without you getting upset or taking it the wrong way?"  This question is usually followed up by a question he shouldn't ask...Which it was.  About balls and strikes.  I guess he thought I had two different strike zones and that it seemed that the Rose Hulman catcher was getting rewarded for not making pitches look good.

The game was won by FC 10-8 after a 4-run bottom of the 8th...3:07 on the time.  And I worked with Matt Waggoner from Indy.  Matt is a great guy...and he has a bright future in umpiring.  He can't be much more than 25 or so.  But don't ask me for an evaluation on this day.  He stole money.  Not one single call.  He runs like a deer...looks great...but I should have made him work the plate.  HA!!!

Coming up next...University of Indianapolis against Anderson University at Victory Field.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Indiana vs. Michigan

It was a strange and long weekend in Bloomington this past weekend as Michigan took two of three from IU.

There were quite a few issues that happened this weekend and I will be addressing a couple of them in separate blog posts this morning.

Worked this weekend with Jim Jackson and Sal Giacomantonio.  We had a good time despite the long games and even got a chance to attend the Final Four in Indianapolis on Saturday night.  Two good umpires and even better guys.

Michigan won on Friday 16-10 in 10 innings.  The crew chief (Jimmy) could do nothing about the length of this game.  It was just not a very good baseball game.  We were on a 4 hour pace from the get go and it just got worse.  Final game time was 4:26 and trust me when I tell you it felt like 8:26.  A couple of bench clearings....a little smack talk...a pitch behind a hitter's head.  We had a little bit of everything in this one.

When you have situations come up in games you find out just how good of an umpire you are.  All of us can call outs and safes and balls and strikes.  It is how an umpire reacts in a tough situation that separates the men from the boys.

On Saturday, Sal had the only sane game of the weekend...a 6-4 Michigan win in 2:43.  Thank God.  No issues and not much said, even after all the crap we had on Friday.  I upset the Michigan 1st base coach when I told his boys to get back in the dugout and quit giving my crew chief cheap shots.  He thought I should stay out of his dugout and leave his players alone.  I thought his players should keep their ass in the dugout with their mouths shut.  I win.

Then came my plate job on Sunday.  Yuck.  26-6 Indiana.  Enough said??  I don't think so.  Let's talk about the fifth inning, where the Hoosiers decided to have their entire offensive production of the season in one inning.  17 batters came to the plate.  17!!!???  Are you kidding me?  11 runs scored on 12 hits.  I thought that half inning lasted three hours by itself.

It was a miracle from God that the game lasted only 3:09.  And as Forrest Gump would say....."That's all I have to say about that."

Five games this week.  D3 at Franklin College on Tuesday.  D2 at Victory Field on Wednesday.  Then it is off to one of my favorite college towns ever.  Athens, OH this weekend for a MAC series with Ohio University hosting W. Michigan.

Should be an interesting week.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Northwestern vs. Illinois-Chicago

Tuesday night March 30th in Chicago.  If you had told me when the schedule came out that it would be 60 degrees at game time for a 7:05 start I would have kissed your ass at the top of the John Hancock Building.

But there we were at UIC playing in unbelievable weather.

First of all let me say that working a night game at UIC is a great experience.  The backdrop of downtown Chicago over the centerfield wall is just unreal.  I look forward to going back and doing it again.

Now to the game.  Worked with a couple of guys that if I could go on the field with them every night..then I couldn't HELP but be a better umpire.  The teams had no clue how good they had it.  Two ex-AAA umpires and a ex-AA umpire in a three man crew is good for ANY game at ANY level..Much less a mid-week non-conference game.

Mark Winters and David Riley---You both MAKE me want to continue to get better every day.  Professionals.  Don't take any crap.  Hustle your ass off.  Work hard and have fun.  It is what the game should be EVERY day.

It was truly my pleasure to be on the same field as you guys.

Oh yeah.....the game.  HA!!!

UIC beat Northwestern 6-1.  UIC threw Johnny Wholestaff and beat the Wildcats who just flat didn't show up.

2:35 plate job for Mark...who honestly COULD have mailed it in coming back from working Texas A&M-Missouri last weekend and headed to Norman, OK this weekend for OU-Texas.  But he didn't.  Worked his ass off and we all had a great time.

Beautiful thing working with pros.  You don't have to worry about where they are on the field.  You always know they are where they are supposed to be.  Which makes everyone's life easy.

IU-Michigan coming up next for a three-game series at Indiana beginning Friday. 

Everyone have a GREAT Easter safe in your travels...and get 'em all correct.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Butler vs. Youngstown State

You ever get in a situation where you are in the middle of making a call and as you are making it you go....OH SHIT!!!???

Had one of those today in game two of the three game series here in Indianapolis.

Ground ball to shortstop...he throws across the diamond to first base.  I am in position and then all of a sudden the throw goes off line.  First baseman stretches towards right field...and it appears to me as though he is going to keep his foot on the base as he stretches to catch the throw...

I get straight-lined...and I am screwed.  I am really not sure.  (I find out later I could have kicked a 40-yard FG I kicked it so badly).

Butler skipper Steve Farley comes out to argue...only one thing.  He is arguing with my partner at home plate Matt Moore.  He finally comes out to me and instead of asking me to get help...he starts in on how I can't possibly see that play and someone else HAS to help me.

Now I have been umpiring a long time...and I am all about getting the play right...but sometimes a skipper just comes out and goes about it the wrong way.  Today was one of those days.

If he would have come out rationally and ASKED me to get help...I am 95% sure I would have complied..even though both of my partners were over 90 feet away.  But after a couple of horseshits and yelling at me...I was all of a sudden no longer in the mood.  So I said no.

I was sure enough that I got it right that I wasn't going to hang it on my I didn't.

Outcome of the game wasn't affected as Butler kicked the dog out of Youngstown in this game...but my question is this....

When did we start going to get help as umpires on every little play?  I am not trying to justify it at crew chief Jon Milesky told me I kicked the shit out of the call and I have no reason to doubt him, but I am standing right there...right or wrong it is MY call.

WHY are we going to get help every time some coach comes out and screams and demands it?

I heard a coach the other day say that umpires are just doing this as a vocation and that we are messing with their livelihoods.

SCREW that.  I have as much pride in my work on the baseball field as I do in my real life job.  In fact, probably MORE SO.

Anyway...the Baseball Gods punished the shit out of me for kicking that they gave me a 3:28 plate job for game three of the series.

Maybe I should have gone and gotten some help.  Those Baseball Gods are a FICKLE bunch.

Youngstown takes two out of three from Butler.  None of the games were close.  Milesky and Moore were both good this weekend.  Also, congrats to Matt for dropping almost 30 pounds.  It has made a HUGE difference in his mobility on the field.  Good for you Matt.

Big week this week. Illinois-Chicago hosts Northwestern Tuesday night.  With a couple of ex-AAA guys in Mark Winters and David Riley.  Hopefully they can keep me out of trouble.  Then the Big 10 season opens up for me at Indiana as they host Michigan on Friday-Sunday.  Always fun working with Jimmy Jackson and my friend Sal Giacomantonio is coming down from Detroit.

And remember my friends...Balls and safes give you 4 hour games--Strikes and outs give you 2 hour games.  We don't get paid by the hour.

Have a great week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

IU vs. Xavier

You ever have one of those days where no matter what you are destined for a three hour marathon?

Welcome to my Wednesday afternoon in Bloomington as I see a winning team score 17 runs for the second consecutive day as the Hoosiers beat Xavier 17-8.

3:00 on the nose and I was HAPPY to get it done that quick.

Was fun working with Jimmy Jackson and Randy Bachman as Randy and I began our 2010 world tour.  We are together a total of 11 games this year.  ( I am wondering what I did to Fetch.)

The first 8 runs scored by IU all came off of home runs..a three-run, a two-run and three solos.

Made for a long afternoon.


It is something that absolutely drives me nuts.  I have seen more guys the last couple of years flex a knee into a inside curveball to try to buy their way onto first base.  I kept three guys at the plate for doing this and I am wondering how many of you are having the same crap?

Note to hitters...stand in there and try to get a hit...not try to GET HIT.

Great photo on the website of IU skipper Tracy Smith and I having a discussion about this after I kept one of his kids at the plate.

I really like and respect Tracy, but don't tell me you don't teach that to your kids.

The conversation went something like this....

TRACY...He didn't try to get hit.
ME...He rolled his knee into the inside curveball on purpose.
TRACY...He did NOT.  He turned his back and it hit him in the leg.
ME...Are we watching the same game?
TRACY...He did not flex his knee.
ME...Tracy, it isn't like I have anything else to do on this.  I stand here and track the inside curveball and he stuck his knee out and it hit him.  Doesn't get much easier than that.

And with that Tracy walked away.  End of discussion.

There are a LOT of teams teaching this...and while some of you might let them get away with it...I won't.

Long day was made better afterwards as the three of us went to Little Zagreb's for steak.  LOVE that place.  If you go to is a MUST DO.

First weekend of conference season begins this weekend as Butler hosts Youngstown State in Horizon League play...and I have to drive a whole 10 miles to the yard.  With Jon Milesky from Cincinnati and Matt Moore from Wisconsin this should be fun.  Will post again after the game on Friday.

Anderson vs. Wabash

My first D3 game of the season happened on Tuesday.  A base job in a game at Anderson. 

It was a relatively boring baseball game as Anderson won 17-11.  It was really bad I thought that Wabash went for a 2 point conversion in the 8th inning to keep it from being a 17-10 game.

IUA umpire Kevin Faust worked the plate.  Did a really nice job back there. 

Only highlight for me on the day was getting on the AU shortstop late in the game.  Kevin called a pitch that ran off the plate a little and the shortstop said to his second baseman loud enough for me to hear him..."That pitch was a foot outside.  He has been calling that pitch ALL DAY."

I turned around and looked at him and said.."Son, that would be like me looking at you and saying these teams have dropped SIX pop flies today..and it has been happening ALL DAY."

He looked away and wouldn't respond.  AND for the record...the two teams DID drop 6 pop flies on the infield on the afternoon.

Was happy to get out of there in less than three hours.  Nice job Kevin.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back To Work

Well as it happens every year...Get a little work in early and then sit for a couple of weeks just to start all over again.  Welcome to baseball in the Great White North.

First week of the conference season begins this week though as the season starts now for real whether we are ready for it or not.

This week a couple of midweek games at D3 Anderson University and at IU...followed by my first conference baseball of the season in Horizon League play right in my own backyard at Butler. 

Looking forward to getting on the field this weekend with guys I have worked with before...(Jimmy Jackson and Randy Bachman at IU...Jon Milesky and Matt Moore at Butler).

Should be an interesting week.

Also congrats to my good friend Dan Bellino who was hired as a MLB rover yesterday, which means he should see about 100 games in the big leagues this season.  He has worked his ass off and deserves this shot.  I am looking forward to going and catching him work some games this season.

Check in this week as I update the blog a bunch and please get all your other umpire friends to sign up and follow my blog here at

Would be great if we can get a bunch of followers to this site.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Indiana State vs. E. Illinois

Another game, another $170.  A rather boring day in Terre Haute (which is actually a NORMAL day in Terre Haute usually.)

Took almost as long to work the last six outs of the game as it did to go the first 7 1/2 innings.

1-1 going into the bottom of the 8th inning...and the Sycamores decide to wake up.  Couldn't just get a couple of insurance runs to seal the victory...they had to go for the full monty.  A 7-spot in the bottom of the 8th gave them an 8-1 lead.

Then could E. Illinois just go quietly in order in the top of the 9th?  I think you all know that answer to that one.

A 2-run inning and we walk out in 2:52 after ISU wins 8-3.

Mike Mann worked the plate and did a pretty good job for his first game of the season.  Really handled game management nicely.  Only one thing stuck out with him that I want to share...He went to the meeting in Dallas and came away from it that we were going to the umpire on the line for ALL check swings this season.

If you all remember, Tom said to just look at situations and figure out in your heads whether or not most check swings could be seen better from the wing than from the middle.

Nothing like standing down at first base with a left handed hitter and having your plate guy come out tho check with you when there is a guy standing in the middle waiting for the proper mechanic.

The mechanic is still the same...first base guy gets right handed batters, third base guy gets the lefties.

Had a great time working the bases with Shannon Bunger from Bloomington, IN.  Great hustle and great mechanics.

Next game is Friday at Franklin College (weather permitting).

Catch up with you all after that game.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Photos from Florida

Me with Rick Darby from Inverness, FL.  Great umpire and an even better guy.  We were together in the Florida State League back in 83-84.

(L to R)  Randy Bachman-Napoleon, OH, Gary Rosplohowski-Toledo, OH, Rick Darby-Inverness, FL, Rick's daughter Gillian, Me, Rick's wife Kim.

It was so cold and wet on Saturday I actually considered wearing this for a couple of minutes.  For the record....I didn't.

Jon Garlits from Lincoln, IL

Dave Condon from Chicago

Bill Lopina from Chicago

Ron (Catman) Whiting from West Virginia

Bachman served us all lemonade.  Thank you Randy.

Mike Baker from St. Pete, FL

Rospo looking important.

My favorite little spark plug.  Don Umland from Iowa.

Scott Behn from Iowa.  I still can't get over how much weight you lost dude.  Great work.

Mike Gillis from New Hampshire.  I have SO many stories on him from our Texas League days.  But not here.

Someone apparently has Bachman's attention from the Notre Dame dugout.  Or did they have bat girls??  I can't remember.

Don January from Boston.  This guy I liked a lot.  Even if he was working with Gillis.

Brian from New Hampshire.  Notice how his shoulders are slumping.  It is difficult work carrying Mike Gillis around on a field.  I know this from experience.  HA!!!

Jim Muhleck from Detroit

Me with Mike Gillis.  All kidding aside. He is one of the best umpires I have ever had the honor of stepping onto a baseball field with.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quit Treating Me Like Crap

A thought came to mind today after working at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in St. Pete, FL over the weekend. It is a thought I have had many times before and one that I am sure I will have many times again.

In fact, I have gotten so used to going through this that it has almost become second nature.


We show up at the ballpark in St. Pete last Friday and the first thing the guy who was running the show at Progress Energy Park says to us was..."Here are a few drinks for you. If you want food you are on your own. And oh by the way, the showers don't have hot water."

Are you serious?

You can't turn on the hot water at the ballpark so that we can at LEAST take a shower?

Bottom line is--They didn't even THINK about us. Never even crossed their minds.

Never mind that the game fee was half of what we normally make (1/4 of what a SEC or ACC guy would make).

But they couldn't even get the hot water turned on for us.

It is the same old tired in, game out. Year in, year out.

Guess I should be thankful we didn't have to dress in the parking lot huh?

This was the Big Ten/Big East Challenge. It should have been a big deal. This had the possibilities of being a first-class tournament.

It wasn't. Not even third-class.

And then just when you think it couldn't get did.

On Sunday, we were working over at the Naimoli Complex. This place is a minor league complex that has been used in the past by the Cardinals and Mets and most recently by the Tampa Bay Rays for their minor leaguers.

Guess what?? No hot water there either.

So a note to teams and tournament directors who host umpires.

Will you PLEASE quit treating us as afterthoughts?

And a side note to umpires.

Quit letting them. We deserve better.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Big Ten/Big East Challenge

Back to work on a Tuesday after being in Florida the past few days for the Big Ten/Big East Challenge. Had a pretty good time down there--despite the weather--and got to have some fun with a bunch of pretty good guys.

Drove down on Wednesday so that I could leave a car at our Florida house just outside of Leesburg. REALLY glad I didn't have to drive home, although a three hour delay yesterday coming home did put a damper on my day.

First day on Friday I went back to an old haunt from my days in the Florida State League--Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Pete. It is now called Progress Energy Park and is basically home to no one. It looked the same as it did back in the 1983-84 seasons...just older and run down.

Early morning baseball on the first day and behind the plate no I worked Rutgers vs. Iowa.

Hadn't seen Jack Dahm on a baseball field in over 15 years so that was a nice surprise...for him. I will just leave it at that--he knows what I am talking about if he reads this. Iowa wins it 6-3 in 2:27. Not a bad game and it moved along pretty nicely.

Worked with Jon Garlits from Lincoln, IL and the fossil of the college game Bill Lopina from Chicago. I can say that because if you know are thinking it too. (Sorry Billy, it is just too much fun to bust your balls--even if you aren't here to protect yourself.)

Nothing really stood out in this game. It was too early in the morning to get anyone too excited.

Game two was Cincinnati against Penn State. Another old home week for me as Robbie Wine and I have known each other since our days at Oklahoma State. Was a pretty good player there and went on to a career in the Astros organization after college. Why is it that all the coaches I see are shocked I am back?  Maybe it is actually disappointment masked as shock. I am just not sure.

Game was a good one...if you enjoy umpiring for free. Lopina finished with a 2:05 for nine innings. That would have been tremendous had the game not been tied. Thanks Bill..just can't finish the deal can you?

Game was won by Penn State 5-4 in 12 innings. Still kept it under three hours at 2:52, but extra innings on the bases in the second game of a DH tends to make daddy's feet sore as hell. Thanks again Lopina--you were always my favorite until now. HA!!! He really did a nice job on this game, calling a lot of strikes and keeping it moving along. I hope I can still do this at his age. There is a reason he has worked a College World Series..and age may have slowed him down a few steps but his judgement is still impeccable.

Another DH on Saturday with a little rain mixed in at Al Lang. 10am start time was 1:30pm...which made for a long ass day.

Game one on Saturday was Indiana and Villanova, won easily by Villanova 8-1.

If early indications stay true, it could be a long season for the Hoosiers after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last year by winning the Big Ten Tourney.

Randy Bachman from Ohio worked the plate in 2:34 and did a nice job. Ron (Catman) Whiting from West Virginia was at third base and stole the show with smooth mechanics on all his out calls at 2nd base. I had NOTHING. Stole money. Which is ALWAYS a good thing. It makes up for all the other times I catch CRAP!!

Game two was me again behind the plate with Minnesota and Connecticut. Two observations..

(1) I really have a lot of respect for John Anderson of Minnesota. If you can work he leaves you alone and lets you. He had a bunch of patience on this night because they just didn't play very well.
(2) I actually liked UConn coach Jim Penders. But he had absolutely NO control of his team. Players and assistant coaches taking cheap shots at us instead of worrying about doing THEIR job.

That being said, I had to blast my first dugout of the season in this game. Didn't have to run anyone, but it was close. You know who you are Huskies bench coach.

Game only went 2:42 but it felt like four hours. Minnesota pitchers couldn't find the plate the last couple of innings and it made the game seem longer than it was. Especially since it was cold. Not Minnesota/Michigan cold...but you know what I mean.

Only one game on Sunday for me. Was supposed to work Notre Dame and Penn State but switched with Gary Rosplohowski so he could make his flight back to Toledo. You are welcome Rospo. Plus they went 3:40 in a 9-8 actually...THANK YOU Rospo!!!

My game was a third base job with Michigan and South Florida. Dave Condon from Chicago knocked out a 4-2 game in 2:20...Found a lot of strikes and did a nice job, despite the clueless South Florida fans behind him and the even more clueless South Florida CF who had to leave us in the 8th inning because he felt the need to add commentary to him being called out on strikes. And YES young man, "You need to figure out your FUCKING ZONE back here" will get your ass run every single time.

Jim Muhleck from Detroit was my fellow base companion for the afternoon and again...nothing for either of us. Thanks for taking all the heat for the day Dave.

Be sure to check out my next post later today on my opinions on how we were treated by the tournament people for the weekend. While some of it was good...there was a lot of bad for an event that should have been a first class experience...even for us.

Monday, February 22, 2010

First Weekend In the Books

Well, the first weekend of the college baseball season passed by with nothing major happening.  And believe me when you are able to fly under the radar in this business it is MUCH better for you.

Played two games on Friday in Little Rock as St. Louis University played Arkansas-Pine Bluff and then the host school Arkansas-Little Rock played Pine Bluff.

In the first game, Mike Grace turned in a fine 2:23 performance as SLU beat UAPB 6-2.  Grace was his normal solid self back there and with the Friday afternoon temperatures hitting 60...I was happy to be in Little Rock, AR instead of home in Indy with 7 inches of snow still on the ground.  And an obstruction call by yours truly in the 2nd inning was probably the first one called in the 2010 college season.  Just sayin'.

In the second game, I got to watch Brian Martin work in a game where it took pitchers a long time to decide what to throw and when they did they stayed behind in the count.  Brian is one of those good ole boys from northern Louisiana who you HAVE to like.  He was a good roomie for the weekend also..(which means he didn't make a lot of noise and let me sleep).  UALR beat their in-state rivals from Pine Bluff 5-0 in 2:56.  We didn't care how long it took.  It was the first day of the season and 60 degrees outside.  I am certain though, that will change as the season goes on.  HA!!!

Now let me tell you about dinner on Friday night.  A MUST DO in Little Rock is a place called the Butcher Shop Steakhouse on the west side of town.  Good service, unbelievable food and a good time had by all.  I give it an 8 out of 10 and will go back on my next trip to Little Rock.  I had the 20 oz. ribeye, but I must admit that I had a little food envy when Jeff Bowerman's 12 oz. filet came out.  I went for quantity...and my choice was great.  Next time though...the filet will get the test.

On Saturday, first game went to Mr. Bowerman.  A 3:56 marathon that no one wanted to win.  SLU finally did in the 12th inning over St. Peter's 12-11.  Sorry Jeff, it was just one of those games that was destined for LONG.

In the second game, I crawled back behind the dish to determine what kind of year I was going to have.  If all my games are like this one, I'll be a happy camper.  UALR wins over SLU 8-2.  I go 2:27 and am happy to report that the pre-season stretching worked.  No pain the next day and no help from Advil.  (I DID however crawl into a hot bathtub afterward when I got back to the hotel JUST to be on the safe side).  It turned out fine.

Game three...Well, let's just say this.  I love my fellow umpires, but if I don't HAVE to be there...DON'T look in the stands for me.  I am sure that Shon Chester from Tulsa did a fine job.  (He did go 2:36 in a 5-3 Pine Bluff win over St. Peter's)  But I saw about 20 pitches of this game.  Sorry guys, but I am sure you were great.

Back behind the plate again on Sunday morning at 10am...knowing full well we weren't going to be able to play baseball long because of incoming t-storms.  We got 2 1/2 innings in in 40 minutes...the rains came hard...the outfield was a lake...and I was on the road by Noon headed home to Indianapolis with my $1000 check and the knowledge that the start of the season was a good one.

Thanks to Mike Grace, Jeff Bowerman, Brian Martin, Shon Chester and Matt Wilson for making the first weekend of the season a fun one.

Next up is a trip to St. Petersburg, FL for the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.  Hope the start to your season is as good as mine was.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Time Is Here

Well.  The time has now come.  Flying out tomorrow for Little Rock, AR for my first baseball of the year. 

As I write, the temps for the weekend are to be in the mid-50's, so that shouldn't be too bad.  At least it will be better than the 32 degrees it is forecast to be in Indy this weekend.

As umpires, we must always remember that we are expected to be perfect on day one and get better as the season goes on.  I think that is truly horseshit, but it is what it is.

So I have seen my pitches in the cage, and I have stretched as much as I could to prepare for Friday's opening game.  The victims?  St. Louis University and University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  An 11am C.S.T. start time.  I hope they are still asleep and forget I am there. 

But seriously, I feel eager to begin as the next two weekends shape up to be fun with five games in Little Rock followed by five games next weekend in St. Petersburg, FL in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.

A little sun...a little baseball...a little more sun.  Should be a couple of great weekends to start the year.  Then comes the hard part...waiting.  After 10 games in two weekends, then I do only seven games in the next three and a half weeks before conference seasons get underway March 26th.

So in other words, you have to start all over again.  Such is the life of living in the cold weather of the north...but again as my good friend NCAA Division II umpire coordinator Asa Howard taught me--"It is what it is."

But I am looking forward to getting back out there and getting started as we begin the journey for 2010 of officiating the greatest game in the world--Baseball.

Stay tuned for reports from Arkansas as the journey begins Friday morning.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time To Start Getting Ready

As I sit here in a hotel room in Cedar City, UT looking out at snow on the ground, it is hard for me to mentally get ready for the upcoming college baseball season.  But alas, I am afraid it is time.

I am 50 now, and it is MUCH more difficult for me to get ready for the first game each year.  The muscles and bones aren't 25 any more.  So I have to start much earlier to get ready. 

My season opens Feb. 19 in Little Rock, AR at the University of Arkansas/Little Rock.  A three day round robin format that will allow me to get my feet wet before my conference season begins towards the end of March. 

I WILL be sore after this weekend.  No way to avoid it.  HOW sore will be the thing I hope to contain.

I have already started a stretching regiment that I stretch for 20 minutes a day every day.  Hopefully this will be one thing that will help to eliminate some of the pain I will feel after that first weekend.

The other thing that I have started working on is that excess 20 pounds I have put on since I last umpired in August.  Starting to eat less and shed that weight before the season begins is a priority for two reasons...(1) I will feel better at 230 than I do at 250.  and (2) I don't want to have to buy any new uniforms this year.  I already have fat uniforms and uniforms that I can wear at my good weight...I just am cheap and don't want to buy any more fat uniforms.  But that's just me.

The other thing that I will do--and YOU should absolutely do as well--is find a place to go look at some pitches.  I do this every year at the University of Indianapolis.  I put on the gear and try to go see as many as 100 pitches a day for at least three days before I go out there for real.

If you don't do this, then you are cheating your profession.  You should make every effort to NOT go out on the field for the first time having not seen a pitch.  You should be game ready on day one.  Don't go in having to guess on day one.  The teams you are working for deserve better than that.

I understand that a lot of guys work basketball as well and it makes it more difficult to fit any sort of pre-season prep into your already busy schedule.  But make that effort.  It is important because we are all professionals.

The season is right around the corner and at least for me, the time has come for preparation .  You may not start as early as I do, so only you can know for yourself when you should start.

Have fun getting ready for 2010.  It is going to be a great year.

What do YOU do to get ready for the season?  Post your comment below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm Not Paying

Ok...So I have gotten tons of calls wanting to know what had me so ticked off after the meeting last weekend in Atlanta.  Honestly, there were SEVERAL things that made my blood pressure go up like a coach from the bench telling me to "Bear Down".

The big one though was this $100 fee from the NCAA.

Ok, let's just get one thing straight.  I have always been a big proponent of putting the BEST umpires on the field for the post season.  The games mean more, and I don't think it is a time to bring someone along just because it is "his turn."

That being said, this whole thing of paying for the playoffs has me totally PISSED!!!

They can call it what they want to...and you as an umpire can believe what they tell you...but the bottom line is if you don't pay the money you aren't considered for the playoffs.

However, they present it in such a way that it doesn't really make it clear whether or not it includes conference tournaments.  It doesn't.

In other words, if you are NOT in line for a regional or a super regional...paying the money is a total waste.  PERIOD.

I don't begrudge anyone for paying the money...if you are in the rotation for regionals by all means pay.  I'll trade $100 for the big paycheck you will earn for regionals.

But if you think you are going to pay the NCAA $100...and it is going to give you an inside track, then I have a hypnosis treatment that will make you get EVERY single pitch correct in EVERY single plate job you work for the rest of your life.

And if you think the NCAA is going to actually use that money they collect to improve the program for two of my hypnosis treatments.

If you haven't gone to your meeting yet...listen carefully how they present it that you REALLY need to pay the fee.  They are very vague about what you get...they even run a lovely young lady up there to talk about the process--all hoping for one thing--that you don't start bitching about WHY.

I'm not going to a regional...(in fact, after starting this blog I am pretty sure I will never EVER be considered).  So I am not paying the money.  For what??  A spiral-bound rule book and a $20 gift certificate to Honig's??  No thanks.  I have a rule book.  And I already get a discount from my CBUA membership.

Has anyone even stopped to think about how many new spots have come up for the regionals in the past few years??  I didn't think so.  And your $100 isn't going to get you any closer.

How big of a money maker is this for the NCAA??  Consider this.  I have found out from pretty reliable sources that over 1000 mens and 1000 womens NCAA basketball officials paid their $100 for the CHANCE at getting a post season assignment.  The CHANCE mind you.  That is over $200,000 that the NCAA collected from these people for 96 openings in the mens division and the same 96 in the womens division.

Ahhhh...the rich (NCAA) get richer.  On the backs of the people that they really don't care that much about in the first place.  Officials.

And trust me I know that there will be over 1000 baseball guys that will pony up also...SUCKERS.

There is only one word that truly describes this fleecing of the officials.  EXTORTION.

But Scott, if I don't pay the money then I can't take the test.  If I don't take the test, I can't qualify.

I don't care.  It is extortion and I refuse to be a part of it.

My thought is that the NCAA is trying to run the supervisors out of business.  Guys like Rich Fetchiet and Tony Thompson have BLED to make our jobs better.  No one at the NCAA is doing that.  I'll bet my money on Rich and Tony...(oops...I said BET didn't I?)

And baseball guys...let me throw this out there for you as food for thought.  Basketball officials make a HELL of a lot more money than we do for officiating our games.  Why do they get off paying the same money that we do when their game checks are for much more money than ours?  Just asking.

So if you want to drink the Kool-Aid and think that you are going to improve your chances of working the playoffs if you pay the money...feel free and write the check.  Call me in May to let me know how that $100 check worked out for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Well.  The answer to this question is pretty simple.  We as umpires put up with a lot of crap both on and off the field.  Coaches for the most part HATE us.  Administrators begrudgingly pay us our money because we are considered necessary evils of the game.

But the BIGGEST reason that I am starting this blog is because the leader of the NCAA umpire group said in a meeting on Saturday in Atlanta that we should be careful about posting blogs and posting messages on Twitter.  (Don't worry Mr. McArtor, I won't be writing stupid things about going out and drinking after games.) 

I have been an umpire for a long time.  I am 50 years old now, and have been an active part of the umpiring community for more than 60% of my life.

I was in professional baseball for 5 seasons (1982-86) and have worked with some great umpires in my time.  I carried current MLB Umpire Ed Hickox on my shoulders for a full season in the Florida State League in 1984.  (Just kidding Ed, you are still the BEST partner a guy could have ever asked for.) and have been fortunate enough to be around several other MLB Umpires in my time.

Mike Winters, Charlie Reliford, Brian Gorman all became professional umpires the same year I did back in 1982.  Worked a couple of spring trainings with Larry Vanover.  I worked Instructional League with Dale Scott and Tim Tschida.  I even worked with Pam Postema in that Instructional League.  (More on that another time.)

There are countless guys that I have worked with in the college game that are great umpires as well.

Being an umpire isn't for everyone.  If you want a job that people yell at you most of the day, and you are expected to start the season perfect and only get better from there...come sign up.  You guys all know this.

I love umpiring.  I love the game of baseball just as much.  There are just some things about the way the game of baseball treats umpires (and the way some UMPIRES treat other umpires) that I find distasteful.

On this blog, I will discuss a little bit of everything.

Please feel free to comment about any of my posts...The only thing I will censor is SOME of the language.  You can even post how horseshit you think I am.  (By the way, if you think I am horseshit you ARE in the majority)

Thanks for following me. And let's have some fun out there.

Well...Here Goes.

OK.  Now before I begin, I want everyone to know that I realize the only people that will read this blog are umpires.

In fact, I am going to invite all of my umpire friends to follow along.

This blog will be simple.  It will be about umpiring.  Not just the on the field stuff.  But all the crap you have to deal with as an umpire.

So you might ask...WHY?

Simple.  Gene McArtor thinks it is a bad idea.

I will say some things on this blog that some of you guys will roll your eyes at.

I will say a lot of things on this blog that will catch you shaking you head agreeing with me.

Some guys have already said, "Scott, you will torch your umpiring career with this."

I really don't think so.  And if I do, then so be it.  It was a great run.

My credentials as an umpire and my story to now is contained in the next post.

Thanks for following.