Friday, December 11, 2009

Funniest Thing I have ever seen on a baseball field

As I have said before, this summer will be my 20th year as an umpire. In that time, I have seen a lot of things but this one takes the far.

I was either 19 or 20 and I was working on field #1 at the Chesterfield Baseball Softball Association complex. It was a weekend day and my partner and I were on our four or fifth game of the day, it was the middle of July so needless to say it was hot and we were tired.

Anyways, I was in the field and my partner, Rob, was behind the plate. The game had been an interesting one. The fans from one of the teams really didn't like Rob's strike zone. The caoches weren't too bad but the fans were all over him. Anyways I an in position behind first base with nobody on and two outs (I don't remember the inning or the score). Rob calls a kid out look at strike three. I thought it was a boarder line pitch, definetly one the kid should have at least taken a swing at. The coaches agrued and the fans screamed, Rob turned his back on them and walked down the third baseline. Everything quieted down so I thought it was over. I turned to go into short right field.

When I turned back around, one of the kids grandmothers is on the field walking out to Rob. Rob didn't see her right away but when he did he looked about as shocked as I felt. I had started walking in and this is how the conversation went:

Rob "M'aam you can't be out here."

Grandmother "Are you blind?"

Rob "Excuse me?!"

Grandmother "You just called me grandson out on a pitch that was 10 feet outside."

Rob "Please get off the field."

Grandmother "You are the worst umpire I have ever seen."

Ok so at this point the coach is starting to come out to get her but he didn't get there in time because Rob threw her out. Then everything went nuts. The fans absolutely lost it. They were screaming, a cup of soda landed on the field. The coach was trying to get them quiet but they weren't listening.

Before I go on. Never do what I did. In a situation like this, tell the coach to control their fans or he is ejected. If they are as bad as they were in this game threaten to forfeit the game. Most parents don't want to be responsible for their kids game being forfeited. So once again, DO NOT DO WHAT I DID!!!

I was standing half way between home and first with my jaw on the floor. I had never seen anything like this. This was out of control. Something had to be done. Rob looked like he was still in shock so I steped up to the fence and yelled as loud as I could "Your outta here!!!" They all stopped and started looking at each other. One of the fans yelled back "Who?" I pointed to one side of the stands and said "From you..." and then to the other side of the stands "to you." They just looked at me. So I said it more clearly, "Your all out of here. Go to your cars or this game is over."

It took about five minutes to get them to leave but yes I threw out all of one teams fans.

Over the years, I have told this story a lot but the thing that amazes me is that every once and I while someone else will bring it up. I have had umpires from other associations tell me that they heard about this. I have had kids who were playing in the game to tell me they were part of this game.

Looking back on it, I did not handle it well at all. Today, I would NEVER do that. I would make the coach take responsibility. I have learned that getting into it with fans (even though sometimes unavoidable) is not smart. But I do think it makes for a great story.

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