Friday, June 24, 2011

I dare you to forfeit this game

Today, I got to talking to an old friend who I used to umpire with all the time and for some reason, this story came to mind.

About 8 or 9 years ago when I was running the umpires at our association, my buddy and I put ourselves and a very good 12 year old game. It was two of the top teams in the area. We usually put ourselves on these games because they were great games to umpire.

I was working the plate and the game started without an issues. Then about the third inning, I called a kid out on a pitch on the inside corner. He turned and started complaining. I did what I always did and told the coach to tell his player to knock it off. Well, it was the coaches son who was complaining. He told me that if I called strikes that were actually strikes, his players wouldn't complain. Well, obviously, I didn't take that very well and we got into an argument. We went back and forth for a minute and then I just walked away thinking it was over. (Now would be a good time to mention that he and his son were black. Yes it actually has something to do with the rest of this story).

Anyways, I was walking back to my partner when I heard the following line, "Maybe if you weren't a racist you would call balls and strikes the same for my son as everyone else." At this point, my partner and I both at the exact same time turned and threw him out of the game. Well, he wouldn't leave. He just kept yelling, "I'm not going anywhere." After about two minutes of this, I told him that he had one minute to leave the field or I was going to forfeit the game. He looked at me and said, "I dare you to forfeit this game." Well, my partner and I looked at each other and walked off the field.

That game was one that I have never forgotten. I received about 20 phone calls about it within an hour of making my decision. To this day, I stand by our decision. As much as I hated not letting the kids play, I think it was the right call.


  1. I'm not saying your decision was incorrect. I completely understand your rationale, and you gave the coach a fair warning to shut his trap. There is no reason for any coach at any little league level to behave that way. The only other option you had would have been to call the police, but that probably would have made the situation worse and it would be extreme. Good call by you and your partner.

    Were the phone calls you received from other umpires or parents/commissioners of the league? Negative or positive? I'm curious how everything worked out.

  2. Bill, being that I was the umpire in chief at the time, I automatically received phone calls from the commissioners asking why I did what I did. I don't think they were happy with my decision because that ruling apparently had an effect on who won the league but in the end the understood that I had no choice.

    I did receive phone calls from parents on both teams. It helped me sleep at night knowing that all but one phone call was a phone call supporting my decision and thanking me for handling it professionally.

    I would never call the police just because a coach won't leave. If it gets that bad, I'm going to forfeit the game anyway.

  3. I'm glad most people agreed with your decision. I only mentioned the police, because I know our associations have told us in the past to contact them if a coach or parent does not leave.