Monday, June 1, 2015

7 Reasons I Can't be the Umpire

Umpires for Little League seem to be in short supply around here so a couple times per seasons the parents are required to ump. Although this sounds efficient, it’s probably not the best solution—at least in my case. 

When it was our turn to ump, I contacted a whole list of umpires potentially available to cover parental umpire duty. They were all unavailable. In circumstances when it's more work to get out of work, I can tend to get over confident. Pshhh, how hard can it be?

So out of curiosity I asked the boys, “What would you think if I umped your game?”

Zach and Spencer gave me a please-be-joking stare, but true to form Levi addressed it: “A girl umping baseball? That’s just weird.”

With no substitute umpire lined up, I started to get a little nervous. To assuage my umpire angst, I thought I'd test my skill by volunteering to run the scoreboard. I lasted for three batters.

Talk about an intense job! You have to watch and record every pitch, batter, run and out! And any of my bleacher buddies can testify that paying close attention at sporting events is not my strong suit.
Lucky for Levi, just hours before the game we found an available umpire, and I promised to never ump his game.

After my scoreboard trial, I'm pretty sure no one else wants me to either. Here’s why:
1. Steee-rike! It sounds so accusatory. I prefer “Whoops. Hey, it’s no biggie. You get two more chances!”
2. Foul ball! Was the hit disgusting and stinky? Why ya gotta be so rude? I’d rather whisper to the batter, “Pssst…good news, I don’t even think you can strike out on a foul ball!”
3. Batter’s out! Do you hate the batter? Why do you take that tone? How about, “Batter gets another try after these next 11 batters.” Baseball is a game of second and third chances.
4. No time for second guessing. Second-guessing is one of my spiritual gifts, and the split second decisions and finality of the umpire’s call don’t allow for it. I would prefer to watch a replay, phone a friend or poll the audience. I’d turn toward three sets of bleachers and shout “Hey parents and spectators! All in favor of calling a strike say ‘Aye.’ All opposed?” Admittedly, it would slow the momentum of the game. And no one wants baseball to go any s  l   o    w     e      r.
If a wild pitch can imprint our fence,
imagine the damage potential for human flesh!
5. Wild Pitches. If you’ve watched three minutes of little league (not the little guys on ESPN, but the regular kids), then you know there are MANY wild pitches. Last week a wild pitch flew straight toward my head. Even though there was a batter, catcher, umpire, and 15 foot back stop between the ball and me, I still squealed like a scared monkey. 
6. The bat. Scary!! The thought of it whistling by my ear 176 times per game makes me nauseated. At this level, the odds for taking a bat to the skull seem a bit too high and the helmet a bit too flimsy.
7. All the action at home plate. Swinging, catching, and sliding. My cat-like reflexes have used up all nine of their lives, and chances are slim that I could dodge the ball, the bat, or the cleats. 
So thank you, Little League, for the vote of confidence. I really wish I could (fingers crossed), but I think we’re all better off taking our cues from Levi. If you need anything else, I’ll be in the concession stand.

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