Umpire Choke Job

If you’re a sports fan or a fan of embarrassment,
you already know what this clip is all about.
A first-base umpire blew a call that would have given a pitcher a perfect game.
As funny as it may be to picture, Derek and I (Adam) have umpired local baseball during summers.
Now, this goes from little 7- and 8-year-old boys to high-school kids to adult leagues.
This by no means condescending.
But if you haven’t umpired or officiated a big game, you haven’t felt pressure.
We expect you to brush this off, as you probably see umpiring these local baseball games
as nothing that comes remotely close to resembling a Game-7 situation.
But you’ve never walked onto the field at Burkett Field in Robinson Township
as one of the umpires for a Supercolt (high-school-age) championship game.
You’ve never had to rely on some joke 14-year-old catcher in front of you
being able to snag every 75mph fastball coming straight at your eyes from 54 feet.
You’ve never walked onto the field at Peterswood Park as one of the umpires
for the championship game of an interstate all-star PONY tournament.
You’ve never had to deal with the home team down by one run, two outs, bases loaded, full count.
And the next pitch grazes the outside corner at the bottom of the kneecap.
Next time you watch a baseball game, watch the home-plate umpire call a strike on a pitch that comes right down the middle.  He hesitates for roughly a second.  It’s not because he’s unsure.  It’s because he’s setting the groundwork for when he’ll need that second when that 3-2 pitch grazes the outside corner at the bottom of the kneecaps and he needs to replay that pitch in his mind.  That second of hesitation is an umpire’s best friend.
Every time you walk onto a baseball field as an umpire,
you know that everyone that sees you immediately hates you.
You just got to lay back and get in a zone.
If your mind strays from that baseball game for a fraction of a second out of those 2 hours, you are done.
You got to go in treating every game as if it’s Game 7 of the World Series, or you’re in for a day of pain.
That being said, we are far from being professional umpires.
We’ve blown calls.  It happens.
We’ve had our cars scraped with keys.
We’ve had the air taken out of our cars’ tires.
We’ve had to call police to get some drunken dad out of the park.
But then again, we’re good.
We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t take pride in it.
But there is no worse feeling in the world than even thinking that you blew a call
that made some 10-year-old cry.
But holy shit.
A professional umpire who works his whole life to get to the majors can’t blow that call.
Again, as funny as it sounds, umpires of any kind are taught the proper mechanics
when making safe, out, ball, strike, fair, and foul calls.
Jim Joyce, the umpire who blew this call, started his mechanic to signal an out.
But he changed his mind.  He choked.
TPB Staff

About TPB Staff

est. 2006 Semi-retired