I did nothing of note today besides baseball. Snake Eater, Jr. got to go to a 13th birthday party for his squeeze, but I was boring.
What a day, though. I've noted that the Minor League is the most difficult league to schedule umpires for. Adults mostly won't do the games because they can't crouch down far enough to see a 9-year old's strike zone and the kids who call games are fickle at best. They have part-time jobs, proms, family events...you name it. And the fact that the coaches and parents at the minor league level are by far the most abusive doesn't help one bit.
Had a Junior League game which was originally scheduled for 9:30. One of the teams is coached by some college kids who had graduation today, so the game was moved to 9:00. I was notified of the change, but neither team was. Already we're off to a bad beginning.
Arrive at the field at 7:00 because it rained all night. By 9:00 despite efforts it's clear that the game will have to be postponed until 11:00. All well and good, except both guys calling the 12:00 Minor League game are on the team that now won't play until 11:00. Make call to Minor League commissioner. I'm sorry, but you're going to have to find coaches to call the game. Phone call degenerates into a shouting match after which I call the league president and inform him that from now on the Minor League guy can find his own &%^*&^ umpires because I can't deal with the $%**(_& a$$hole.
At this point the entire day is in turmoil. I have umpires who can call games in the AM, but not PM. As reports come in from various fields it becomes clear that I'm losing umpires right and left due to postponed games. Fortunately one field is deemed flat unplayable, so I was able to use that umpire on another game.
Just as I was about to plummit into the abyss of total hopelessness the area commissioner for Little League showed up. We went through some names of umpires while I recited each guy's reason for not being able to do games today. Then he says "How about Cindy?". I have no Cindys on my list. In fact, I have no women whatsoever on the list I've been given. He called her and Deus ex machina, she was available. Not only is Cindy available today, but I find myself in the presence of greatness--She's been selected to call games for the Girls' Fastpitch World Series this year. Holy crow...Then he gave me a book listing all of the umpires in the state who belong to some umpire association. Suddenly I have twice the number of potential umpires as I had before.
A high point in a low day.
Then it's Snake Eater Jrs. game (the one that was postponed until 11:00). They hammered the other team and ended the game early by ten-running them.
Now I'm off to a Minor League game where I have two very young umpires assigned and I've decided to make it a three-man crew (me being the third) so that I can read the riot act to the managers. "I have two young umpires here, and they're here to learn just the same as your kids are here to learn. I will brook no nonsense whatsoever. I won't hesitate to stop this game until the league president arrives (per rules), and he's out of town at his grandson's track meet. I'm placing you on notice and I expect you to place your parents on notice". (can you tell I was in a bad mood by this point?)
Well, the game never happened. One of the managers could only muster eight players (and this is a guy who would give me no end of bad time if I couldn't find an umpire for him...). Technically if you only have eight players, every time you hit number nine in the batting order, it's an automatic out. He decided he didn't want to play that game and took his kids and went home. Technically a forfeit. Why the two managers couldn't get together and decide to ditch the ninth batter rule and just let their kids play baseball is beyond me. I wasn't involved--they made the decision while we stood watching pre-game practice and never said a word to us. As a league officer I'd have told them to forget the automatic out and just let their kids play the game.
Nah. Too easy. Tempers flare at minor league games like Fourth of July fireworks, and yet play at that level is almost comical. Pitchers go into HUGE windups only to lob the ball in the general direction of the plate. 99% of batters reach first on balls and once on base, you're guaranteed to reach home due to pitches thrown over the catcher's head or otherwise out of his reach.
So once again, I'm in a mood. Then, I'll be damned if a B-2 Spirit doesn't fly right over the ballfield. Don't know if it was connected with the Armed Forces Day show at Andrews AFB or the Preakness, but either way we got quite a show.
I'll call the day a draw.