Saturday, June 11, 2005

Started doing the umpire thing around 1990 or 1991. Called games for a while, then went into a long hiatus. When Snake Eater, Jr. began playing baseball I began working with his teams in various capacities--coached bases, kept order on the bench, that sort of thing. I applied repeatedly to work as a coach, but wasn't part of the clique.

This year the opportunity to become "one of the guys" presented itself. I became a league officer, in charge of scheduling umpires. Since I was scheduling umpires, I went back to working games as an umpire as well. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I've been doing games this year and thoroughly enjoying it. Further, I've been able to put myself in to back up younger umpires in tough games. I get a certain satisfaction from that. I was able to prevent three miscreants from coaching All-Star teams and caused action to be taken against one particularly odious manager that led to him announcing that he is through with Little League. Good.

I've had a good time on the field and feel like I've done some positive things.

BUT. Scheduling umpires has been a nightmare. I can't make guys call games. I can only call them and ask them to. Most weeks I'm on the phone every night. When I do take a night off, I pay for it. If unreturned phone calls were worth a buck apiece I'd take the family to Disneyworld for a week on those earnings. Then, when I do find umpires, I get the phone calls. "I didn't like the way he called the game. Find someone else next time", "Your (yes, they're apparently mine) umpire was mean", you name it. It goes on and on. If I can put one umpire on every game for a given day, I'm in fat city. It's playoffs now. They want no less than two, and preferrably three umpires for every game. Ain't happenin' because there aren't that many umpires. Had a lot of rain this past week. At 8:00 Friday evening I got phone calls informing me that five rained out games had been rescheduled for the next day, starting at 9:00 AM. Think I found umpires for those games? If you do, I have a bridge you might be interested in buying. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to scheduling surgery to have the minor/major league commissioner removed from my lower intestine once this is all over. He's very good at rescheduling games last minute and then climbing up my a$$ when I don't have umpires. Or the umpire doesn't show. Or he gave me (and thus the umpire) the wrong game time. I'm the sixth umpire coordinator in four seasons. Now I know why. I guess my claim to fame will be that I actually stuck it out for an entire season.

I'm gonna keep umpiring. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again. Oh, and I'm one of four umpires in the whole league who doesn't turn in lineup cards to get paid. Our guys get paid as much as $40/game. A grand total of four of us just do it for the kids.

Anyway, I'm going to keep dressing in blue for games, but I guarantee you it's more likely I'll score with Angie Everhart than ever, ever be the umpire coordinator again.

Angie Everhart Posted by Hello


Barb said...

Heh - All that to post a picture of Ms. Everhart?!

Seriously - what a thankless task. The mantra should be "It's for the kids". Good on you for sticking with it and adding value!

Pamela said...

Your baseball posts have been great--can't believe all the grief you get. Interesting how a whole team--from the coach to the players to the parents--can be so unagreeable. I wonder if they take their lead from the coach or if the bad apples just like to stick together. Maybe it's a bit of both.

Lilly said...

Somebody likes redheads, or "coloradas" like my brothers would say :-) I've been catching up on your baseball posts of the last few days. Man, all that grief just to play baseball. Some adults really make life so complicated sometimes, and the worst thing is that kids grow up with that example and so the cycle continues.

Snake Eater said...

Ok, Barb. I admit it. I'm busted.

As for Lilly, I'm guilty as charged.

I think it is a bit of both, Pamela. The coaches who think alike (read: bad attitude) come together as kindred spirits, then their attitude is infused throughout the team. They are, after all, the role models who are setting the exapmple.