NCAA Super Regional: An Umpire’s View of the Baseball Field
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Ole Miss are just a few hours away from taking Tigue Moore Field for this weekend’s Super Regional. A third team will join them on the diamond–a crew of four gentlemen wearing powder blue shirts, grey slacks, and black ball caps.
The umpires–the bane of every baseball fan’s existence–will do their best to make sure the series moves as smoothly as possible. However, their calls will still be mercilessly booed by fans who always seem to have a different opinion on whether a runner was out or if a pitch was over the corner of the plate.
I often make a point of telling hecklers that the job of an umpire is not an easy one. After all, standing behind the plate while balls are traveling towards
your head the catcher’s glove in excess of 60 miles-per-hour isn’t for the faint of heart. One blink, one cough, one move of the catcher could effect the outcome of a game just as much as routine fly ball to left field. Then, on top of all of that, we still have to sell our calls (good or bad) to the players, the coaches, and the fans. Showing uncertainty is even worse than kicking a call, as the coaches will take the opportunity to call every single play after into question.
This video from SportScience gives an in depth explanation of what umpires have to battle during a game. Former MLB umpire and current MLB umpire trainer Jim Evans helps give a rare insight into the basic mechanics of plate umpiring.
For those of you who still think you can be a better umpire than the guys on the field, I encourage you to look into joining your local youth baseball program or your local high school umpire association. Just make sure you don’t forget your cup at home.