Monday, April 20, 2009

As Luck(or the weather) would have it/Confessions of a High School Umpire

As luck would have it...Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, turned out to be the nicest days we have had, weather wise, since back in luck would also have it, the last 2 of those days, I was saddled with the virus, the same one Patricia had. A nasty stomach flu like bug, which left me weak, tired, and not knowing which end to relieve myself out of. Yesterday, as I started to slowly recover, the weather turned back to what has been "normal" for west Ohio...rain and cooler.

I guess it all began Thursday night when Sam and I got back from Tinora High School, some 70 miles north of Celina, after completing a Green Meadows Conference game....I sat down, watched the Hockey game between Detroit and Columbus, and had a few beers....went to bed feeling OK, by any standards. However, when I got up, my stomach was in a flux...and I was trying to decide whether it was the beer and a few chocolates I snatched from Anissa's Easter basket...or I was getting the bug that had laid my wife low for the best part of a week...didn't take long to figure out it was the latter.

So I spent the better part of Friday visiting the royal suite(the upstairs bath), and wondering if I was going to feel well enough to do the trip to St. Marys to do the WBL game with eating, no coffee, just a few drinks throughout the day....I made it the 10 miles to the other side of the lake...lucky for me, my partner for the day was Greg from Greenville, and it was his rotation to do the I found out, he had been battlling the same "bug" here we are, 74 degrees warm weather, and both of us not feeling at the top of our game....we survived. The game was a rather quick one, without too may problems(see umpire story below), and was over in about 2 hours...a 3-1 win for visiting Celina.

I headed home, once again watched hockey, this time my team, The Philadelphia Flyers did battle with Pittsburgh....watched it until the refs took charge and hosed Philly late...Pitt tied it and it, went to Overtime...I pretty well knew the dye had been cast...the Flyers were set up for the loss, and they did...way to go NHL...protect those chosen teams and super stars. Anyway I didn't care by that time and headed to bed before the O.T. even began...I spend a good chunk of the night on the throne.

Saturday dawned warm and sunny again, and I headed to Ottoville for a single game...with a young replacement ump(for Sam who headed to Newark for a OSU-Lima double header), I ended up doing the plate in a 19-5, 2 hour 35 minute marathon blowout...home again, and basically resting up over the weekend, when not in the can...How Exciting?

The one thing for sure, the "bug" was a waste of what could have been great cigar and beer drinking weather...the first 3 days of the new week look to suck, cool, rain, and in the 40s and 50s....what a bummer!

Confessions of a High School Umpire

Since I returned to umpiring a decade ago, from coaching, the one thing I have noticed patience has gotten better, at least for the most part. There are exceptions, especially when you are not feeling up to par...and when a coach or player rubs you the wrong way, by making senseless or against the rules arguments, especially when you are not feeling well.

As I mentioned above...Friday and Saturday were great weather wise, but not so great, when it came to working a ball game with a virus.

Off to the other side of the lake on Friday I was scheduled to do a Western Buckeye League game with St. Marys hosting Celina. I usually don't do Celina games, only because I live here and it's my alma mater...I don't do varsity home games, but do on occasion do a weekend JV double header in Celina, and pick them up on the road, if the opponent Athletic Director or League Assigner gives me the game....not a "homer", never have been, and never will be, so the game, regardless of who is playing doesn't matter...I don't favor one team ever! Bottom Line....

Anyhow, not feeling good at all, I ended up getting into it with the first base coach in the second inning...the guy wants to argue a "check swing" call. The plate umpire asked me if the right handed batter went around.."yes he did" I say, and the young coach decides he knows better that his player didn't swing. That discussion lasted about 5 seconds...2 rules that I stick with...You don't argue judgement calls with me, and I don't argue with "assistant" coaches and players....I was pretty short with this guy...there was another call he wanted to argue later on, but guess he decided not to trip my lever...good thing too.

We got out of that game in less than 2 hours..I headed home(see above) and hoped to feel better for the Saturday contest up north.

I did the plate at Ottoville...both teams with veteran coaches. The home team struggling this season, the visiting Crestview team came in at 6 wins with a single loss. The outcome was pretty much decided early, with the visiting Knights scoring 7 runs in the top of the first, on the way to a 19-5 win.

I was feeling better, but still not ready for prime time...the game dragged, and I guess the Ottoville coach and a couple of fans didn't like my strike zone...I'll admit to have a low in the zone, strike call habit, especially if the count is 3-0. Well I called one pitch I thought was at the bottom of the zone a strike and the O coach came unhinged...I rip my mask off and proceeded to yell back that, we were not going to argue strikes and balls....about that time a moron in the crowd tells me to 'shut my pie hole'....I gave him the glare, thought about tossing his sorry ass out of the park, but figured, why escalate the situation further? The coach and I have known each other for years...he's a good guy, but a high strung one at times...nothing we said was personal, and it went no farther. I however, probably should have tossed the big mouth fan....and even the opposing coach wondered why I didn't...a weak moment on my part I guess. Fans can pretty much say what they please...but there are times they cross the line, and running them out of the park is a legit option...this was border line, next time I probably won't be so accepting.

Being in the game as a player, coach, and umpire for 50 years...I guess I have heard and seen it all...The state ranking say I'm good enough to do the State Tournament, but you still have to prove yourself to yourself every game...I noticed my ranking with coaches was sailing along at a 4.2 out of 5 rating going into Friday's dropped just enough to let me know that one coach gave me a 2 somewhere before Saturday...doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when that occurred. It's not a big thing, coaches rankings are but a small part of the overall picture, and mine are in the top group....but there are times when you wish you could rank the coaches, at least a few of them, but enough said of that.

Today I am scheduled for a league game (Northwest Conference) at Bluffton, and tomorrow a WBL game at Lima appears however, that for the 3rd straight week, the Monday and Tuesday games are going to get washed out....The league make-up games in May, combined with the tournament schedule, should put the squeeze on pitching staffs throughout the area....making coaching decisions all that much harder. It will be interesting.
The virus is still with me, feeling better yes, but still tired, not ready to pig out, or down a beer...on the plus side, I have lost another 7 pounds, making it easier obtain my goal fo 25 down....I'm now 60% there...perhaps not the way you want to lose it, but we will take it.

back later>>>>>

photo---This mornings Radar...the low pressure area spins around the midwest, 3 straight weeks of Monday and Tuesday rains, but I guess that's better than Friday/Saturday wet.


Larry said...

Sorry you're feeling yucky, Pat. I wanted to fertilize grass here in N. IL today with the broadcast spreader, but it's fairly windy -- as too often the case -- so it has to wait. Get well, good man.

david mcmahon said...

Look after yourself, Pat. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Donald Douglas said...

"The virus is still with me, feeling better yes, but still tired, not ready to pig out, or down a beer..."

That's how you beat it!

Shrinky said...

Oh sweetie, what rotten luck to be laid low just as you least need it, I sure hope you are over the worst by now. I needed to have minor surgery just before leaving for Seattle, it wasn't planned and very necessary, but I worried I may have to cancel the trip. I was lucky, my health improved immediately and dramatically from day one.

It's funny how you never appreciate your health until you don't have it, is it? Hope you are firing on all pistons soon hon.