A chilly east wind cut through the park filled with baseball diamonds at St. Marys yesterday afternoon....those winds brought the smell of fresh spread manure, from the farms bordering the town, our way....the 65 degree temperatures and sunshine helped, but the smell stayed throughout the game.
I did the plate, it was my rotation with Dan The Man, whom I work more with on basketball than baseball these days. The game was between 2 middle of the road teams in the WBL...and both teams are led by hard nosed coaches that I have had "disagreements" with in the past. The visiting coach I noticed, never appears to enjoy coaching...win or lose it appears, he has contempt for umpires in general...that contempt spills over to some of his players, yesterday was no exception.
The visiting teams starting pitcher, was giving the look my way with every pitch he tossed that I didn't call a strike...by the time they had blown a 4-1 lead, he was back behind the plate as catcher...my old position. I caught throughout my playing career, whether in baseball or softball, not because I love the position, but because I pretty much sucked at the rest...I could hit, yep, no doubt about that, especially in my 20s when I was playing fast pitch softball in the Air Force...Field? Not so much...so to keep my bat in the line up, I caught. Having been a catcher, I know better that to piss off or try to show up the umpire...this kid hasn't learned that lesson yet...he had that attitude last year, he still has it this year. Life lessons are hard, if he keeps playing, he will learn baseball's lessons the hard way.
The coach was consistently bitching about the strike zone...a no-no for sure, and something that is more than likely to get you tossed from the game sooner or later...I nipped that in the bud, but because of his constant complaints, he managed to get a few of his players(most kept their heads with them and never complained) and a couple of leather lunged "fans" riled up....we got through the game, they lost 6-4 in about 2 hours, and I was home relaxing with a couple of beers....reviewing the game.
My thoughts were the same now as they were last night....I had a pretty damn good game, if some whining coach, cannot get his players to adjust to my strike zone(I sure the Hell am not adjusting my zone to his wishes)that is not my problem. Despite being behind, the home coach, whom I have banged heads with before, never had a complaint...well at least not one that I could hear, and the scored 5 unanswered runs to pull out the victory. So, good game umpired for me, Dan the Man made no mistakes that I caught...and we got out of there in 2 hours. I'm sure I will get a low rating from the visiting coach for last night...O' Well, those coach's ratings and $2 will get you a beer at the Friendly Tavern, they are meaningless to me. I know where I stand, and have the Umpiring Resume to prove it....Damn! Sometimes I really enjoy getting older, and giving a rat's ass even less than I did when I was 25. It's just a shame when you have a coach that cannot enjoy what he does...most aren't like that(I enjoyed the coaching no matter how my teams fared for those 25 years I did that gig), but some would be better off getting out, or actually "teaching", after all that's what they are supposed to be doing....you know? setting an example for the youth.
The Strike Zone____
The diagram at the top is the classic Strike Zone....as an umpire, and former coach, I like pitchers to work in the lower part of that zone, you have a much better chance of getting the hitter out. No coach worth his salt, or pitcher than wants to succeed, wants to see the pitches in the high part of that zone....those end up in the gap or out of the park.
And contrary to the old wives tale, that was put forth by our idiot VP Joe "The Plagiarist" Biden, during the Roberts Supreme Court Hearings...the strike zone is not from the shoulders to the knees.
My little lesson for politicians and baseball aficionados for today:
Tonight back at it at Lima Central Catholic, tomorrow at Spencerville, and I've picked up a important game at Bellfontaine for Friday...a long drive, but always worth it for good baseball and well coached teams....Sam and I work for the first time this season on Saturday, at Lincolnview.
Photos-The Strike Zone to which I pretty much ahear...and in High School, the finger point gets you ejected....no questions asked!