"Tight Strike Zone"??? Me?
For the dozen years or so I have been back on the umpire scene doing varsity High School Baseball, it has been common knowledge that I have a pretty big strike zone...I like players to swing the bat, I hate walks and I hate calling players out on called 3rd strikes. Some times you gotta do just that, but I believe if you establish your strike zone from the bottom of the knees up to the bottom of the letters, and a fair inside/outside zone, the batters are going to swing the bat. This moves the games along, and let's the players decide the contest, not the umpire's strike zone.
Last night Garry and I were at Van Wert, we were also supposed to work together at Convoy tonight, but the rain up that way prevented that....The hometown Cougars were taking on legaue rival Ottawa-Glandorf in the opening of both teams Western Buckeye League season. The sun was shining, the temperatures were near records, about 82 at game time, and the winds were blowing out over the center field fence at somewhere in the 30 to 40 mph range, It was a challenge for players, coaches, fans, and we umpires....The game went back and forth with Van Wert building a 9-4 lead, only to see that disappear and O-G winning by a 13-11 count in a slugfest that had it's share of errors and misplays...there were also 8 walks. That's more than I would like to see, but several of the 7 pitchers used, just were not getting the ball across the plate.
As I said, I have been told my strike zone at times is too big...but tight? Never...until last night, not by the coaches or fans, but by the reporter for the local Van Wert Rag:
Once our game today was cancelled Garry e-mailed me telling me that the reporter appeared not to like my strike zone....this kind of brings back old memories. I was the voice of the Van Wert Cougars for some 15 years on Cable TV back in the 1980s and 90s. I gave the officials at the various games(especially basketball) I was broadcasting the business, sometimes without mercy. Looks like the chickens are coming home to roost! But "tight"(or small) strike zone? Never, not in this life time....I will say it brought a smile to my face...but I won't change that zone, regardless of what some reporter thinks....or coaches for that matter.
Meeting, or a cigar and beer?
I'll decide in the next hour or so...........back later>>>
Photo at top--Me umpire at a youth tournament last summer in Minster, Ohio.