Friday, April 6, 2012

Tonight At San Diego...The Battle of the West(Western Ohio That Is}

I survived another game on the bases last night...this one at Van Wert, in Western Buckeye League action.  Visiting Ottawa Glandorf, with MLB scouts from various teams in attendance, looking at their top ranked Ohio High School catcher, defeated the homestanding Cougars 7-2.  Garry did the plate, and I froze out on the bases. I now have 10 games under my belt...9 on the bases, still not confident to work behind the plate with my recent surgery.

I have to admit, with the lack of plate work{I usually work 70-75% of games behind the dish}I am gaining a new appreciation for the bases...and frankly I am, after all of these years, getting more aware out there.  So, like it or not, I am having a learning experience.

 Tomorrow, Sam will be home and we will work a double header here in Celina...a JV double...I rarely work JV games, but will on the weekends or an occasional Wednesday, when most teams take the night off.  Sam will work the first game behind the plate....and I will do the second, with a air filled sac between my full face hockey mask and my carotid artery scar....still not quite sure this is what I should be trying, but just as determined to do it....knowing I have never been hit there in all my years of umpire work.

The Battle of Western Southern California.

Two young MLB National League Pitchers will face off tonight in San Diego.  Nothing new there, but what makes this so unusual is that not only are they up and coming starters for their respective teams, San Diego and the LA Dodgers, they are both from my neck of the woods in Western Ohio.  And to add to that, both of these pitchers are men that I umpired behind the plate when they pitched back in their high school and American Legion baseball days.

 Cory Luebke spent three years at Ohio State after graduation from Maria Stein Marion Local High School....Cory had his break out season last year, and has just signed a new long term contract with the Padres.  Chad Billingsley took another route.  After graduation and being drafted by the Dodgers organization...he signed and immediately went into the LA Minor League Farm System.  He was on the fast track and in a couple of years had moved into the Dodger starting rotation.  Chad slipped a bit last season, but appears to be back on track after a fine spring.   In addition to me umpiring these guy's games back in the day...youngest son Hal was Cory's summer coach for a season at Marion Local during the ACME Season, and he faced Chad Billingsley's team in Summer and Spring ball, as they were in the same league, the Western Buckeye League.

So here it is...two of three MLB Pitchers I worked when they were in High School, the other is Jon Niese, also out of Defiance, who hurlers for the Mets....and there is another from our area, North Star, Ohio.  Craig Stamman, who is on the staff of the Washington Nationals....admittedly though I never worked a game where he was pitching back in his days at Versailles High School.  So four young men, from the flat lands of western Ohio are making their living pitching....all in the National League....another from Ottawa Glandorf may be joining them as a catcher, not far down the road.

Speaking of oldest son is a sample of his work with the Big Ten Network last night...majoring in Actuarial Science, he is still doing much of his work at the Ohio State College Sports scene....check out the second video on this Big Ten Report as he and his color chick wrap up the Ohio State Men's Volleyball win over Grand Canyon(Az):

The same two squads face each other tonight...then Sam heads home for Easter and a double header with the old man tomorrow.

That is the late and short report for this Good Friday afternoon...I wish you all a Happy and Blessed Easter.

back later>>>>

Photos-Cory Luebke, Chad Billingsley, and then there is me....who had the opportunity to call balls and strikes when both pitched back in their high school days.

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