And You're Ugly, Too!
(With apologies to Durwood Merrill.)
The Lifeguard is a baseball umpire, working games at a variety of levels, in a variety of places. I will occasionally work a summer instructional league game, followed by a youth league game. It's not always the ideal situation; but, it sure is a lot of fun.
Over the course of the years, I have wondered about many things, not in the least of which are these.
Have you ever noticed that the people who are telling the batter--their sons and daughters, usually--how to hit probably couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat.
"Keep your eye on the ball!" Sure, you have to watch the ball, but when the pitcher fires a 92 mph fast ball, most of these clowns are doing just that. Sometimes, they swing impotently. Other times, they don't swing at all. The best part? It's usually the umpire's fault.
"You weren't consistent" and "my pitcher didn't get those calls" are the standard excuses.
"Your pitcher didn't get those calls because your pitcher wasn't consistent," is my stock answer.
I love hearing "take one for the team," or "wear it."
"Yeah, tell you what, douchebag. Come on down here and let me hit you with a 92 mph heater...or, even an 82 mph deuce. We'll see how you like 'taking one for the team.'"
Of course, the coaches are the best, especially when they ask such knowing questions, like "what's the strike zone today?"
"Um, whatever it says in the rule book?"
Or, in a fast pitch softball game, where the batter is trying to slap her way on base and gets hit by a ball bouncing off of the ground. "Didn't that hit her in the box?"
"No, coach. I think it hit her in the leg."
Or, after a batter goes down swinging. "Was that a strike?"
"Yes. Because he swung the bat, ya jackass."
But, the pinnacle of stupidity was the coach at a small New England college who came out to chat after the following situation:
Runner at first, bunt fielded by the pitcher, throw to SS (covering second). Bad throw, pulled foot (the plate umpire could see him off the bag from the plate), runner safe.
The coach comes out to complain that this was a "horseshit call." He said that since the SS was "...around the bag, trying to turn two..." the runner should be out. I told him that the throw was bad and everyone in the stands could see that the SS was off the bag.
To which the coach replied, "Well, what are you, the defender of the rulebook?"
I told him that I thought that was in the job description.