As I’ve made note of, I am an umpire. I’ve done games at the youth, high school and collegegiate level for more than 20 years now.

Some coaches, fans and players would say it’s been too long already.

Yet, I enjoy it. For all the hot, humid days in the desert sun, the tournament weekends that end up consisting a dozen or more games in three days, or the constant complaining from the stands, more often than not, I walk off the field with a smile on my face and my confidence intact. 

I’d like to think most professional umpires feel the same way. They have a passion for their job, and in this day and age, not many employees can say they relish going to work every day. Sure, they make good money and the job is not physically taxing. That said, the travel is overwhelming and the mental aspect of the job are more than most can handle.

In other words, not just anybody can be an umpire in pro baseball or any other sport for that matter.

Now, having been there, done it and heard it, I offer up some thoughts as to what baseball fans should keep in mind during the World Series.

1. Anything Tim McCarver Says about Umpires and the Rules Is Wrong

Mr. McCarver was a solid catcher in the major leagues for a long time. As for his announcing ability and rules knowledge, I think he’s awful. In fact, I’ve been told he’s reminded from time to time to glance in his rule book before going off on an error.


2. The Naked Eye Can’t See Everything a TV Camera Does

Contrary to belief, umpires only have two eyes. What they really don’t have is the benefit of close-ups, seven different camera angles and the dreaded instant replay on every single call.

This is why when a home run lands near the foul pole, it’s hard to make a judgment. White ball, lord knows what color background and the distance factor come into play. Keep in mind, regular season games only have four umpires, not six. Even with those two added umpires on the field, it’s a darn tough call.

Two weeks ago, I missed one on a sunny day with a backdrop of trees behind me. I had trouble picking up the ball off the bat. It happens. It wasn’t until the neighbor across the street came out and took the ball out of his tomato plants that I realized it had been fair. Of course by then, it was too late.

Same goes for fan interference and balls in the dirt. Pitch is low like that, the catcher leans forward to block it. Plate umpire is blocked by the catcher’s back. He in essence loses sight of the ball. First base and third base umpires are a good 90 feet away. Neither can see that ball hit the batters pant leg.

Yet, there it is on the instant replay (which I for one am against entirely). So, when I hear McCarver and company’s reaction, “There’s another one the umpires missed,” I get a bit perturbed.

That’s an impossible call to make with the naked eye.

Now, fan interference is another tough one. According to the MLB rule book, a fan cannot reach onto the playing field to make a grab at the ball. If a fielder reaches into the stands, he’s fair game. Now, (and I hesitate to write this) if a fan grabs the player’s arm, takes his glove off or anything of that matter, it’s legal.

Of course, that might well lead to an ejection of the fan, which we’ve seen more and more of lately. Soon, fans who throw baseballs back on the field are going to get the boot as well, which will lead to a lot of empty bleacher seats at Wrigley Field.

I’m sure in this series, other crazy things are going to happen. Let’s hope my guys get them right without needing any replays.

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