The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Commentary: Give boys in blue a break

    Going to baseball games is rich with traditions: eating hot dogs, popping Cracker Jacks and screaming at the umpires. Umpires are berated mercilessly by fans and last week, Major League umpire Laz Diaz was attacked by a fan in Chicago.
    Having gone to many Mississippi State baseball games this year, I see that although MSU fans are not that insane, they do shout many jeers like: “Get in the game, Blue!” “Open your eyes!” and the always popular and simplistic “You suck!” have all been yelled by MSU fans at games this year.
    I used to yell at umpires before I started umpiring games and realized just how difficult the job can be. Umpires must make split second decisions from their perspectives and often put up with the reactions they get from unhappy fans and coaches.
    I have been umpiring Little League Baseball in my hometown of Florence, Ala., for the past four summers. I have also umpired USSSA baseball tournaments in Alabama and Mississippi. During this time, I have come to have a deep respect for what college and Major League Baseball umpires do.
    Baseball umpires have a much more difficult job than officials in other sports. While the officials in other sports are there to make sure the game is played fairly, baseball umpires have the final say on how the game is played. This leads to more heated arguments with coaches and players in baseball than other sports.
    College and MLB umpires rank among the best-trained umpires in the world. Major League umpires have to go through umpire school and some work as many as 10 years in the minor leagues before they are called up to the majors.
    Many baseball fans do not realize the training and coordination that goes into being an umpire. Baseball has hundreds of rules in the rulebook and the umpire must know every one of them by heart. The umpires must also move with each other so they will be in the best position possible to make a correct call. This is a very coordinated process of umpires maneuvering around the bases covering each other’s backs. The next time you go to a baseball game, take a minute to watch this.
    Umpires strive to get every call correct and most of the time they do. If you watch a baseball game on TV you know that when there is a close play at a base, almost every time the replay will show the umpire’s call was correct.
    However, umpires are human and will miss a call once in awhile. I speak from experience when I say that umpires know when they missed a call and don’t need to be reminded of it. The umpire who knows he missed a call feels just as bad about it as the unhappy fans and coaches do.
    Umpiring for me has been a rewarding experience. I love baseball dearly and since I was never a good enough athlete to play, umpiring is the closest I can get to the game. Every umpire that puts on that blue uniform does so because he loves the game of baseball and loves his job.
    I’m sure that if you asked most any umpire if he would trade his job for any other in the world, he would refuse. So next time you go to a MSU baseball game and feel like screaming at the umpires, take a moment and try to appreciate how difficult their job is.
    And after the game if an umpire passes close by you, you can say the words that every umpire appreciates most: “Good game, Blue.”

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    Commentary: Give boys in blue a break