Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cute Umpire Tricks

So there you are, standing in a beautiful field of grass on a sunny day. There are only two other people dressed like you are. The rest are divided, about equally, in two different versions of baseball uniforms. That means the peaceful moment is only an interlude. Sooner or later you are going to make a decision that will be received with mixed reviews.

If it came under unusual circumstances, your buddy looking out through the bars of his mask is making serious preparations to dust home plate off and your other partner is searching for four leaf clovers. Out of one dugout comes a coach transitioning into a Cretan as he approaches. It ain’t going to be pretty unless you are prepared.

While it can’t be used often, one solution is to beat the coach to the opening salvo. Something like “Say, is that good looking blonde in the third row behind the dugout your wife? She’s had her eyes glued on you all afternoon.” works well. If his wife is a blonde, he’s now wondering about what kind of trouble he is in. If not he’s beginning to wonder what kind of trouble he can get into. Either way, he’s forgotten why he charged out of the dugout.

If he gets out the first blast you have a pretty good idea whether or not he wants to be thrown out of the game. A few course words and a look at the scoreboard that shows his team is behind 12-1 in the seventh inning probably means he’s not there with a serious question. Usually something like “Coach if I’ve got to stay out here and watch this thing for another two innings, so do you” will turn him around.

If he is mad, but wants to stick around, use the field and your equipment to your advantage. You are wearing a fairly tight fitting cap that won’t pop off every time you have to run. He is probably wearing something that fits a bit looser. If it comes to face to face time, let him lean in a little as you make sure the bill of you cap is below his. Let him have his say, or interrupt him if that’s your pleasure, lifting your chin sharply as you begin your reply. His hat will likely begin to fall off, distracting him. Once that happens, he seldom gets back into the mood.

Should he ignore that, there is a move called ‘beaking’ that is sure to impress him. Emphatically move your head with each word, aiming the bill of your hat at his forehead. It only takes a few words to ‘calm him down’  … sort of. At this point, while he is off balance, turn around and head away. He is now following you like an angry wife, and he knows it.
He may try to rush around and get back in front of you but a right or left turn, opposite the side he is passing on, will frustrate the attempt. Usually this is a very short dance.

If you happen to be the plate umpire, be sure that you use the maneuver just described to lead him into the grass of the infield at first opportunity. It is very hard for him to kick dirt onto the plate or you from there. Grass doesn’t pick up in quantity very easily either.

Sometimes it is the fans who are upset. You don’t necessarily have to ignore them, though that is the common advice.

Sooner or later, some smart alec is going to offer you a pair of glasses. Calmly walk over, accept them, put them in your shirt pocket, then return to your position. It is now the proper time to ignore the fans. If you are on the plate, pray for a foul ball or two to hit you in the chest. You will probably forget to return them at the end of the game and, with a little luck, there will be an exit from your locker room where the fan is not waiting.

Should that result in another one of those letters from the commissioner, this one asking you to return them, don’t ignore it. Get the guy’s address, put them in an envelope, and let the US Post Office handle it from there.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

OK ... They Got me Here

Yep, I’m blogging now; they told me I had to if I wanted to prove I am a writer. I came kicking and screaming, kind of like when I moved from shelling to windows and later saw the onset of that disease, WWW.

It’s not so much that I resist change as it is I hate all this newfangled stuff that makes me learn something that came on like a roadblock rather than a discovery. Besides that, my two teen aged daughters ain’t teenagers any more and they moved out, taking technical expertise with them.

I’m going to give this the old college try, hoping it turns out better than the old college try. My professors are probably a bit more scarred by that one than I am. I made the hall of fame there and it wasn’t as an athlete. I’ve got the picture to prove it but have been advised against sharing it here. They say that once it is on the web, it’s there forever.

What you might find here, if I follow through better than I usually do, is going to be bit of a variety. Some of it will be about my philosophy, knowing that all of you will benefit immensely from anything I offer. I’m tempted to toss in some verbal “vacation pictures” that you might find useful if you are suffering from insomnia and nothing else has worked.

Segments of my flailing attempts at writing will pop up, begging for your criticism. I’ve got real thick skin and hope you won’t hold back on letting me know how you really feel about those. I’d rather be rejected here than someplace else where it might matter a bit more.

Every once in a while I’ll get serious and talk about genealogy or history or any one of the way too many other things that I am interested in. You won’t find self help here because if this is where you are looking for it, you’ve staggered way too far off the path to ever get back to whatever it is you are looking for. I’ll have someone  help me put the straightjacket back on if I get the urge to write about politics.

Somewhere on this page you ought to be able find pointers to all of that and anything else I can add to make this thing as confusing for you as it is for me. If you got this far, you’ll figure that out right after I do.