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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Big League Bullying: The Conspiracy To Humiliate MLB Umpire Steve Fields

Baseball consensus holds that umpires only get noticed when they make a bad call. Steve Fields’ career as a major league ump was bookended by two calls that put him in the spotlight. But he went to his grave insisting both were right.

His first momentous call came during the umpires strike of 1979. National League officials, Fields said, told him that crossing a picket line was the only way he’d ever achieve his boyhood dream of making it to the big leagues. He was the oldest minor-league ump in the land at the time, and he believed what he was told. So he crossed the line.

And after all those years in the bushes, Fields suddenly found himself at the highest level of his profession. But because he’d made what his new peers regarded as a deal with the devil to get there, Fields’ run in the major leagues was anything but dreamy. Instead, he encountered seasons of hate and hazing from the veteran members of the very fraternity he’d desperately wanted to join for so long.

“Since 1979, Fields has lived out one of the ugliest episodes in baseball history—the ostracism of the union umpires,” wrote Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.


 

 

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