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Umpires Newsbeat

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Umpire Rick Reed, who worked 1991 World Series, dies at 70

“I worked my first game in the big leagues with him and he took me to lunch the next day. We didn’t even talk about umpiring, he talked about being a husband and father while doing this job,” veteran crew chief Ted Barrett, whose son also is a professional umpire, texted to The Associated Press.
Reed retired from the major leagues after the 2009 season. He’d had strokes in 2008 and 2009, according to the Oakland Press, but he was able to return to the field and umpire the final big league games of his career. He later worked for the commissioner’s office as an umpire observer.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 22, 2020 at 08:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: obits, umpires

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Report: 11 umpires have opted out of the 2020 season

Jon Heyman reports that 11 MLB umpires have opted out of the 2020 season or have otherwise declined to participate. He says “some are said to have family members who are ill.” The umpires’ identities are not yet known.

Umpires, like players, have the right to opt-out with full pay if they are in a high risk group due to preexisting health conditions. Umpires can, obviously, be older as well, so age factors into it for some as well. Also like players, umpires who are themselves not high risk can opt-out if they have concern for the health of family members, though they will forego paychecks.

Recently, one umpire who is high risk — Joe West — made headlines for not only choosing not to opt-out but for also giving voice to COVID-19 denialism, questioning official statistics about infections and deaths.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 14, 2020 at 04:02 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, umpires

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Forget robots. These very real humans want to umpire the future of baseball

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Over three days of umpire camp — not to be confused with umpire school, more on that later — there is little attention paid to the strike zone. I’m loath to lead with a detail like that, which lends itself to too many punchlines. At ump camp, which is focused on education and not even evaluation, they don’t teach students how to distinguish between balls and strikes and isn’t that just rich? No wonder they’re so bad, you’re thinking, or getting ready to tweet alongside a screengrab of this paragraph. No wonder they’re all getting replaced by robots.

And in a way it’s schadenfreude as a form of self-defense. The increasing mechanization of all sorts of industries will put people in a huge swath of professions out of work. Robots are coming for all of our jobs; but they’re coming for umpires’ jobs imminently and on a public stage.

After a closely watched debut in the Atlantic League last year, the automated strike zone was reportedly ready for testing in the minor leagues this season — back when there was a season scheduled. The coronavirus has thrown a wrench in plans far bigger than experimental sports technology. It’s not clear when or even if minor league baseball will take place in 2020. And, contrary to some reports about how a virus-shortened season could provide a major league testing ground for the electronic strike zone, Major League Baseball has not discussed implementing robot umps in the bigs if games return later this summer.

The system has kinks to be cleaned up and a strike zone to stabilize. But all that said: Robot umpires remain an inevitability. An electronic system for calling balls and strikes at the highest level of baseball is a matter of when and not if.

We’ve been considering seemingly everyone else in baseball over the last few weeks- now is as good a time as any to turn to the umpires…..


QLE Posted: April 16, 2020 at 02:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: robots in baseball, umpires

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Umpire John McSherry dies after collapsing on the field

Opening Day in Cincinnati is special. Everything basically shuts down. A big parade is held and a party atmosphere pervades the city. The Reds have not gotten the honor of hosting the absolute first game of each year’s baseball schedule for some time, but the first Reds game each year — always at home, always a day game — is a special experience.

Opening Day 1996, however, was a tragic one, as home plate umpire John McSherry, working his 26th season as a major league umpire, collapsed and died during the first inning of the Reds game against the Montreal Expos.

McSherry was in good spirits before the game, jokingly telling Reds catcher, Eddie Taubensee, “Eddie, you can call the first two innings.”  A few moments later, however, there were some signs — recognized only in hindsight — that something was off. Expos coach Jim Tracy said that when he brought out his team’s lineup card, McSherry slurred some of his words. Reds starter Pete Schourek was surprised when his first pitch of the game — a fastball delivered to leadoff hitter Mark Grudzielanek that was right down the middle — was hesitantly called a ball, as if perhaps McSherry didn’t really see the pitch.

Things proceeded normally for a few moments. Grudzielanek flied out to right. Expos second baseman Mike Lansing struck out swinging. Then Rondell White came to bat. With the count 1-1, McSherry stepped away from the plate, raised his right hand, and waved it toward second base. Taubensee later recalled that McSherry said “hold on, timeout for a second.” Taubensee thought that maybe McSherry had pulled a muscle in his leg or hurt his back. He walked back toward the gate in the stands that led to tunnel leading to the umpire’s room. That’s when he collapsed.


QLE Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, john mcsherry, opening day, umpires



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