Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A tough call

My son isn't speaking to me right now.

At last night's ballgame his team was down 7-4 going into the bottom of the last inning. I was umpiring the bases (how did that happen, I ask myself). His teammates mounted a two-out rally to close the gap to 7-6.

Little Javey Moreno came to the plate and hit a hard shot to the shortstop. Javey put on the speed and hot-footed it to first while the shortstop struggled to field the grounder. He gathered it in and fired it to first, but over the first baseman's head. Javey sped on to second base.

Just one problem. He never touched first. Nobody saw it but me. The visiting manager and coaches were looking at the overthrown ball bouncing down the right field fence. The home team was looking at Javey running to second. I saw it, though. Hence the tough call.

As soon as Javey touched second base I knew that he, by all rights, should be rung up. What to do? Call him out and the game is over. My son's team loses. I am a goat. Stay silent and . . . well . . . nobody saw. No harm, no foul, right?


It wasn't any fun, but I made the tough call and punched Javey out. Game over.

It's not always easy to do the right thing. It's never easy when you know it will hurt the people you love, especially when nobody will know if you did the right thing or not. But, as I told my son after the game, your integrity is worth more than a tally in the win column.

One thing's for sure. If Javey ever plays Major League Baseball, I'll bet he never misses first base again. And with a name like Javey Moreno, he just might make "the show."


Anonymous said...

Not an easy call at all my friend but I admire that you did the right thing. I asked myself as soon as I arrived at the game what in the world were they thinking scheduling you to ump Jonah's game...again. One time I can see, you were an emergency filler, but twice?! They shouldn't put you in that position.

But I must say, you couldn't be anymore fair. Completely no favoritism on your part, if anything, I believe that you may try and compensate to show that you don't favor your son's team.

You should be able to watch and enjoy Jonah's games!

Scott - Butler

Wally Lowman said...

At least it was your kid. Just think if you would have called that on someone else's kid. They could have easily gotten mad and abusive about it since no one saw it but you.

Soren said...

The lesson on integrity was far more important than an little ball game.

Must be different in little league, but I remember that we had to appeal a missed base (throw over to the first baseman)before the ump would make a call.

Frank Weller said...

In this league, it is the umpire that makes the call. There is no provision for appeal. That is why I was so closely watching the bag. Good news, though: Jonah is talking to me again!