Who’s first at the Bus?
After leaving Bob in Seattle (read “Florida Rescue Mission”) and Amtraking back to St. Paul to seek my fortune, first thing was finding a job. My old college friend Giles provided me a temporary residence. Next morning I went to Parks & Recreation to see if they needed umpires. “Can you do this afternoon’s North St. Paul – Stillwater game,” Hap Holmgren asked me, “we got a home plate ump, but we need a base ump?”
“Sure,” I said, not even having an umpire’s blue shirt, nor an indicator, nor a vehicle to get to North St. Paul. Took the bus. The teams were on the field, but the home plate ump hadn’t arrived by game time so I called the coaches to the mound, and said I would call the game from behind the pitcher’s mound, asked if they had an indicator to spare,
and explained that I hadn’t umped in years so the Rules might have changed, but I had good baseball judgment: “If there’s a ruling that doesn’t fit with any new rules, just call time out and bring me the Rule Book.”
“Okay,” they said. In the top of the first a Stillwater batter clouts one way back and because I couldn’t wait to show I knew the signal for a home run, I circled my right hand in the air. Only the ball drops a foot short of the fence; the right fielder takes it off the wall on one hop and twirls making a perfect throw to second base; meanwhile the batter, who had broken into his home run trot seeing my signal, was loping into second when the throw arrived and easily tagged out. “Time!” I said, and ruled it a ground rule double, a satisfactory solution. But, like one of the coaches told me, “Son, you’ve always got time to give the home run signal, make sure it’s over the fence first.” Fortunately the plate umpire showed up just after that.
Tomorrow: Two Dead Bodies
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