I had no choice. As I walked slowly past the Angels' dugout I shouted to Harper, "Foul ball, you're still up," and kept walking. I was sort of hoping I could sneak this one by Williams. In fact, he was waiting for me at third. He had already started the argument by the time I got there. "First you call it fair then you call it foul and you don't know what you're doing and you're making a mockery of the game the way you jump up and down and you know you're going to have to run me 'cause I can't stand to stay here and see you doing things like that and...."
I really couldn't argue with him. He had a legitimate gripe. I pushed my face up close to him and screamed, "You know I'm gonna have to run you, right? So you wanna go now?"
"No, I don't wanna go now, and when I do go I want you to throw me out of the game the same way you called that a fair ball. I want you to leap into the air and make funny circles with your hands and I want to hear you shouting...."
"No, not now, I'll tell you when. Then I want you to start spinning around like a damn top and I want it all in one motion and I want you to yell so loud that the people back in California can hear what a rotten umpire you are...."
Eventually he shouted himself out. "Now?" I asked.
"Now," he agreed.
I bent my knees slightly, then leaped as high as I could straight into the air and at the top of my jump thrust out my right arm and shouted at him as loud as possible. I hit the ground twirling and jumped again and screamed louder than before.
Williams jammed his hands into his back pockets and nodded approvingly. "That's all right," he said, and left the field.
My trademark on the playing field, the thing that attracted the most attention to me, was my habit of "shooting out" players. In school, umpires are taught the basics of the job—how to get into the correct position, how to make calls and how to run a ball game—but with experience each man develops his own style. One will give it the short arm extended and a crisp call; another will drawl it out. Me? I just pulled out my trusty index finger and let them have it.