Congratulations on your fine article, for it emphasizes the fact that umpires
are only human, and even though they make mistakes they do what they think is
I read your magazine each week and I think quite a bit of it, but this article
makes me unhappy.
Take a look at
the caption above the picture on page 27. It says "BAD YEAR FOR THE
UMPIRES." This article doesn't help the arbiter a bit, either.
I fault Umpire
Stratton for the story, too. I am only 23, but I have been in this racket as a
semipro and professional for six years. Maybe I'm not qualified to be at odds
with a man who has been in the profession for many more years than I, but why
should I jeopardize what peace the umpire has by saying the official
intentionally blows plays. Maybe the players in the Pacific Coast League won't
jump on him, but players in semipro ball and the lower minors around the
country spend half their time looking for some excuse to land right square in
the middle of the umpire.
I disagree, too,
with the classification of ballplayers set forth by Mr. Stratton. He left out
the largest and most disagreeable group—the alibi men. The guy who takes a
pitch right down the gut and turns around and tells you that you are blind far
outnumbers the chronic beefer, the cold calculator or the fellow who is
actually mad. He's the kind who will latch on to an article like this and tear
into you the next time he doesn't pull the trigger on a gut ball or fails to
slide into a bag.
I disagree with
Umpire Stratton on a number of other items, too. The day that a man who
clobbers a home run stops running around the bases will be the day baseball
dies in this country. The triumphal jog around the bases is as much a part of
the game as the home run itself. The game is halted for only 15 seconds. If
this is too much time, then there isn't time to play the game, anyway.
If Mr. Stratton
is so disgruntled with the wages paid in pro ball why doesn't he go back to
television and forget the game of baseball exists? I hope that someday I will
hit the big time. When I do I feel sure that I will survive on a measly $15,000
a year, considering the league pays all my expenses.
Umpiring is an
honorable profession. It is a profession made up of 100% honest men. But if the
low standards and abuse continue unchecked, something will have to give. When
the umpires fail to measure up, then baseball as a game will fail to meet the
high standards of the past. Thus I say to you—protect your officials, don't