Saturday, April 14, 2007

My baseball life (the short version)

I didn't play little league baseball.
For that matter, I didn't play any organized baseball.

But from the age of 12 I was absolutely obsessed with the game itself. I listened to every Astros game on the radio. I kept score on sheets of paper and saved them and compared my compiled statistics with the stats printed in the Sunday paper. I did this through my high school years. I attended as many games as possible; with my Dad, with friends or by myself.

When I went off to college and didn't make the track team, I tried out for the baseball team. Of course, I didn't have the skills to compete. I then learned that the local umpire chapter needed recruits, so I joined up. Most umps begin their careers doing little league games. My first game -- a junior college game. I didn't have a friggin' clue what I was doing, but I must have performed OK. That was in 1974. I was soon accredited by the State of Texas to umpire high school games and thus began many years of umpiring.

After graduating from college, I wanted to turn professional. I begged my grandmother for the money and off I went to Florida. The Al Somers Umpire School (later became The Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School). Spring training. The instructors were major league and minor league umpires; the best in the business. Very competitive. There were 4 job openings that year (1977) in professional umpiring (minor leagues) and about 200 men going for those positions. There was one female - Pam Postema, the first woman to ever attempt a professional baseball career. After the 6-week course, I finished about in the middle of the class and was sent home.

I umped a number of more years before retiring in 1998 with a bad back. Of course, I did not umpire during my years overseas.
This writing was inspired by Yosickmomma --- I could tell you more but I don't like to make my posts longer than this.
Enjoy your weekend and don't strike out.


Spencer said...

What a sweet little story. I always admire people who take up 'referee' type jobs. It seems to be a job where you rarely get credit and if you get it wrong, you feel the wrath of anger ... our 'soccer' referee's get the most amount of abuse known to man ...

I enjoyed your story Daave.

Mary Christine said...

You have had the most interesting life - so far. Thanks for sharing it with us.

lushgurl said...

Awww, I'm lovin' ya even more todAAy dAAve! Thanks for sharing yet another part of you...
BTW you hit a homer with this gurl!
love and HUGS

Shannon said...

I would love to hear about more!
I agree with MC
Happy Saturday

Noor Azman Othman GBE said...

Love the story, Ump dAAve. Hope to read your oversea stories soon.

Wish you a happy weekend.

Meg Moran said...

wow, very kewl. More please.

recoveryroad said...

Long from is you is most acceptable, dAAve. Posts, obviously. :)

I had no idea your love of baseball was quite so profound. Of all the US sports, baseball is my fave (although I played basketball to a high level over here).

I don't get the franchise system in US pro sports - that's just wrong.

Syd said...

dAAve, it's great to hear about your passion for baseball and that you took that love of the game to another level. I played some local ball when I was a kid and later some basketball but baseball was always my favorite. Thanks for writing about it.