Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adventure in umping

I just read a post on the Fan's blog that mentioned a time when he umped a game (also it had some politics mixed in the post, but I have learned to stay away from that topic amongst friends and family). It's a good post and a great blog so make sure to check it out.

Anyway's, his mention of umping reminds me of an embarrassing anecdote. Now I know what you're saying right now.
"There's no way that anything embarrassing happens to the Kid!"
While it may be hard to believe, there is one or two times it has happened, one of which is described below. Other than that, you're right. I am awesome.

Onto the tale.. One summer I tried to make some extra money by umping pony league games. I think it was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. My first game was between my home town team and a team from a few towns over. The problem was that a lot of the guys on the home town pony league team were on the high school team I played on.

As the new ump on the crew, I was assigned to be second base ump. It was a little weird being the ump on the field instead of playing, but I was confident I could do the job because I loved the sport and knew the rules. For a little while I was right.

Everything was going great through the first two innings. I had made a few calls in the field that were correct, and my confidence was building. Then came the next inning.

It was the top of the third and my home town team was in the field. The opposing team had runners at first and second. The next batter ripped a single to center, and what did I do? Did I do my duty and ump? Oh no, that would have been smart.

So picture this, the runners are advancing, I'm out there in full ump gear. The next thing I know I am yelling at the top of my lungs:

"Watch home, watch home!"

You see, having so many of my high school teammates out there overrode my stupidity alarm, and for that split second I thought it was spring and I was playing with them.

I watched the center fielder make a beautiful throw to the plate and gunned the lead runner out, saving a run. Then realization of what happened set in... I looked over at the opposing dugout, and if he was a cartoon the manager would have simultaneously had his jaw on the floor and steam coming out his ears. The crew chief was looking at me with utter disbelief and I had nowhere to hide from either one of them.

A very long conversation with the crew chief, both managers, and me later, I was allowed to finish the game. For some reason that was the last game that summer I was called to ump.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I just read a very well written blog by The Fan about the lack of respect for others feelings in this world. It's a wonderful piece, and it caused me to say this: Telemarketers are people too. I know, I know they call at inconvenient times and don't take no for an answer right away. However, does that give people the right to verbally abuse them?

For full disclosure, I do work in IT for a call center, so I may be a bit biased, but it also means that I see what happens on the other side of the phone. Those inconveniently timed phone calls are not there fault, there is a piece of equipment called a "dialer" that automatically dials numbers all day long and the next available agent gets the call. The not taking no for an answer the first time? They have too, it is part of their job requirement. If they didn't do it, they might get in trouble.

These are real people, trying to make a living in these hard economic times. In the area where I live, jobs are scarce, yet this center employs over 200 people, and pays at least $2 more an hour than minimum wage. A lot of our employees are mothers trying to get off assistance, college kids working there way through, high schoolers having their first job to earn some money for college and to put gas in their car or money for their first date with their first crush. In other words, real people with real feelings.

With all that said, why are people so keen and eager to be rude to this particular industry? I know there are rude telemarketers out there, but should the harmful few tarnish a whole group? I have seen people reduced to tears because of the abuse they take from someone they were unfortunate to get. One that sticks in my mind was this little sixteen-year old girl who got a job because she was trying to get enough money to go on a trip overseas for school because her parents couldn't afford it. She was a really sweet, and nice young lady who was always polite. Then one particular person she got on the phone decided they would act big and call her every name in the book, tell her she didn't have a real job, and that she would never amount to anything. Just what a young girl needs to hear. She just broke down crying right on the phone, and the person just started laughing! The awesome part was how those people working around her calmed her down, got her to forget about it, and she still works there.

Look, I'm not saying you have to listen to their whole spiel, or buy whatever they are selling. But can't we just be polite about it? If you really don't want to talk at all, just politely ask to be put on their "Do Not Call" list, they will then have to read you a short DNC notice, and that's that.

Just remember the next time you want to take your frustration out on a telemarketer, that sixteen year old girl I mentioned could have been your child, or sister. Would you want them verbally abused by a stranger?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A-Rod's Spring Training Debut: Sign of Things to Come?

First of all I just want to give a big shout-out to "The Flagrant Fan", for mentioning me on his blog and also for being the reason I love the game of baseball. Now on to your irregularly scheduled program...

"A-Rod hits homer in spring training debut". Those are the words used earlier in's story about his spring training debut. Hours later this is how the headline for basically the same story read: "A-Rod hits homer in debut, leaves in cousin's SUV". To me that seems to be an omen of things to come. No matter how he performs this year, the scandal will worm it's way in.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out this season. Yes, he did hit a two-run shot in this game, and he dealt with the boos, and the cat-calling; but let's be honest. No matter how packed a spring-training game can get, it doesn't remotely compare to the crowd at a regular season game (unless you were playing in tampa bay before last year). He will deal with tens of thousands of fans in rival cities then, all playing off this scandal to try to get under his skin. Will he be able to handle it? He is, after all, a person that seems to always strive to be the best, the most loved, and it bothers him when he is not.

As a fan of the game I hope that he does well. Even if it was a PR move to actually fess up, at least he did, which is a lot more than others have done.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Beginning of a New least for me.....

This is the first time I have ever attempted a blog, so please be gentle to the newbie. In fact, if you could just pretend that I'm A-Rod, and you're a New York sportswriter trying to protect my fragile psyche, before making comments, that would be great.

Ah who am I kidding? I am writing this mainly for me, to try to get back into writing occasionally, but also to see if my words can actually make an impact on somebody. So in other words, my grammar isn't going to be perfect, my punctuation won't be either, but so be it. Please feel free to praise or criticize (even if it's like Duquette/Clemens style criticizm......course without PED's, Duquette may have been right) this ragtag blog.

I'm going to try to keep this primarily a baseball blog, but sometimes I just might want to wander off into other subjects, hence the name. I can't guarantee that it will always be entertaining, or even intelligent. I also can't guarantee how often I will post. But I can guarantee matter if the blog is short, long, boring, entertaining, or even literate....everything written will be my own words, with no b.s.