Umpires, and Jim Joyce

I know this one is a little late, but I want some cents on Jim Joyce. People don’t realize exactly what goes into being an umpire. These guys work their way up through the minor leagues, just like the players do – only not as quickly. The life they lead isn’t glamorous. There are no home games – every game is a road game, and their home for the summer is a car or truck with all of their possessions in it.

You would think that someone with this kind of life would have difficulty enjoying some of the fruits of summer the players do, but that’s not the case. In many of the small towns which host minor league baseball, there’s not much to do after 10pm. Meaning, if you want a beer you have about one choice – Applebee’s, and maybe another place. And usually, this is where the players are.

In the time I worked in baseball, we’d see a lot of umpires come through. You had the cleat-chasers – the girls who would wind up with ballplayers – and, believe it or not, there were girls who liked umpires. We were never sure what to call them. Clicker-chasers? Chest-protector-chasers? Regardless, they were out there.

So, I guess, my point is this: take it easy on Jim Joyce. Dude has paid his dues to get to where he is. Yeah, he screwed up a call. Do any of us get through a workday without messing something up? Does Tiger Woods miss short putts? Did Scott Hoch brick one to win the Masters? Derrick Rose miss free throws that would have won a title for Memphis? Scott Norwood miss a field goal? Yeah, big deal. It happens.

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