This is a few days old, but it’s still worth watching, because oh my god how do you make this call?
It comes to us from Alabama high school softball. There’s not much to say in way of setup, so let’s check it out:
the umpire called her out.. RT if you think she was safe pic.twitter.com/KoVXa4febo
— kayla jasper (@kaylajayyyy4) March 10, 2017
How? How is this possible? It’s like a commercial or something. The theatrical out signal is the best part, too. (Second best is that kid twerking against the fence at the beginning.)
What’s amazing is that the call stood! Here’s the North Jefferson News:
Harris stayed planted on first while Fultondale head softball coach Kristen McGrath argued her case with the umpire.
According to Wildcat senior Kayla Jasper, who posted the video to Twitter, the umpire eventually ordered Harris back to the dugout, saying “Get off the bag so we can play ball.” As of Friday night, Jasper’s post had over 3,000 retweets.
“We didn’t play our best, but it felt even better to win because of that umpire. He just wanted to go home,” said Jasper.
Hard to argue with that sentiment.
A bit of story time: when I was thirteen or fourteen, I made some extra money in the summer umpiring baseball and softball games with my friend. We weren’t old enough to be behind the plate, but we marketed ourselves to the local league as a two-man field crew for the price of one field ump, so we got a lot of games.
It was generally fun, as there were only so many things you could get wrong as a field ump for youth baseball and softball. The game moved slow enough that it wasn’t that hard, especially with balls and strikes not a factor for us at all. Plus we paid attention and actually cared, even researching proper rotation and positioning for umpires. (We had a lot of free time at fourteen.)
But the last game I ever did was an upper-level softball game. The girls were probably my age or a year or so older, I’m not sure what the league classification was. At one point, the home plate ump mentioned to us that he thought a few runners were leaving early to steal; the rule was the ball had to have left the pitcher’s hand before they could leave the base. He asked us to watch that.
So I did, from my position as the first base ump, and an inning or so later, one of the girls took off right as the windup began. So I called her out.
The entire dugout exploded in anger. The (male) coaches and the players called me just about everything you can imagine. I didn’t know any of the girls personally, but that didn’t really help things. (Maybe they were all a couple years older than me, in retrospect.) The fans got in on it too, following their lead. It lasted for the remainder of that inning and through the next inning break, at least.
At one point later in the game, the girl I’d called out was jogging to her position. I’d switched sides of the field with my friend (not out of fear, we just tended to switch it up so we both got a bit of first base time, since that’s where most of the calls were), so I was near second base, and she stopped on her way by and apologized for the behavior of her coaches and teammates, and said she knew she had left early.
So that was nice. I didn’t umpire again until I was in my twenties and my younger brother’s travel game needed an emergency replacement. And I swear, even though it had been years and I was an adult by then, all I could think about not blowing a call, because I remembered being fourteen and trying not to cry as strangers yelled at me for no reason whatsoever.
I never berated a non-professional umpire or referee after that.
Or at least I tried not to.