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[Baseball umpire 8]

The Hottest Day

The next weekend I was back in Montigny for a "B" Division game with Hervé, another parent from Gilbert's umpire class. The temperature is in the 90°'s with a chance of showers. We have both just received strict new rules from the National Commission of Baseball Umpires. All licenses are to be checked before a game, however no licenses have been sent out because the computer system at the Federation blew up and no backup was made. Ten thousand players, coaches and umpires have no licenses this year. So we are required to check national identity cards against the lineup sheets. This is a bit embarrassing for a former illegal immigrant like myself.

On scoresheets, umpires are to cross out substitutes who do not play. In the past the umpire was responsible for sending the scorecard to the Federation. From now on we give the card to the winning coach who forwards it by mail. This is a welcome development. Official balls must be provided by the home team and must be stamped by the Federation and must be either Rawlings R100's or Diamond Pro. Next year the Federation will furnish umpires with a box of balls that will be sold to teams for 100 FF per ball.

We were also warned in the same letter that umpires would be audited by the tax authorities concerning expenses declared for games. Decidedly French baseball is growing up. Olivet swept the first game against Montigy-le-Bretonneux 10 - 7 in two and a half hours. I took the plate, and in spite of the heat muddled through the seven innings with no controversy. Ground rules gave Montigny two runs in the seventh when a bouncing ball into the net in right field with bases loaded stayed in play and two runs scored.

The second game had me on base and lots of close calls on base runners. The score was also close. In the sixth Hervé called a ball on a batter hit by the pitch because he made no effort to avoid the pitch. It was a good call but required a bit of intestinal fortitude. Montigny was leading eight to two in the bottom of the seventh when the batter ticked a ball that hit him and then he was thrown out at first. Hervé called a foul ball. The Canadian coach sidelined me and asked, "was the batter in the box?"

I responded "Yes;"

"Congratulations, that is the right answer," he retorted.

"I don't always get those right," I responded.

Iran beat the United States that night in the World Cup of Soccer.



[Baseball umpire 10]

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