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French championships are played between the top four teams (north and south divisions combined) in best of three-game series weekend quarterfinals, semi-finals and then finals. In early September the schedule was established for the playoffs :
A. Savigny-sur-Orge - Rouen
B. Saint-Lo - Paris U.C.
C. Montpellier - Savigny-le-Temple
D. Toulouse - Pessac
Winners of these quarterfinals will play on their home fields A - D, and B - C on the weekend of the 19th and 20th. The finals are planned at Pershing field in Paris, October 3rd and 4th. Gilbert called me on Monday the 7th to warn me that because of the events of the 5th of July, Michel, Xavier, Patrick (chief of umpires) and others had refused to umpire the quarter-finals at Saint-Lo because the player in question had not been suspended. There had been no ruling on the suspension because no report had been filed, the umpire had simply gone home. What made the situation particularly delicate was that the President of the Federation had come onto the field to criticize the umpires, throwing oil on the fire. The President is the former President of the Saint-Lo team.
The next day Gilbert asked me if I could go with Yann if no other local umpires could be found. On Wednesday he repeated his request, no other local umpires were available. I asked my wife if she would like to finally see what baseball is all about for a weekend in Saint-Lo. We left on Saturday morning at 8 am to drive the 250 miles to the coast in Normandy. It was cold and rainy weather all the way.
We found the field around noon. No players were present so we went into town to find a restaurant.
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