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Tales from Behind the Plate -- knocked down like Trevor Berbick

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So there I was...


...I had the plate in a travel ball championship game.  My son, who also plays at the high school level, was umpiring on the bases.  It was a fairly close game and we hadn't created any drama with our calls; everything had been pretty cut-and-dry.


On a 2-0 count, the pitch came in directly over the middle of the zone.  The batter swung -- for those who have never umpired, it's actually pretty cool if you are tracking the pitch correctly, you can see the bat hit the ball and know exactly where it's going before it leaves the bat.  In this case, I knew it was going to tag me.  Umpires CANNOT flinch.  We must maintain our set so our view of the strike zone doesn't change, even knowing it's going to slam into us. 


In the few thousandths of a second before it hit, I knew it was going to hurt, but I didn't expect this.  Earlier this season, I upgraded my mask to a hockey-style helmet.  This is the latest trend in umpiring because it protects the entire head from loose bats, etc.  I've had quite a few concussions due to boxing as a youth and combat, so I figure the more protection for my head, the better.  Anyway, the ball didn't have the courtesy to bounce off my new $300 helmet.  Instead, it hit the very top edge of my chest protector, between the helmet and chest protector, and bounced straight up underneath the helmet into my chin.  It was like taking an uppercut from Mike Tyson. 


Man, that hurt.  I called the foul, which kills the play, took my helmet off, and stood breathing heavily to regain my wits.  After a few seconds, however, I got too dizzy to stand.  I went to a knee to prevent myself from falling over.  The entire crowd, players, and coaches were absolutely silent, wondering whether or not I was ok.  I remained there for a few minutes, enduring a lot of pain and feeling dizzy.  When I figured I was ok, I stood up to get the game going again and immediately regretted it.


I didn't even make it to a full standing position.  My legs turned into rubber and I went down onto my back,  just like Trevor Berbick did when Mike Tyson knocked him out to win his first professional title.  Go look it up on YouTube; this was a classic moment in boxing.  It wasn't so classic for me.  I heard the entire crowd go "ooooh" as the two coaches and someone else rushed over to me.  The third person told me she was a doctor, and she called paramedics.


I stayed on the ground for probably 30-40 minutes while they did their thing.  I declined to go to the hospital after their evaluation, and finished the game.  Crappiest $50 ever. 

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You probably should have gone and been checked out at the ER. I too have had my bell rung a number of times with numerous concussions. If anything seems out of the ordinary in the next few days don’t hesitate to get to the hospital and get checked out…please. :)

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Posted (edited)

Glad that you're okay but if you were on the ground for 30 or 40 minutes, you should have gone to the ER to be checked out.


Edit, what Pat said!

Edited by Cypress Sun
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2 hours ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

Is there any way you can Umpire and still learn to DUCK honorably?


Glad you didn't brake your jaw, etc.....




No.  It's absolutely verboten to dodge or duck a foul ball.  You must maintain the set to keep the view of the strike zone.  That said, this one was so fast there would be no dodging it anyway.

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Summer before senior year in high school I was dating a girl who played softball in a league of 17-22 year old women (approximately). They had an umpire not show up and I was drafted for behind the plate duties.


Bad move. Very bad move.


I never heard such cursing and complaining. Dating a player on one team turned my act of chivalry into an act of treason for the other team.


New threats every inning. I declined waiting after the game for my ump $$. First and last time.


I would have almost welcomed a hit in the chin to get out of there sooner.


Cyrus is right about turning or ducking a foul ball. Besides viewing the play, all of your protection is in the front of your mask.

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HS base ball, coach is calling balls and strikes during batting practice.  He’s wearing and old fashioned two bar catcher’s mask.  I hit a foul tip and stick the ball between the two bars.  He sure was proud of that old mask!  :)

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