I now know how Roger Dorn felt after he handed his contract to Lou Brown in “Major League.”
My editor Josh Welge was far from crass and much more professional, though. He called and told me he wasn’t comfortable with the content and tone of my column last week. So it ended up on the editing room floor where it belonged.
I was frustrated and angry when I wrote it, and even though some time had passed, I was still far too over-the-top. I had an incident involving a parent after a game and then there was a story on social media about a basketball official who was assaulted so badly by a coach that he was hospitalized. I was livid.
I tried to write, but I struggled with it as badly as the Cubs bullpen has pitched. Editors don’t get credited for a save in editing like a closer in baseball, but Josh was as smooth and composed as Mariano Rivera. Sandman threw a great cutter; Josh is a sharp column cutter. But seriously, I appreciate having someone to clean up my mess.
So many problems in the world come down to communication. The ball diamond isn’t immune to such issues, especially when a disgruntled coach or player believes an umpire screwed up a call.
Now I’ve umpired long enough to be able to take a little criticism. Right or wrong, it’s part of being an umpire, and I know how much I’m willing to take before I have to do something about it.
But don’t bark at me. No one should be shouted at in anger. A coach or a player who is shouting at an umpire has lost control. Does it make you feel better when you yell at the part-time teenage cashier at McDonald’s: “HEY! I SAID TWO CHEESEBURGERS, NO PICKLES! THESE HAVE PICKLES!” while waving the cheeseburgers inches away from their face? Would [deep breath], “Hey, I ordered these without pickles, but there are pickles on them,” have gotten you an apology and two new greaseball burgers free of charge?”
All I’m saying is if the head coach has a question regarding a call, do it at the proper time without showing me or anyone else up. But I must ask, what is the purpose of arguing a caught stealing or a banger at first base, both judgment calls? They’re not going to be reversed, so what’s your objective here? That’s like arguing with the cardboard circle from the bottom of a frozen pizza you just devoured, “Hey! I want another slice of pizza. C’mon now, give it to me.”
And don’t give me the, “Well, the kids see the pros doing it and they want to be like the pros.” Are you showing your kids how to use Vaseline like Gaylord Perry so they can become a Hall of Fame hurler? Is it also OK to use an illegal bat since Sammy Sosa put cork in his?
Likewise, you won’t see me shouting, “I can do whatever I want!” like umpire Ron Kulpa recently did this season to the Houston Astros.
And there’s a darn good reason why I won’t. And it’s the same reason why high school coaches shouldn’t ever act like an enraged Bobby Cox, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella or Earl Weaver. They don’t want to lose their jobs.