RRRR: Men in blue

When was the last time you argued with an umpire about marking down runs that outright belonged in the scorebook? When was the last time you had an umpire ask you, the player, for a rulebook?

In both of my (unrelated) softball leagues this spring, I've found myself engaged in some painfully hilarious altercations with umpires. The most recent was Friday night, in the premiere game of my champions league. I noticed right off the bat that the man in blue was a bit green. First day on the job, he confirmed when I asked.

My BAMF team scored nine runs in the first - the league maximum for one inning - and then again were forced back to defense when we brought in the ninth run in the second inning. Only it wasn't just the ninth run. The final hit was a three-run homer, which brought our total score to twenty over two.

I didn't realize until I heard someone call out the score in the third (18-5), that the umpire wasn't counting the two men aboard - because they ran off the field when the inning was called, rather than run the bases and touch home plate. So he counted the person who swung the bat (who also didn't run the bases/touch the plate), but not the two people on board.

When I asked him to mark down the additional two runs, he gave me a bunch of crap about it.
"Oh, so you want to be sure the score is 20-5, rather than 18-5?"

I was utterly confused by his reluctance and attitude. YES, BRO, I do indeed want all the runs that we've scored to be on the scoreboard. There was a lot of game left and we are only allowed three home runs per game, so to have runners on during them, is kind of a big deal. He acted like I was some sort of selfish run-hungry a-hole to even be questioning the matter. He acted like I was really putting him out to make him walk over to his clipboard and write down those two runs. He was not short on eyerolls.

Well, wouldn't you know, our offense fell quiet and theirs ignited steadily over the rest of the game, chipping away at our lead throughout. We had to call the game after six innings because it was 11 PM and the lights were going to shut off soon. The final incomplete game score was 25-20. So no, the two runs didn't technically matter to the outcome (which the ump was sure to note to me afterward). But there is a pretty good chance they would have, if we had the chance to finish the game. Seems like I shouldn't have to explain this sort of thing to a person employed to regulate on-field events.

Curious to hear about some of your favorite personal encounters with umpires. Doesn't have to be of the list-making variety like this one was for me.

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