Thursday, June 29, 2006

Two More Down, Four To Go

Well, the week is almost over, and I've gotten two games in, with two doubble headers this weekend ahead of me. My first game back was an eventful one. I had to eject the home manager in about the 6th inning of the game for language, and arguing a balk I called. He decided to accuse me of "always screwing him on balks", said "you're bad", and "you're bull shit". I guess he just really wanted to go.

This particular coach is only an assistant with the school's varsity team, and had a run in with me last summer, that it feels to me like he is still angry about. I can be proud that through his entire tirade of accusing me of screwing him all the time, I remained calm, and never raised my voice. He kept using what we call the "you" and "You're" words, which made it easy for me to go get him.

Last night's game was much easier. Nothing worth mentioning, really. So, now it's a few days off, and back to work early Saturday morning. Then, another doubble Sunday afternoon.

I picked up a few Little League district games next week up in Salem, so I'll kick off my Little League post season finally.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Back From California

Well, Friday the 16th I left for California on my road trip to instruct at the Jr. Umpire School in San Bernardino. My dad rode along with me to Berkeley, CA, where we have family, then flew home from there, while I continued down to Southern California. We left Albany at 9:15 or so Friday night, and drove through the night, arriving at 6:30 the next morning.

The drive itself was tedious and long, but I was excited for my chance to instruct. I arrived at the Western Region Headquarters at about noon the next day, and began to get settled in, and meet the rest of the instructional staff as they arrived. Once everyone was there, we had a quick instructors meeting to get the week started, then went to help get the students checked in, etc. After that we began class, and broke up later that evening to get the kids some free time, and have our final instructors meeting of the night.

This is about where things went south as far as the kids' behavior for the week. We were in the middle of our instructors meeting when Dana came in from doing the "lock down" check to make sure they were in their dorms for the night. He informed us that they had gotten into a "Sprite Fight", and the dorm floors, and some of the walls were covered with Sprite. That would be the beginning of the week.

Now, granted, not nearly all of the kids were having trouble behaving. It was less than 10 out of 46 or so students that caused trouble the whole week. However, when they screwed up, boy did they screw up. I won't go into all the details, but needless to say, it felt like every time we took a breath, we were dealing with another incident. Now, don't get me wrong. I had a ton of fun, and enjoyed my time instructing. I would do it again in a heartbeat if invited. It was just the added stress of dealing with behavioral issues that made it hard.

The trip home was less lonely, as I had Bryan with me. At least I had someone to talk to. Again, we stopped in Berkeley to sleep, and visit family. Unfortunately, though, I didn't get to spend much time at all with my aunt. Her partner, Terri, had a sudden death in the family. They had to fly back east for the services, and I only got to see Terri, and one of my cousins before I left for Oregon. My aunt, and other cousin took a later flight in exchange for compensation and cash, probably because their flight was over booked.

The rest of the drive home was un-eventful. Bryan had never been across the Golden Gate Bridge, so we drove across that real fast Saturday morning, then visited with Terri and my cousin Jacob before leaving town for home. We got home a little after 11 PM Sunday night.

Now, it's back to umpiring! I have a game tonight, and tomarrow night. As well as Saturday and Sunday, both doubble headers. I continue to get more and more excited by the day as my regional approaches.

All in all, I had a lot of fun down at the school. I met some real cool guys while instructing with them. I do hope to keep in touch with some if not all of them. Hopefully I will be invited back down again next summer. I would enjoy that chance again.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer Ball Has Started

Well, with the spring season finsihed, and summer beginning, summer baseball has begun. I umpired two high school summer games this week, both behind the plate. They went pretty well. I'm trying to use a bigger strike zone, and it's working. Tuesday I was at South Albany, and no one really complained. Last night was another story. You'd think I was calling strikes in the dirt, and after they hit the backstop. Of course that wasn't the case. I'll agree that it wasn't a "spring" strike zone, but it wasn't that God aweful, either. I'm feeling very good now about my game, though. I think I'm where I want to be in terms of my tracking, and hustle. I knew with some hard work, I would work out the kinks I was having early this spring, and I have.

I leave tomarrow night, Friday the 16th, for San Bernardino to instruct at the Junior Umpire School. I'm getting pretty excited about this. My dad decided he wanted to ride down with me to Berkeley, where I was planning on stopping to visit family, and then fly home. So, he will be with me roughly 1/4 of the journey. It will, of course, be a very long drive, but I don't mind. I like driving. I'm a little over a month away from my tournament now, and the excitement is finally setting in.

I got an e-mail confirmation from Doug, the Chief Umpire for the tournament, confirming my hotel reservations, and asking for a short bio from me. Debbie, our district administrator and tournament coordinator, also let me know I'm getting pins from the district to trade with other umpires and players. They have a bussy week planned for us, and it will be pretty exciting.

I'll post another update after I get back from California detailing how my week went down there. Thanks for reading!