Umpire Relations

Strike a Pose … But Not For Too Long

The above moment is from the Little League World Series over the weekend, but it hardly tells the entire story.

The catcher, from the Seoul, South Korea, team, futilely attempts to frame a pitch, and when the umpire doesn’t bite, holds his pose as a matter of protest. It’s what comes next that makes it special. Check it out over at Deadspin. There’s a lot to love.

There’s the umpire, coolly roaming around to dust off the plate, the better to squat down to the catcher’s level and make sure the message that’s about to be delivered is heard.

And there’s the message itself, which, without even knowing what’s being said, is obviously received. (Kudos to the umpire for employing subtle tactics, which, to judge by the catcher’s response, were utterly effective.)

It’s an easy example of baseball dynamics, because Respect one’s elders is an even older-school maxim than Let’s play two. A kid catcher expressing public discontent to an adult umpire is as black and white as a child talking back to the teacher in class.

But those respective roles aren’t so different from their big league counterparts, with professional umpires—the authority figures of a baseball game—demanding commensurate respect (though not always employing such effective tactics in order to get it).

The lesson for today: Nobody likes to be shown up. Sometimes it takes a kid to illustrate the essential truth of a situation.

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