When The Umpire Is Wrong

I think his name was Bob Howell. I know he was a baseball umpire. It was a critical moment for me, trying to get out of bases loaded jam, bottom of the last inning, two out, count three and two, my team ahead by one run. Win and we head to Semi-professional Baseball World Series in Battle Creek, Michigan. Lose? Go home.

My catcher and I decided to lean on the curve ball, to nick the outside corner. Tension was pushing rampant from 20 fans. [We didn’t sell tickets and parents and girlfriends were cheering on.] The runners started as the curve twisted.

Truth? [Which is a rare product these days.] The curve ball didn’t come close, at least six inches outside [six inches was like a foot].

“STRIKE THREE!” Bob Howell bellowed. The batter, fortunately, dropped his bat. Game over. Battle Creek here we come.

Bob Howell saved my bacon in that call. The batter knew differently. The catcher knew differently. I knew differently.

No upheaval. No shattered locker room mirrors. Bob Howell made a bad call. I didn’t complain. Life goes on.

But. Does it?

The linked article—took place in one of my favorite cities, mile-high Lakewood, Colorado—shows how explosive baseball calls are.
More than that. How explosive life is when calls don’t go our way.

Bantering now about Joe Biden’s mention of segregationist Senators. Bantering over…well, you can expand.

Does it have to be this way? A 13-year-old umpire making a call that led to this—please watch and get ill. Well, no, watch and see how this very attitude impacts life today.

In a whimsical manner I thought in one of my novels, for my hero, Tricia Gleason to be pitching and the umpire calls a strike for her that wins the game. I think of having Tricia storm the umpire and tell him, “It was a ball! You made the wrong call!”

Of course that doesn’t happen.

But, listen. What happens today that doesn’t vacate integrity?

I’m waiting for your answer. Bet you. Bet you Godot will show up before you answer.

In a moment I’m headed for the funeral service of Jan Trimmer. Her husband, Ron, is a wonderful pastor. He now has to be pastor, grieving spouse, and father to their two adopted boys. That’s a huge load for his shoulders.

The right call? To simply tell Ron he’s not alone. That “call” does more than any strike or ball.

Now, the link…


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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