It's the interview you've been waiting for. It's like vintage Barbara Walters interviewing Fidel Castro in 1977. Bob Costas sitting down to interview Bob Knight. Or Tony Schiavone interviewing Ric Flair about Dusty Rhodes.
There are interviews you tune in for and then there's the Travel Ball Umpire who kicked OutKick founder Clay Travis out of an 11U game over Memorial Day Weekend for dropping an f-bomb in the stands over a controversial call.
Today on OutKick360 at 4:20 ET, the umpire gets his turn to UNLOAD on Clay. Watch on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube or listen on the radio dial across Tennessee.
Clay said last week that the interference call against his son was “the worst umpire call in Little League history.” While we're not privy to the line of questions the OutKick360 team will fire at the blue, it must be addressed whether in fact this is the "worst umpire call in Little League history."
Plus, it seems like we need to know if the umpire had a personal vendetta against Clay for his politics and whether there might've been a run-in between these two in the past. There seems to be more than what we're hearing and now it's time for the umpire's camp to fire off its talking points.
Clear your schedule. It all goes down at 4:20 ET on OutKick360.
Let's hear from other umpires & observers who are completely outraged over Clay's behavior and fired off emails to the OutKick umpire hotline:
• Frank T. writes:
I'm an umpire from Canada. I have umpired baseball and softball for years and years at all levels. I have umpired all levels of Little League from House League through to, and including, LL World Series. I was a LL umpire instructor at Williamsport. I also umpired u12 national championships (3 times) at Cooperstown Dreamspark. I did it for the love of the game. I was not paid for umpiring LL games.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Mr. Travis' account of the event.
1. Batter interference is a judgment call. Whether the batter was in the box or not is not the issue. The issue is did the batter do anything in any way that impeded the catcher's ability to make a play. In this case, the umpire felt, in his judgment, that the batter interfered. Judgment call. Batter out. Not appealable.
2. The outcome of the play at 3rd is of no import. Mr. Travis goes on about how the runner was safe, "not even close". Would the runner have been safe had the interference not occurred? I don't know. It's a judgment call. The umpire ruled batter interference and the batter is out regardless of what happened at 3rd base.
3. Jewelry is not allowed in LL (in Canada) unless it must be worn for religious reasons. I don't know if the player was wearing it for religious reasons or simply as jewelry. I also wear a cross on a chain but I take it off when I do my games.
4. The umpire had to go to the bathroom. So he's human. It csused a10 minute delay. Wow! Get over it Mr. Travis. Did the game start late because of the umpire? Mr. Travis mentions 1/2 hour of no play before the game started. So? Is that the fault of the umpire?
5. Throwing bats is dangerous. Mr. Travis does not indicate if the players on the other team had been warned about throwing bats earlier in the game. Perhaps these were repeat occurrences. Perhaps the umpire told the coaches in the pre-game plate conference and exchange of line-ups that throwing bats would not be tolerated. Perhaps it was a tournament rule. Again, I don't know and, it appears, neither does Mr. Travis. Regardless, throwing bats is dangerous whether the ball is fair or foul. I have been hit several times and have seen catchers hit many times by thrown bats. Fair or foul doesn't matter. A thrown bat is a thrown bat.
6. I will agree with Mr. Travis that the umpire should not insert himself into the game. It is slways best if the umpire is invisible. However, the umpire is there to call the game, enforce the rules and, yes, make judgments. If doing so "affects the outcome of the game", that is part of the game and simply reflects the fact that the umpire is doing his job. Sorry Mr. Travis but that is why the game has umpires.
7. Mr. Travis claims he "said" the f word. He claims "That's all I said". Did he just actually just say it or did he perhaps yell it out? Again, I don't know. I wasn't there. Regardless, the f word has no place in LL baseball. Shame on you Mr. Travis. If I heard someone yelling the f word at one of my LL games, I too would have reacted. And no, I don't have rabbit ears.
8. As noted, I wasn't paid for umpiring LL games. The fact that this umpire was paid is immaterial. Paid or not, he is there to call the game and that is what he did. BTW, just out of interest, the first time I was ever paid to do a game was when I was invited to umpire a Pony League game at Doubleday Park in Cooperstown. Being paid did not in any way influence how I called the game. Whether the umpire was paid or not is a moot point Mr Travis. What matters is how he called the game. Mr. Travis clearly doesn't think he called a good game and he is entitled to his opinion. I cannot, however, offer an opinion of how the umpire called the game based on Mr. Travis' description of events. His account is way too one-sided and is hardly objective.
9. Finally, there is the issue of ejecting Mr. Travis. Based on Mr. Travis' account of the events, it was probably warranted. However, I am not aware of any rule that allows an umpire to eject a spectator. Here I think the umpire erred. The umpire's authority is restricted to the playing field. He can only make a call regarding spectatoes if he believes there has been spectator interference on a play. Based on what I understand happened, in my view the umpire should have first warned Mr. Travis that his behaviour and comments were unacceptable. If Mr. Travis persisted, including arguing the judgment call or arguing the warning, the umpire should have stopped the game and referred it to the tournament officials to take action. I do not believe the umpire had the authority to eject a spectator.
That's my take on this event. I do hope the kids had fun. That's what it's all about at the end of the day.
I coach Freshmen baseball at our local high school. We were told by our Athletic Director that we would not have impeached at many of our games this season. I asked why, our AD said so many umpires have left the field and very few new umps are learning the trade. Biggest reason given, the behavior of the parents. Whether Clay was justified or not isn’t the point. The behavior of the parents is completely out of control.
I have had to ump myself four out of our 9 games because we had no umpire.
Clay embarrassed himself, his family, and most importantly his kid. And lastly the kids act out just like the parents.
Joe. I umpired 1 year in fast pitch softball. It was all I could take. I sat in the stands and watched some umpires blow call after call. So I decided to give it a try. Needless to say I finished the season and that was it. I took a course on making calls and positioning.
It wasn't bad and I decided to make a difference. I was booed and cussed at and all kinds on politics went on. Some that were not for the good of the kids. I was a Newby and the parents knew it. Luckily I only had a few problems. The little league jobs are thankless. The parents are the troublemakers. I was at a high school tournament and the unp made a bad call and of course us in the stands started making noises. When this happened the coach called time and proceeded to let us have it. She never questioned the call and we got eliminated.
In a way she was right but she should have protested that one call and another way she was wrong. I understand there are good and bad calls in every game and with 2 umps on the field calls can be missed. The important part is that it is just a game and some calls do and don't go your way.
I agree with Clay on politics and culture most of the time. But bragging about getting tossed from a LL game for cussing? That's the sort of no-class snowflake move I expect from our political ruling class, not one of their leading (and best) critics.
I've coached youth sports for 25 years while raising 5 kids - basketball, baseball, fast-pitch softball, soccer, flag football. Always had a family code of conduct you had to sign at start of season. And I hold you to it.
Life isn't fair, officials are human and make mistakes - just like teachers, bosses, family .... a blown call is a teaching opportunity to remind kids perseverance is a necessary component to success in life. If an official is truly making repeated mistakes, or failing to behave professionally, take it up with the league after the game.
Most umps do it not for the money Clay whines about - which barely covers their gas these days - but because they love the game. More and more, though, are finding that love outweighed by the abuse they get. As pointed out by others here, we have shortages of officials in all leagues these days, for the reasons mentioned.
Clay should man up, apologize to the ump (and his own kid), and actually umpire a game. Otherwise, he's acting the little snowflake who didn't get his way.
Reading through many of the comments on Clay's ejection, I just couldn't help but write my thoughts on youth baseball. I coached my son's team and we just finished our Little League regular season and playoffs. We had a great group of rec. kids and ended up winning the major's division championship. Our umpires were the same three guys all year and as such, we ended up getting to know these guys and they know us and our kids. So no strangers are involved in any disagreements on calls, which keeps things civil. While regular season games are important, they're definitely not win or go home so the pressure is different as we're building to the end-of-season tournament. Parents tend to understand this as well and aren't as on edge regarding the umpires and coaches.
For me, the reward of this season with my team couldn't be topped anywhere else in youth baseball. I got to see kids who started the season afraid to get in the box start to stand tall and conquer their fears by the end of the season. Kids whose parents can't/won't spend the time and/or money but have the talent to play travel ball perform so well that they bring a championship ring to the ones who can barely catch fly balls. We see parents cheering for both teams because they're kin or neighbors to kids on the other teams. Grandparents that grew up together talking and laughing like they were 12-year olds. I'm not bashing travel ball as we played it for two years before deciding it wasn't for our family. However, the pressure is different on the coaches, umpires, parents, and especially the kids. Anyways, just my opinion that a migration back to the rec leagues would not be a bad thing for the kids, parents, umpires, and the game itself. Somehow it was good enough to turn out MLB players prior to the last 15-20 years.
I just want to add this quote from MLB Hall of Fame umpire Nestor Chylak. "The way I see it, an umpire must be perfect on the first day of the season and then get better every day."