It is without a doubt the story of the week — OutKick founder Clay Travis f-bombing and being kicked out of a Little League game is a huge story. Clay had his say in a video posted Tuesday where he explained his side of the story. Since then, umpires across the country have reached out to share their opinions on how the situation was handled.
Here’s the first batch of umpires reacting to Clay’s ejection.
The email hotline — firstname.lastname@example.org — has since been opened up and this one shows no sign of slowing down. Clay, who is banned from appearing on ESPN and CNN, is now enemy No. 1 in the umpiring community.
Umpire Nate D. takes a shot at umpire Brent P. in Indiana
Hello Joe, my name is Nate D. As an international baseball, softball umpire with 25+ years of experience umpiring ages 8 through high school. I’m disappointed that Brent P actually attempted to judge this situation without seeing a video. “Shame on you Brent” without video you’re relying on an upset parent that reacted poorly to a series of “POSSIBLE” bad calls. In all of your years of umpiring you should have learned, “WE stick together and have each others back … UNLESS, we see or know that something is or was wrong, then “WE” correct it. With that being said, Umpires are HUMAN and may make mistakes.
Umpires 1 vs Brent 0
Parents should actually READ the rule book to ensure that they UNDERSTAND the RULES and how they are applied in various situations. Don’t rely on what they think or INCORRECT myths. (Like, tie goes to the runner … either OUT or SAFE 😁)
Umpires need to show up early, clean, pressed with shined footwear (1st game) and STAY professional in ALL situations. Getting the CALL right is FAR more important than being RIGHT. We have to be humble enough to man up when we make an error and do the RIGHT thing. Swallow your pride and make the correct call and move on.
“STRONG & WRONG” makes all of US look bad.
1. Throwing the bat is dangerous to catcher as well as umpires.
PENALTY – Player “WARNING” 1st time, ejection on next time.
NO OUT WILL BE ASSESSED
2. Batter interference is situational and a “JUDGEMENT CALL” if batter stays in batters box and does not impede catchers throw with movement (of any kind) the batter is protected. However if in the umpires judgement, he/she felt the batter impeded the catchers throw in some way, batters interference is the CORRECT call.
PLEASE REMEMBER THESE ARE JUDGEMENT CALLS. NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION OR DEBATE … LIKE BALLS & STRIKES 😉
Parents and coaches are passionate about their kids and players. Umpires “NEED” to understand this. Tempers flare and conversations can become heated. Until the situation becomes personal (meaning a comment demeans your ability to officiate properly), Umpire, let it go.
Coach or Spectator, Drop the F bomb … Go To Your Car … PERIOD. (Thankfully our LOCAL rule stipulates if you are EJECTED from our games you must leave “SPECTATOR AREA” or go to your car. Cannot stand along ANY fence line of field where game is being played.
Game will not CONTINUE until person leaves “SPECTATOR AREA”. If individual does not leave the Spectator Area within 5-10 mins game will be called.
Our Little League board does not want a negative attitude to spread to those that are conducting themselves properly.
Lastly for all the CLAYS out there and Clay sympathizers maybe you should try umpiring a season or two before you make a “JUDGEMENT CALL” regarding an umpires abilities.
STEP UP OR SHUT UP … PLS 😉
Umpires are already leaving ALL sports in droves due to coaches, players and PARENTS poor behavior, if you continue to belittle OUR efforts it will only deplete our dwindling resources.
Deaf umpire’s response to Clay’s Ejection
I’m Kyle, an umpire from New Jersey – Below is my response to the Clay little league ejection story:
Long time outkick reader here – I’m 30, small business owner from NJ (tons of customer service experience), as well I umpired a county tournament semifinal for varsity softball in New Jersey. I’ve been umpiring for 12 years since I was 18 at the youth, middle school, and high school level in addition to college showcase tournaments for 18-year-olds.
I’ve also been deaf since birth (I wear hearing aides so I can hear close to normal), which lends a unique aspect to the “rabbit ears” dilemma.
The batter’s interference call…yes it should be made at the high school level. At the 10-12-year-old level that should be a noncall and completely ignored.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that umpire who ejected Clay was one of two characteristics: a teenager, or a 35-50 something who officiates to make ends meet by stacking up 3-4 games on a Saturday.
I bet you they had zero to little professionalism, which is a hallmark of umpiring – and showed a lack of hustle/physical movement.
In high school, yes jewelry is required to be removed or taped to the body. At youth level…who cares? Let them wear it or not wear it. Keep it moving.
My biggest issue with this story is the quick trigger for ejection by that umpire. He should’ve verbally warned Clay first – The last thing I would want is a kid to remember forever that his dad was ejected at his little league baseball game when he was 11.
Any umpire who has “rabbit ears,” is listening too much. Focus should be on the gameplay, not what spectators are verbalizing.
I had 4 ejections in 12 years of umpiring – 3 of them coaches, and one spectator. There must’ve been more than 10 games where either a coach or spectator yelled an expletive at me and I completely ignored them.
Having someone say “you’ve gotta be f–king kidding me” very generally and not really in any direction is expected at a sporting contest – there will be ridiculous plays and decisions.
However, if the phrase is verbalized directly at the umpire and they can read your lips as you say it, that would warrant a response. Still, not an ejection. A verbalized warning.
I would’ve just pointed at the person who said it, and yelled “THAT’S A WARNING!” at the top of my lungs so everyone at the field could hear me and look in that direction. Not a straight-up ejection. It always took multiple instances of a verbalization in my direction for me to warrant an ejection. If a spectator or coach verbalized negativity towards me multiple times, I would eject them, which I did.
Addendum on the ump’s mid-game bathroom break:
That’s definitely crazy and unheard of for the umpire to straight up leave for 15 minutes. Normally there are two umpires assigned to a game – and one umpire would stay and continue the gameplay. However, often there will only be one umpire working a game. If you’re working alone, and don’t have an umpiring partner, then taking a bathroom break in the middle of the game is a last resort. I held my bladder often and then ran off as soon as the game ended. I did see this once – I was working with a teenager at a youth contest when he suddenly ran off the field, and returned 5 minutes later. He later told me it was a bathroom break. With that being said, this guy working alone either didn’t give a damn, or really really had to take a dump.
F-bomb equals ‘immediate ejection’
Dave P. writes:
I will repeat my reply from Clay’s YouTube video…
I’m a big fan, Clay! Love all your stuff. Keep up the good work.
In these cases, you may be correct, but as a former college player, current HS pitching coach, and umpire of 15 years, I will say that the umpire may have been correct on all points you make.
On the throw to 3rd, it’s a subjective call. If the batter made a move that intentionally impeded the catcher in the batter’s box, or stepped out, it’s an easy call.
On the thrown bats, that’s a big issue at the LL age level. Myself and catchers have been clipped and injured by thrown bats numerous times over the years. I will say, it’s fairly universal that a team warning is issued after a thrown bat. After that, anyone on that team can be called out on a thrown bat. Again, a subjective call for safety.
As per your statement, I have always believed my job is to fade into the background of the game, and am always hopeful that players, coaches, and fans will allow this. I train umpires, and tell them to not have rabbit ears. In your case, had you not dropped the f-bomb, I would have just given you a look. The f-bomb around the kids is an immediate ejection.
As a pitcher from Point Park University back in the day, to current Varsity pitching coach at Freedom Area High School, and Ripken Certified umpire, I have a few credentials that allow me perspective from all sides of this issue, but I don’t really see any perspective that supports Clay’s behavior nor much of his rationale. Nonetheless, he, like all of us, makes mistakes. Doing over 150 games yearly of all ages after HS season, I’ve kicked my fair share of calls. Still, one of the many lessons baseball teaches is respect. Additionally, most organizations require code of conduct agreements to be signed by ALL.
I hope my perspective and experience helps, if at least just a little.
Travel ball dads respond
• Chris B. in Texas writes:
Brent P. had it right from the get-go. Clay dropping F bombs at an kids’ baseball game… get him outta there. Clay 0 Ump 1. That’s it. Stop right there. It absolutely positively doesn’t matter how Clay describes the play, from his perspective behind the chain link.
The guy calling 11u baseball games in suburban Nashville ain’t gonna be perfect, and if Clay wants to make those judgement calls he needs to get his ass behind the plate and ump the games. I share Clay’s opinions on alot of things, but he is dead wrong here and he is a perfect example of why youth sports has a huge problem of not having enough officials.
They don’t get paid enough to deal with rich pricks who can’t take it when their kid gets called out. To borrow from good ol’ Fat Albert… Clay was like school on a Saturday… No Class.
• Britt T. in Tennessee writes:
For what it’s worth, my son played HIGH LEVEL travel baseball from the time he was 7 until he got to High School, and we had some good umpires and some very, very bad ones who were just there for the money – it was always easy tell the difference (the first dead giveaway is when the bad ones get all into a coach’s ass for what I would call light chirping). I umpired in college in a couple of different leagues (Little League), each with their own challenges. One league was in my hometown (Lebanon, TN), so I knew all of the coaches and a ton of the parents who would regularly get on me. Easy to ignore the chirping. The other was in Tuscaloosa, and no one in this league knew me, and the parents were UNMERCIFAL. Still, I paid no attention, figured that was for league officials to deal with (and they did, ejecting parents on occasion for losing their minds). I did eject a few coaches, but only after giving them every opportunity to calm down and get back to the dugout.
I coached Middle School Travel hoops for several years where I live now (the famed Loudoun County, VA), and I can tell you that travel hoops officials are even worse (I think they get bonuses for every moving screen they call……to which I used to yell “That’s okay, Justin, they only call that on rookies in the NBA”). So that I would not get myself kicked out of the game (I have a few technical fouls on my record), I instructed our parents to ride the officials hard when they were doing a shitty job. No parent was ever ejected. “I need you to get in his ass hard in the second half.”
For Clay’s situation, his son did what he should’ve done, stay in the box. My son’s coaches instructed the entire team to make sure to do that when there was a runner on 2nd or a runner on 3rd. My guess is that this dude (the umpire) wanted to get the game over as quickly as possible based on the shitty calls that Clay described. I’d further guess that Clay was the only parent who would’ve been ejected for what he said (decent umpires go to the coach and tell them to calm his parents down or someone is getting thrown out).
Are you an umpire? Or a travel ball dad? Share your emotions on this story. We’re completely fair and balanced on this story. You won’t find another site as fair and balanced as OutKick when it comes to Clay’s Little League ejection.
Let the emotions pour out.