Tag Archives: neonleon


1 Feb

Israel Baseball is growing like Sea Monkeys.  But with more players, teams, and games, you need more umps.  So, 3 weeks ago, we began the official Israel Association of Baseball Umpires Course.  Every Monday night, at Baptist Village, 6 of us gather, the SOON TO BE ANOINTED NEW UMPS OF THE IAB.  The course is lead by none other than, that’s right, faithful reader, you guessed it, Neon Leon Klarfeld aka The Overseer and Protector of All Jewish Safety, Wellbeing, and Barbecues aka Jewish Santa Clause aka Jewish Wizard of Oz, and also, Chief Umpire in Israel.

Neon Leon teaching us in the classroom.

Neon Leon teaches us in the classroom.

Umpires are historically in a category of humanity– nay, sub-humanity, all to themselves.  Who is willing to put up with it all? – The long games? – The abuse?  At best, an ump is invisible.  At worst he is a demon, an idiot, blind, drunk, stoned, taking bribes, favoring the home team, a clown, “horse shit”.  There is no glory.

Anyone available to officiate a youth baseball game on a Friday afternoon holds a certain station in life – broke, unshaven, recently divorced, balancing clumsily on one leg, changing into uniform in the parking lot, hiding behind the open trunk of a ’74 Impala in lose, dirty tighty-whiteys.  Limping slowly to the field, 5 minutes late, feeling around in their pockets for game balls.  What saint can handle all this?  And know the rules?

The love.  The tenderness.  The tears of the ump.

No one knows.

As a player, I have been taught systemic hatred of umps.  They only mess the game up.  Get rid of them.  Replace them with computers, anything is better than this weirdo.  But no– now I am, or will be, one of the weirdos too.  Things have changed.

You still think it’s funny, easy?  I invite you, Dearest Idiot, to see if you have what it takes to know the most, and receive the least, study the rules, and still be called a moron, to eat the shite of the world, and stand strong, stoic, arms crossed, confused, scared, facing scruffy coaches and players, in short, to be an ump.  I present to you, Ladies and Geetles, one question from one homework assignments.  Keep in mind, these scenarios are endless.  Good luck…

  1.  With a runner on first, batter hits a line drive up the middle which deflects off the pitcher’s glove, hits the field umpire and is subsequently caught by the second baseman.  R1 thinking it a catch tries to make it back to first base.  The second baseman, thinking it a catch, throws to first for the “double play”  and the ball arrives at first before either the batter or R1 get to the base.  The first baseman tags the base.  Place the runners.

Whats that? – You have no idea? – Your head hurts?  Yeah, that’s what I thought, you DO NOT have what it takes.  So allow me, King of Jewish Baseball, certified ump, to explain.

The hitter is out at 1st base.  The runner going back to 1st base is safe and remains at 1st base.  The ball hitting the ump was the equivalent to the ball hitting the ground, so it is not a catch.  The force is off once the out on the batter/baserunner is recorded at first, and the runner from 1st, R1, as he is known, is allowed to return to the base.  If the ball had just hit the pitcher, and then the 2nd baseman caught it, it would be a double play, batter-baserunner would have been out on the catch, and R1 would be out with ball arriving to 1st base before him.  But no! Because it hit the ump, no double play, runner on 1st, 1 out.

Now, get out of my face, return to your dugout, place your whole ass on a bench, and make sure next time you come out here, you know what in the hell you are talking about.  Do you hear me?  As a matter of fact, did he go, yes he did, strike three, you’re out, game over, you’re ejected, lifetime ban.

It is not easy, this ump life, the studying, the ridicule.  But we carry on anyhow.  After all, no umps, no game.  We make things official.  We are the judges, upholders and keepers of the rulebook, THE GREAT BLIND AND DRUNKEN GODS OF BASEBALL, and in the end, you will submit to our will.

An angel.

The future umps of the IAB.