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others work so kids can
7Tl he men in blue took the fleld a
before eametime.
I Itwas
plate umpire was wearing the usual
proJection from the wild pitch or
missed catch: a face mask, an under-
shirt hest
prctectoi shin guards and
can bnly assume because I didn't
ask-the all-important sports "cup."
The field umps had it easy
.Wednesday night strolling back and
forth to get in position to make ihe
bas calls: Ther was no breeze in the
field butmoving around beats s\.veat-
g like a rain forest while squatting
behind a lO-year-old catcher.
Blue, as the home plate.ump was
affectionately called by the growing
chotus ofparents, approached the
official scorekeeper and confidqd he
would occasionally be checking
with her on the ball and strik
count. Scorekeep, a teacher used to
multi-tasking, appreciated the
heads-up and didn't reveal t}rat
seVeral coaches had already
approached her about kepirg tabs
on the count. It seems coahes get
worried when umps ask for help.
Blue didn't mention'it but he's
also a little hard ofhearing, a
welcome trait in his line of work.
But his eyes ar.e god, never mind
te "I've seeri bettei eyes on a pota-
to" catcall waiting to be dossed out
by the Dad sitting near Scorekeep.
Not all umps wanthelp or are
secure enoqgh to ask. It's an umpire
thing. But this blue is nothing if not
secure. He has seen a lot oflittle
League from behind the plate and
the field and you can sense the dish
is hls favorite position. He can an-
dle the occasional foul tip into the'
fae mask or a passed ball bouncing
offthat all-imporfant sports cup.
Bending over t brush the dirt off
the plate is not as easy a. it looks, es-
pecially ifyou have had both ktees
surgically replaced, but at home
some people are, well, at home.
Before Blue arrivd, the parents
were in full force preparing the .
fleld and the players. Dan was
raking and wtering, Lauren was
Iaying dowrithe chalk lines and
somebody over there in the dugout
was getting out the gear.
Coaches led calisthenics and hit
grounders. They pitched in the
cages and tossed high flies in the
ouffield. There were pre-gam pep
talks and rvarnings to tie your shoes
nd pay atterition. They were work-
ing so kids could play.
coaches and.umPires I
I teachers, motivators, com-
petitors and, above all, parents.
They are baseball men and-women
Iike their brethren in the big leagues
but at this level they are doing what
they do because their kids, or in the
case of Blue, tleir grandchildreri,
like to play the game ofbaseball.
Blue, my South Davis friend Phil
Schou, is a 67-year-old baseball nut.
He's one of thosg guys ltith notches
on his glove taling all of the mqjor
league parks where he's seen a
game. According to his son, he
would have playd professional
baseball except he was slow as a ,;..
turtle and couldn't throw or hit. Bit
he always knew the rules and '
always has been
umpire at hei't.
To him, the other Blue dads out .
there, the coaches and eeryone
who works so kids can play: thanli.
Little Iague playoffs are here and
it will be a fun few weeks. Comeby )i
and sitinthe stands amongyour
frild' ;d ;ht"* *"ri"ip r.".je.
trac,k ofballs and strikes. Ifyouhav. e.
an all-important sports cup, throw it
your tunk in case you are called un
to fillinbehind.the plate andyou need
to don the uniform of the blue. ,
Of course if Phil's around, tliere
will be no need to fill in. Jit sit
back and e4ioY the sho*. *t"t Otl,
ersonal View: Happy
day to my best friend. In typical great
mom fashion, she's driving the kids to
a field tripinthe Gold Countyand is
scheduld to be back for tonight's
; .
Who says I can't plail'
greatbirthdaycelebration? .
is a Soath ,).r::.
Davis resident; his column appeays ,
every othet week Reach him at ...",,.'