Interview with an umpire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002


RESERVE – Following Wednesday’s American Legion matchup between the Rebels and the Fighting Wildcats, a game which threatened to be rained out more than once, I pulled aside one of the evening’s two umpires for this impromptu interview.

Below are the questions, and the answers from Lewis Grady, who has called the plays for some 33 years, and has been heading the River Parishes Umpires Association for the past 15 years.

-What led you to be an umpire?

“I saw too many fathers being called out of the stands to call the games. It was an injustice to the kids.”

-What’s your “day” job?

“Well I’m a shift worker, so it’s not all days. But I’m a lab tech at a chemical plant.”

-Do you have any children playing baseball?

“My son played in high school and my two girls played recreation ball.”

-How about yourself, how much playing experience do you have?

“I’ve been around the field all my life. I played high school ball in Birmingham, Alabama. I also played slow pitch softball from 1980-85.

Myself and another guy started an industrial league around here, where you had to work for a company to be on it’s team. There were 24 men’s teams and four women’s, all from local banks, plants, etc.”

-What do you enjoy most about being an umpire?

“It keeps you on your toes and it gives you good war stories about plays and situations. I’m always getting calls from other umpires, who were wondering if a call they made was right. Also the comradery with the players.”

-What’s the worst part about calling a game?

“Fans that do not know the rules.”

-What would you say is the most exciting play?

“It would be the throw from the outfield to home plate.”

-When you’re behind the plate, do you enjoy saying “Strike”?

“Yes, that’s why you do it. They teach you to be vocal.”

-Is there anything you would like to add about being an umpire?

“It’s a thankless job, but I still really enjoy it.”