Bonus Lo’W: @*$! Umps

Michael Cox

In what is fast becoming the baseball version of the Numa Numa dance, Oklahoma RedHawks radio man Jim Byers’ tirade on May 4 (beginning at the 1-hour-47-minute mark) rates slightly above Orson Welles’ frozen peas outtakes (if well below Kasey Kasem’s “dead dog dedication” incident, Lee Elia’s “Kiss my ass right downtown” statement, or Tommy Lasorda’s love letter to Dave Kingman) in the world of live-mic rants.

The setup: the Redhawks, in Round Rock to play the Express, strike out an Express batter to end the inning. Catcher Jamie Burke drops the ball, but instead of tagging the batter or throwing to first, he hands the ball to the unnamed umpire (remember, there’s a strike on and these are substitute umps) and heads off the field. The batter proceeds to first, the Express manager goes out to tell the umps the batter’s at first, and a baserunner from second rounds third and touches home.

Chaos ensues. The umps debate the implications for about 20 minutes, then put the run on the board, then take it off again and put the runners on first and third. All the while Byers blows a fuse. (Unfortunately for his internet legend, he avoids the Eight [Formerly Seven] Words You Can’t Say On The Radio.)

News article here (subscription or bugmenot required) and interesting commentary here — my call? I put the batter on first and baserunner on second, because the catcher didn’t make a move to either put the batter out or retrieve the ball, but the ball is subsequently dead. And Oklahoma should be happy with that ruling, because if the ump had refused to catch the ball and instead let it drop, the runners could have advanced to their heart’s content.

Published May 5, 2006

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