6 man!

Last night was the championship game of the MP14 tournament. This is an end of season tournament run by the Morris Plains, NJ little league, and is open to the tournament teams from District 1 who do NOT make it out of pool play (I think I have that right). I’ve been fortunate enough to work a handful of games this year, including a Madison-Morris Plains semi-final that was one of the best little league games I have seen. In that game, Ray Mosso,  Pete Demnitz and I worked 3 man and I had a ball.

Last night, for the championship and as a tip of the cap to a real good league that gives is a ton of work, they scheduled a 4 man crew –  Ray, Pete and I along with Ron Pellegrino.  When I got to the field I was surprised to see John Lezak and another umpire named Mike in the parking lot, and then surprised again when John told me we were going to work 6-man.

The Morris Plains guys (and ladies) do a great job with the tournament and make a big deal of it for the kids, so it was nice to be able to give them a unique umpire experience as well (although I’m not sure if most of the kids realized that John and Mike were lurking in the shadows down the lines). Since we, naturally, did not have 6 of the same color shirts, we decided that Ray would wear red behind the plate and the rest of us would stick with traditional navy blue. I took third and had nothing – one force out and only one runner actually rounding the base. The final score was 2-0 with both runs scoring on a bases loaded infield single,  The runner from 3rd scored (he didn’t leave early!) and the runner from 2nd touched 3rd as he went around it. And I was all over it!

Great game, Roxbury’s dominant pitcher making the difference. I think Madison had only one hit. I’m sorry the tournament is over  – certainly among the more enjoyable games that I have worked. And while 6-man is overkill for sure, I have, in the past, scoffed at 3 man, even for playoff games. After having worked a few games with an expanded crew, I can say that it’s a big advantage having an extra guy. With 2 man, you have to be luck to be in the right spot – with 3 or 4 man, you have very little excuse for not being in the right spot.

Anyway, now I’m off for the month of August. I already cant wait to get back out there.

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