If Dr. Fauci was an umpire, his SAFE! call would be the end of “in place” griping

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Equating Dr. Fauci’s influence in so much relative to this pandemic with the ability I, as an umpire, held sway over decisions that affected how events went forward in the lives of others,  is specious.

Still, while its permissible to gripe about some calls, when the ump says, “This is how it shall be,” well, a lot of  ‘Mericans seem to count that as more factual than Fauci’s forty years of expertise gets him about Next, coronoa-wise.

Before each game, I went to both dugouts to discuss “the high strike” in arc pitch softball, that area at the top of arm but below the shoulder, where the tough calls are. Anybody can call ’em down the pipe, and pointing out the specific area *I* called a strike, my exit line was usually, “But you’re all hitters here, right?” meaning working walks is mehh.

A player I recall saying he didn’t LIKE my strike zone – but I called it consistently – was all anyone should ask for. For those clamoring for “freedom” from the  tyranny of being told not to congregate to improve chances of NOT getting sick, just know that I let a pitcher throw a strike to someone who stepped out of the batters box without asking permission.

‘Outside’ as helpful, not ‘bum rush to’

Umping in a medium pitch league, by the third inning I’d sent enough guys to first that the catcher was catching heat from his pitcher. I told him, again, “Tell your guy he’s this much (thumb-forefinger couple inches) off the plate.” A couple more walks in the fifth, he yells, “Hey ref! I been putting it in the same place all night!” I took one step onto the plate, pointed at him and asked, “Which of us better change what they’re doing then?”

The reality was, that strange motion he had when looking at his catcher for location, was because HE WAS LEGALLY BLIND in his left eye. Talk about flipping a cliche. The point I expected to convey was, straight up, that my opinion was the one that counted.

Frankly, Fauci has done that step up more than a couple times during truth-oriented situations, even with his political boss nearby. In the video conference he did with the Senate this week, he handled Rand Paul admirably – no, he’s not political or the “be all” on answers – but there is forty years of well-regarded expertise.

When Trump said “Maybe there’s nothing in the fall,” he came right to the mike and said, “We WILL have a wave of corona virus in the fall.” IMHO, that’s a definitive call on the second half of a double play grounder.

If anyone, my nephew included, questioned my calls (he did, in a minor league LL volunteer stint), you are two pitches from being struck out.

Umpiring and standing up for ‘right’

There was a girls league in Charlotte where they apparently worked the “run rabbit run!” style. The (obviously) better team would get people on, then, because *you can’t lead or steal until the ball crosses the plate,* they essentially went wild on the catchers throws back to the pitcher.  Inaccurate throws around the infield to stop runners quickly became a cycle of two runs and someone on second.

I see part of the umpire’s job as fairness. Following the catcher to the backstop (she really couldn’t stop much), I told her to call time out. Then throw the ball to the pitcher, after which I said, “Play ball.” After a single inning of that, the A-team manager asked what I was doing, and while I knew I’d never be coming back, letting people run wild and getting mercy-ruled by errors is a humiliating way to lose an un-fun game in three innings, that I could do something about.

Fauci as Umpire:  Check the states “re-opening” and having spikes in their infected rates about un-fun. If Dr. Fauci controls the “we’re gonna go-go-go operation” (I did), makes the call on scientific results (and expertise) vs. going to instant replay or another court case, that’s an ump who hits a righteous standard.

Rules matter

While unprepared, I volunteered to do a charity tournament game wearing topsiders, a tank top, and Ray Bans. Left field was actually unfenced, allowing outfielders to chase foul balls. With runners on 1st and 2nd, left fielder catches a long foul, and throwing to third from an angle, he clongs it off a light tower, it ricochets into center, and two runs score.

After searching for the guy with ground rules, it becomes one base on the throw, so only one run scores. Unfortunately, one person (female) wouldn’t quit “discussing” it, so I finally gave the word: Next yapping I heard, she’d be leaving.

After the game, two large players came over and asked me about singling her out. I explained that I went and found the ground rule and applied it. I had umpired plenty before, I didn’t have to put up with the sh*t, but if I left, the game was going to be in trouble. I wished them good luck and walked away..

An all time favorite was a runner interference call. Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out, with a major pop up to the shortstop. Runner from second was *right* in front of her, she dropped it, girl from first scored off two errant throws.

I couldn’t help myself – I said, “Boy, if that happened to my shortstop, I’d probably want to talk to somebody about it.”

The catcher held her hand up to stop the pitcher, turned to look at me, then walked out, and while talking to the pitcher, pointed back at me. She came back and said she wanted to make an appeal; I asked whether the runner going from 1st-2nd, or 2nd-3rd. She got the answer right, I yelled “runners out!” and both teams changed, with the manager having no idea what happened.

As for one guy cheating up in batters box, knowing the pitcher couldn’t get it in his strike zone with arc AND across (vs. land on) the plate, or, very likely have to give him a pitch he could cream, my job is still ensuring a fair game. I told the catcher, “Throw it any way you want,” which was essentially flat.

Batting box cheats and  people carrying military-style assault rifles while protesting ‘in place’ rule in Michigan, but not in NY is a valid analogy. Why? Because in NY the rule is you empty your pockets into little trays before going through a metal detector in state buildings, and pistols, AR-15s, and grenade launchers DON’T come in the building.

There are things YOU want to do, that might be good for you, but that aren’t fair to others. If it was simply a matter of rights, and it might trim the herd appropriately by doing something uncool like exposing themselves to unseeable but deadly viruses, fine, but the fact is, that behavior might affect me, and that’s not the best way to run a pandemic.

I’m still willing to look for the SAFE! sign from Dr. Fauci instead of listening to the bench saying, “Looked good from here, ump.”

 

What JFK Meant with “Instead, ask what you can do for your country”

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When Rep. Adam Schiff gaveled the impeachment proceedings into recess last Thursday while invoking the late Elijah Cummings, “We’re better than this,” its my humble opinion that plenty of Americans would want a family member to conduct themselves as honorably, in such high pressure moments, as the US diplomatic personnel proved they could.

Many regarded President John F. Kennedy’s election as the second coming of Camelot, a time of exceptional promise. That cold, cold day of his Inauguration in 1961 couldn’t be more clearly juxtaposed to the shameless conduct described in the testimony about the Trump-Ukraine scandal, with tentacles that seem to have ensnared everyone it touched.

Kennedy’s January 16, 1961 speech was 14 minutes long, and that was the only part where he spoke about public service. The rest was primarily international, the Cold War. Vietnam was nowhere near a US problem – the French had that domino held steady, right?

They did their jobs, to the T

And yes, dammit, if the Lt. Colonel respectfully asks to be addressed by his rank, that shouldn’t be a three minute exercise in linguistics. A Ukranian immigrant at the age of four, he happens to have an identical twin, also a Lt. Colonel, who also serves in the White House.

That officer was on the call because of his expertise, including and especially, language. At NO point does that invite negative questioning,  any quibbling about loyalty from those pursuing nefarious political ends.

Should we be more in awe of Dr. Hill for stating that, having grown up poor, her working class accent – what most probably think most Brits sound like – would have limited her options dramatically in the UK, or should we salute her concise flaying of a GOP talking point (Ukraine, not Russian interference in 2016 elections) as repeatedly giving credence to such a false narrative and something Russia loves to hear?

Oh, third one – You do know that her expertise, literally, is because she wrote the book on it, right? “It” being Vladimir Putin. What, they didn’t mention that on FOX?

Powerful a witness as Sondhold became, was the Saturday Night Live! skit even better?

These people knew their words, and having them answer to counsel’s, “Right?” sure wasn’t automatic. As Dr. Hill and Ambassador Taylor stated, they were ‘fact witnesses,’ what they heard or knew about a situation, nothing about guilt regarding impeachment. Even if it was clarification of the timing tag of an e-mail as being sent local or Ukranian time, it was brought into agreement with known facts being discussed before saying, “Correct.”

If David Nolan wasn’t precise in showing how Amb. Sondland held a cell phone away from his ear while Trump was talking EXTRA loudly, is the operative word still, “Get over it?” When *every*single*one* of them takes notes constantly, documents situations with time and attendees, that is what a paper trail that’s meant to be followed looks like.

Oh, State Department has all the notes, because its government property? Sorry Amb. Sondland… Oh, you actually have e-mails that show everyone was in the loop? Good to know. Without taking anything away from Amb. Sondhold’s ability to both nurse a cold cup of coffee and deliver A-B-C, 1-2-3 points about whom “everyone” was, it was legitimate for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to note that his markedly different testimony was a third try at better describing things he recalled.

For those who think former NSC advisor John Bolton should  be as courageous as those who already testified, yep.

JFK and a character moment

Kennedy called out to a generation, and despite the tear United States down the middle issue of Vietnam, we – that would be the Boomers, ok – also made major strides in civil rights, and both put people on, and got them back from the moon.

Its not cherry-picking to use that event, it was a biggie.

Maybe ask someone about their time in the Peace Corp. Was there world respect for all those idealistic young Americans, striving to change the world somehow? You betcha. Those kids from Stoneman-Douglas are turning eighteen, ready to vote. Who wants them besides Beto, anti-gun marches and a huge percentage of America agreeing about it?

Yes, for sure, ask a young person what they think about the last three weeks over a fire pit on Thanksgiving. Learn what other people think – question authority (especially if it doesn’t pass the sniff test). Those diplomatic personnel who put their careers on the line, you KNOW you’d want them in the foxhole when doing whatever was necessary and right had to happen.

Some call it heroic,  but you certainly can’t ignore it. Nor should you disparage it.