"Don't Suck," writes Cal Sanders of Powell, who umpired at the Western Regional tournament two years ago.
Those words never really enter an umpire's mind. Never. "Keep telling yourself that Beers," I ponder. Hey Cal, thanks. Those words are stuck in my head like the lyrics to REO Speedwagon's famous tune, "Keep on Loving You."
Leave it to a guy from Powell, sticking it to the guy from Cody. Hmmmm. Ha, ha.
Tomorrow's the day, bags are mostly packed and I'm ready to depart for San Bernadino.
The pop quizzes will probably start about Lander, and I can thank my good friend and taxi driver Bill Sedlacek for that. We'll talk rules, his life, his vehicles, his mountain cabin, hunting, fishing and just about everything else into the wee hours Thursday. We'll even talk umpiring, his favorite players, and baseball, baseball and more baseball.
I need a break from my summer, my job, my summer job(s), and reality.
For a week, I'll be a gypsy one day, a dorm resident another day (actually 7 nights), a pin trading guy (I've got about 200 pins to trade with members of the 12 teams in San Bernadino), and a dad and husband missing his family. I wish my boys could make the trip at ages 22 and 18. They already have plans in the Black Hills and backpacking in the Wind Rivers, but baseball is one of our basic links in the Beers household, much like hunting, fishing, backpacking and just about anything outdoors.
Thanks Cal. I did get even, however, two years ago. You wear No. 13, my favorite. I'll start wearing No. 13 Sunday in California.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
It's beginning to set in ... yep, I'll be umpiring at the Little League Baseball Western Regional beginning Day 1, Aug. 9, a long ways from Wyoming. My travel partner and mentor, Bill Sedlacek, and I are leaving Riverton at 5 p.m. Wednesday. We'll overnight somewhere in Utah, then it'll be on to "Cali," as my college buddy Dennis calls it.
Received the schedule for the first two games -- I'll be a standby umpire for the first six-man crew at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 9, then at 4 p.m. (5 p.m. in Wyoming), I'll be behind the plate for Idaho and Washington in the big stadium.
This year's tournament format is double elimination. Pool play is out, so there will likely be fewer game appearances for all the umpires. There will be two six-team double-elimination tournaments, so a team could lose twice and head home. That's unfortunate. But I'm told it's the same format as the Little League World Series later this month.
This trip is really the culmination of more than 20 years of umpiring baseball, a week-long training session at the Western Region Little League Umpire School about 10 years ago, and a life-long passion with baseball.
I've got pins (150 Wyoming Cowboys), hot sauce (courtesy of a fellow Wyoming umpire's company), postcards, cards, etc..., to give to my fellow umpires in San Bernadino.
I've received some advice. Don't take a bunk by a door, as they are always opening and closing and very noisy. Relax and have fun. Enjoy yourself, etc...
I had a great time umpiring seven games this week at the Wyoming State Little League Championships in Gillette. Gillette will be representing Wyoming in the Western Regionals.
I'll write more later about the upcoming trip. The tournament runs Aug. 9-15.