Why I Like Baseball

an online journal of baseball enthusiasm

Interview with Gary Darling, because Umps Care

May 02, 2014 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings

It’s time for the annual UMPS CARE auction. If you haven’t heard about it before, you haven’t been reading my blog for very long. UMPS CARE is a charity run by major league umpires and this annual auction is their main fundraiser. Everything from items autographed by Mariano Rivera and Vin Scully to meet-the-umpires ballpark vacation packages is up for bid from now through May 11th. (That’s not a lot of time so if you want to bid, get over there NOW.)

The best part about the auction for me is I usually get to talk to a major league umpire, though. This year I got to speak with Gary Darling.

Cecilia Tan: Umpires already have one of the toughest jobs in baseball. Why UMPS CARE? Don’t umpires already do enough?

GARY DARLING: We do a lot on the field. But most of us want to do some good off the field. That’s part of being a human. We started it years ago and it has grown into what it is today. We do a lot of good things, but to do that we have to raise the money and this auction is one of the biggest things we do. The last couple of years MLB has hosted it on MLB.com and I think that really helps us get a bigger audience.

CT: What’s your advice for that one kid out there who goes to a game and imagines themselves behind the plate instead of in the batters box? (more…)

Umps Care, they really do

March 12, 2010 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings

It’s not every day you get to talk to a major league umpire. Today I got a chance to have an extensive interview with Jim Reynolds who has been a major league ump for more than ten years, to help kick off the UMPS CARE charity auction online. (Auction kicks off today onlinewith some truly amazing items, including a #44 All-Star Game jersey signed by President Barack Obama, the 44th president.) I picked his brain on a lot of topics, from concussions and the recent firings of umpire supervisors to how statistical analysis has changed the game of baseball and umpiring in particular.

Reynolds didn’t initially plan to be an umpire. As a student at UCONN, he studied communications, and had a job all lined up with a television station after graduation… but peer pressure led him to give umpiring a try.

Peer pressure? Yeah. It was during a fire drill in his freshman year that Jim struck up a conversation with another student standing around waiting to go back into the building. They became good friends and he suggested that Jim take a one-credit class on umpiring that UCONN offered. The students in that class got to work the games for the college team and then in the summer Jim was able to work a regular daytime summer job and then make extra money calling a few games a night. Then his friend told him when they were getting ready to graduate, that he wanted to go to major league umpire school, and wanted Jim to go with him.

“450 kids go and only 40 make it, he told me,” Jim explained, “So my TV job was waiting, and they told me go ahead and give it a shot, and if you don’t make it, your job is here. So I went for it and not only did I make it, he and I both made it.”

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