Tips and Tricks

Saturday, March 29, 2014

2014 Season Underway!

After a long hiatus, I am finally back to report on all the adventures of being an umpire's girl!  It has been two years since I have been able to post and in that time I have become an umpire's wife.  I have still been attending games with my umpie husband and am now ready to get back at this blog.

So without further delay...we are getting ready for the Spring 2014 season.  Today we made the trek up to Ann Arbor, MI to our favorite umpire attire store, Honig's Whistle stop.  Matthew was in serious need of some new plate shoes, socks and the most important piece of equipment any guy can purchase...groin protection.

Now we all know protecting your feet and having the right socks is good, but every year my poor guy gets nailed at least one in his private parts and let me tell you it is not pretty.  I saw a video for the Nutty Buddy (Yes that is really what it is called...LOL) and had to tell him about it. He watched the video on how it works and he was sold. 

 So we looked at the size chart and with sizes like, the hammer, boss, hog, trophy and mongo, I was cracking up.  I mean really, a guy must have named these right??  We figured out that my awesome umpie is a trophy and I would have to agree...still snickering.

We ended up taking the long way home and stopped for lunch at The Dog House in Tecumseh, MI.  Awesome hot dogs in some very unusual combinations and the best cheesy potatoes and mac 'n cheese I have ever had!

With full bellies we headed home.  Now my thought was...we have to test out this Nutty Buddy before he gets on the ball field tomorrow.  Any loving wife out there would want to make sure it works like promised right?  Are you with me ladies?  So I had him try it on and I got the bright idea that if I threw a softball at him (softly mind you) we could test it out in a safe environment. 

The first throw hit spot on and then promptly dropped on his stocking foot.  Nutty Buddy 1 - Foot zero.  I said he should have had his plate shoes on...which got me the "look."  The second shot was a little harder and this time fell on the floor.  Nutty Buddy - 2.  And shot three was the hardest and equally successful.  At this point we are both laughing so hard we are crying.  This has to be one of the funnest game season preps we have had.  Now to see what it will do on the field when a wild pitch or foul tip flies at him.

Tomorrow, first games of the season, a double header in Whitehouse, OH.  Not sure I will be up to sitting out in these chilly temps just yet, but will give you another update soon!

Until then, may all your body parts stay well protected!

~Play ball,

Mary Jo

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whitehouse Field 1

So our Friday night game was canceled due to the fields being muddy!  But our double header in Whitehouse today is on.  The weather is gorgeous...82 degrees and sunny.   The ASA softball U14 games are at 1:00pm and 3:00pm and Matthew has a partner today.  :) 

Last night I bought some snacks and also packed some sandwiches for after church.  Luckily we go to church right down the road so we have time to eat.  I also bought a few Gatorades and yes I threw out his old water bottle (an empty Gatorade bottle he refilled ALL last season) that was all scuffed up and yeah, just plain GROSS! 

As Matthew gets ready to take the plate for the first game I make sure he eats something.  Umpires can be very preoccupied especially when they are preparing for a game.  He at least gets a few bites in.  His partner seems very nice and very competent which is awesome!

The wind is very strong today and I make sure to bring my hat and sunscreen.  Last year I forgot my sunscreen and ended up with a nasty sunburn.  Lesson learned. 

The first game is between Anthony Wayne and Clyde.  Both teams look really good.  They start out the first inning pretty much equal with Anthony Wayne up 2-1.  The next few innings are pretty uneventful until the top of the 5th.  Matthew takes a bad pitch to his right forearm.  Instantly, it swells up and he is having trouble using it.  It is the hardest thing to be on the other side of the fence knowing he is hurt.  It is something I am trying to get tougher about, but I don't think I will ever get used to it.  Between innings he is able to put some ice on it and he finishes up all seven innings!  Final unofficial score AW-3 Clyde-1  Total squats for Matthew 197.

I was very impressed with both teams, their coaches and their parents.  Everyone was positive and the girls had a good time!

Game 2

We stay on Field 1 with Anthony Wayne and the Norwak team joins us.  I can tell Matthew is struggling a little with his arm and am so grateful that he has a partner so he can take the bases. 

Right off the bat in the first inning I can tell the Norwak 1st base coach is going to be annoying.  Matthew calls a girl out and he comments "Her foot was off the bag blue."  Well yeah it was, but she put it back on before his girl got there.  

The Anthony Wayne girls are on their game today and are racking up the runs.  I can tell the Norwak pitcher is getting very frustrated and the coaches are not doing much for the moral of the team.  Come on guys, this is the time to inject a little humor and get the girls motivated.  Instead the game plugs on and after 4 innings and a score of 14-3 AW...the time expires.

Thank you to the nice lady who gave Matthew some yummy sugar cookies and to the lady who provided the ice bag for his arm!

It has been a long day and the sun and wind (and in Matthew's case the BALL) have taken its toll.  Matthew and I fall asleep watching the Masters.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ist Game of the Season (for us)

So I got everything ready to go for our first game of the season.  Baseball bag packed, sleeping bag in car, dressed in several layers and a few snacks, including a thermos of hot coffee...just in case.  It is April 7 and 43 degrees outside.  We are heading to Liberty Center for a boys baseball game.  I am excited to see how the boys have improved from last year.  Matthew had the opportunity to umpire almost all their home games last season and it was fun to see them from the opener to the final game.

We pull up and I see Liberty is playing Napoleon.  Look out boys, this is going to be interesting!  After getting settled into the sleeping bag...and yes it IS the way to go...the game begins and although Napoleon gets a run Liberty Center pitches a great inning, but Napoleon shuts them out.  Unfortunately, Liberty's pitcher gets a ball to his hand and is out the rest of the game.

The boys play 7 innings and Napoleon ends up on top 15-3, but Liberty played hard and I have to think if their starting pitcher had stayed in they may have brought this one home.  Great start to the season!

Matthew did a great job on the plate and after counting up all the pitches he had a total of 288 squats.  Now if I could just stand behind him and squat along with him I could give Suzanne Summers a run for her money!

We leave the field at 8:00pm and the temp has dipped to 39 degrees.  I phone in pizza to pick up one way home and the first game is officially under our belts with no injuries :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Play Ball...or Not?

I woke up this morning (game day) and the sun is shining, but rain is forcasted for the afternoon.  Great!  Not sure if the games will get rained out...not usually, unless there is standing water on the field.  These teams play in all kids of weather!

After leaving church a little later than planned, we skip our normal #10 at McDonalds and head straight for the game.  It is 35 degrees, windy and rainy as we pull up next to another umpire who is suiting up.

Matthew starts putting on his gear as I gather up my sleeping bag, quilt, baseball bag (packed with snacks, umbrella, hat, gloves, clicker, etc.) and my folding chair.  I put on my extra sweatshirt and pull my hood up.  Yes, umpire's girls have just as much equipment to put on and carry!  The number one thing to remember is to be prepared for ANY kind of weather.

We set out on the trek to Field B with two other umpires in tow.  They are all very professional and take their responsibilities seriously.  As we approach the fields we are met by the groundskeeper who informs us that the Field D game has been cancelled.  This umpire had driven from Oak Harbor to officiate and did not get a call ahead of time.  I can tell the guy is upset and unfortunately the team did not call until 10 minutes before start time to notify that they would not be coming.  In a heartbeat, Matthew offers his field to the umpire.  I am shocked!  Nevermind all the prep work we did to get here or the fact that he just lost the money for his days work! No umpires don't get paid for showing up when a game is cancelled.   The other umpire gratefully takes the game and we head back to the car.

As we walk, I ask Matthew why he did this.  He smiles and tells me that maybe that guy needed the games more than he did and he will make it up later in the season.  I am so proud of him!  The respect and genuine unselfishness these umpires have for one another is remarkable.

Not the way we planned on starting the season, but it works for me!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


So we started getting ready for the first game of the season on Friday evening.  Matthew had bought a new chest protector and new pair of base pants that needed hemmed up.  He also brought in all his gear from last season to be washed.  The old chest protector may have been able to walk in on its own.  Eww!  Many people ask me how I wash the chest protector.  I actually just throw it in the washer and hang it up to dry.  Smells fresh and clean and doesn't hurt it at all.

First games scheduled for Sunday, April 3 at 1:00pm at Rolf park in Maumee, OH.  Double header on field B.  I think we are ready!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

How This Blog Started

My name is Mary Jo and I have been going to my umpire sweetheart, Matthew Boyd's baseball and softball games for the past three years.  The things I see and hear being in the stands never ceases to amaze me.  I decided to write a blog this year to follow and record what it is like to be an umpire's girl. 

Take the journey with me as I document the inner happenings of each game and give you a behind the scenes view of the life of these dedicated officials who call balls and strikes.

Think you know what goes on at your child's softball or baseball games?  Follow me and find out!