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Episode 6: The Umpires

Jonathan McNicol
Crew Chief Ryan Benson calls strike three.

Since I first started following Minor League Baseball, there's been this ongoing tension that I've felt at all the games.

On the one hand, you're pretty much surrounded by people who are living their dreams. On the other hand, kind of by definition, none of those people is really happy, is really satisfied where they are.

Everybody has bigger aspirations than whatever level of the minor leagues you're looking at.

This applies, you have to figure, to the players, the coaches, the trainers… the radio announcers… the groundskeepers... Pretty much everybody involved with the actual baseball.

Including the umpires.

The umpires. The men in black. Baseball's ultimate arbiters, charged with absorbing your heckles and boos, with weathering disagreements with players and coaches and managers, with the unassailable final decision about each moment of every game... with calling every swing a swing, every strike a strike...

Maybe even if the ball is rolling twenty feet away.

Jonathan is a producer for ‘The Colin McEnroe Show.’ His work has been heard nationally on NPR and locally on Connecticut Public’s talk shows and news magazines. He’s as likely to host a podcast on minor league baseball as he is to cover a presidential debate almost by accident.

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