Last Sunday, I had the privilege and honor to umpire a doubleheader at Juniata College between the Curve Juniors from Altoona and the RedHawks from Huntingdon, a pair of 13-year-old traveling summer baseball programs.
Not only was the play of both teams at such a youthful age excellent, but their execution to details and fundamentals of our national pastime superb as well. Both coaches should be applauded for their efforts of teaching the game of baseball the right way, and it shows.
But that's not why I'm writing. What stuck with me the most was the class at which the players, coaches and fans gave to the umpires all afternoon for two seven-inning games. In almost 40 years of umpiring from Little League to AAABA and everywhere in between, never have I seen such professionalism displayed from top to bottom.
All players and coaches went out of their way to shake our hands after the games and tell us how much they appreciated our efforts. Not once did fans argue a call or berate an umpire on a bang-bang play, but rather they cheered their teams who actually split the DH.
In this day and age of turning on the TV or reading in the news about player/coach ejections, arguments between managers and umpires, constant controversial calls seen on ESPN, with or without replay, it was refreshing to experience something good, if only for three or four hours.
I hope these young men continue to learn the way the game is to be played from coaches Ronan and Zanic, and in the years ahead we could be watching the next stars at the real Curve ballpark, Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Stan Risser, Martinsburg