Sunday, March 22, 2009

Book review: As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires by Bruce Weber

: As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires by Bruce Weber

About: Weber spends a year in the world of baseball umpires, attending umpire school (less than one-percent of umpire school students get to work in the major leagues,) umping games (including 3 innings behind home plate of a major league spring training intrasquad game) and conducting dozens of interviews.

Some Interesting Things I Learned:

  • There are 13 reasons an umpire can eject someone from the game

  • The rulebook has no guidelines for a check swing.

  • As the rulebook defines it, if the ball and a runner's foot arrive on the base at the same time, tie goes to the defense.

  • The "K-Zone" and other TV network strike zone representations are "for entertainment purposes only" and should not be used to accurately judge balls and strikes.

  • Umpires get four weeks of vacation during the MLB season.
Pros: Very eye-opening and interesting look into the non-glamorous lives of working umpires, the folks who have to "start perfect and improve from there." A well written look at the game of baseball from a viewpoint rarely considered.

Cons: A tad bit long. Lots of people discussed at it can get confusing. Index would have been nice

Grade: B

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