Umpire added to Game at the Corners. Players subtracted

Umpire added to Game at the Corners. Players subtracted

[“Are you blind!?” “Why, because I am wearing dark glasses? Whoever you are, you’re outta here!” [Photo: Scott Davis] 6/12/16]

On Sunday, Law and Order came to the Game at the Corners.    (PREVIOUS GAMES AT END)


From Pick up softball still exists

At our weekly softball game played on the field off Winton Road between the Brighton Middle School and the High School, we don’t use umpires. Not until today.

toss cropped

Ben (heads) and Brandon (tails) Photo: Scott

As I am an umpire, I determined our game was lacking professional oversight. At our game, the general protocol is that safe and out calls are made by the closest player, and the catcher rules fair or foul. If there is uncertainty, others are consulted and a consensus agreement prevails.

True, in all the decades the game has been played, no one could recall a serious dispute.  If anything, players are more likely to call themselves out on close plays. And at the URMC pickup game near the canal, umpires are not used — without incident. Ours is a gentleman’s game played for fun. But, from my umpire’s perspective, calls are made willy nilly and mayhem could erupt at any moment.

The game began smoothly enough.  Using my 25th Anniversary USSSA coin, I instituted a toss to determine home and away teams. One captain chose heads; while the other tails.


Lou Pinella when manager of the Reds


With Ben “Earl” Duchano [Photo: Scott]

But soon, a dust up occurred at home plate. One player disparaged my call and suddenly became Earl Weaver reincarnated. Giving as good as I got — dirt wise — I sent the player to the creek to cool down.earl-weaver-bobblehead

Then other players began to imagine the Corners was the Major Leagues.  Another disputed call. After Lou Piniella I and Lou Piniella II expressed themselves projectilely, I sent both to the now crowded creek.

throwing bases

Lou left (Brandon Davis) and Lou right (Ben)

big pai

Big Papi smashing water cooler after ejection


Sam “Big Papi” Kashtan [Photo: umpire]

After yet another spat, Sam Kashtan thought he was Big Papi, ejected and venting in the Red Sox dugout.  That made four bobbing miscreants in the creek.

Then, when I turned my head for a moment to wave to fan, after a hard slide at second, Mike Raff and Scott Davis recreated the 1973 National League Championship Series tussle between Bud Harrelson in Met blue and Pete Rose in Red red.


Rose v. Harrelson, Game 3 of the 1973 National League Championship Series

This Blue-Red rematch looked like a tossup. And now an even half dozen floating in the brackish water.

My patience was reached when a player in red dashed at me like George Brett in the 1983 Pine Tar game. His departure left us with too few players, and the game was called on account of rudeness.

The moral of this story is that our gentlemen’s game of honor is best left alone.

The game itself was well attended and well played, ending 15-14. And we had 5 new players — Dave Stack, Patrick Sutor, Ben, Sam and Brandon — a youth movement as all are under 21. The game has a bright future. See you next Sunday!


Don’t even think about putting that picture in the magazine. [Photo: BFM paparazzi]


Gregg Herman, piano; Kyle Vock, bass; Matt Bevan-Perkins, drums. Brighton Farmers Market 6/12/16 [Photo: Dean]

And the good music playing at the Brighton Farmer’s Market soothed my distemper. This week the trio of Greg Herman, Kyle Vock and Matt Devan. Dean was there too and took the photo. His absence from the game was excused as he was enjoying father-daughter quality time.

radar gun

Pitched clocked by radar gun at Buckland Park [Photo: Jonathon, Brighton coach]

mercy rule

Thank goodness for the Mercy Rule [Photo: Julia, Fairport fan]

Incidentally, the life of an umpire is not all fun and games. On Friday and Sunday, I umpired 10-and-under games at Buckland Park in Brighton.

Friday’s game was a marathon of walks, wild pitches and passed balls. I got hit in the back with a ball.  And, on another errant pitch, my athletic cup — though I kept the pain to myself — did not prove 100% effective. After Fairport got ahead by over twenty runs, the Mercy Rule was invoked.

no extra extra inning

A fun game. An no extra, extra, extra innings. [Photo: Julia]

Today’s game was a better played, close contest. But the game went to an extra inning. And very close to another extra inning. And how many after that?  But — mercifully — the first basemen held onto the throw and made the final out.

Celebrating the Fourth of July at the Game at the Corners. And much more.

Pick up softball games still exist

The Boys of Summer are back at The Corners

Ball in creek disrupts Game at the Corners; Blake hits for the cycle

Casper scores the winning run at The Corners

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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