We can't do a series on the folks behind the scenes at baseball without talking to an umpire. They're actually not all that behind the scenes; in fact, they are right on the center stage. But they are often forgotten or not noticed ... unless something controversial happens. Let's get a glimpse into their world as we chat with ALCS Crew Chief Ed Montague before the start of Game 2.
What is the biggest misconception about umpires?
That we're fat and old and can't run.
Do you have to pass an eye exam to become an umpire?
We take one every year with our full physical. I don't know if the words are that we have to pass it though, but I think they prefer that we do.
Is there any other job you can think of where you routinely get yelled at by a whole stadium full of people?
I don't know ... maybe a policeman sometimes? I really can't think of another profession where you get yelled at.
So how did you decide to enter this line of work?
I couldn't hit a curve. My dad played for the Indians in the '20s, so baseball's always been in my family.
What is the one thing a player can say that will get them an automatic ejection?
Abuse of language directed toward you. And physical contact.
Thanks for your time. We're also interviewing a beer vendor today.
Oh, I could have done that interview, too. I was one at Candlestick Park for 10 years.
Christine Destefano is reporting from the ALCS. She can't hit a curve either.