Here’s a quick story: On Wednesday evening, at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida, an umpire ejected the home team’s “Music Man” from the game for playing the musical version of the popular children’s song “Three Blind Mice.” The home team in question was the Daytona Cubs, Class A-Advanced affiliate to the Major League club of the same mascot. The implication here seemed to be that the umpires on the field were playing the part of the fictional mice without sight—what with all the bad calls and everything—and this interpretation was not lost on the home plate official, who became increasingly sensitive and offended and otherwise all up in a tizzy, prompting him to take matters into his own, extremely adult and professional hands. No word yet on whether or not the umpire had been afflicted with a spontaneous case of the vapors.
You can watch the video by clicking on this internet hyperlink. Please, do, as our discussion henceforth will rely a great deal on it’s contents. Now that we’re on the same page, I mean, what? How did that even happen and what could possibly go through a grown human’s brain in order to make them react in such an amazingly graceless and insecure manner? To be fair, it’s pretty common knowledge that most people who pay five dollars to watch a Class A game on a Wednesday night aren’t actually interested in the sport of baseball, and are instead, umpiring enthusiasts, but I believe this performance was a bit overzealous at best. At worst it was an embarrassing display of egomaniacal hubris and pitiful human weakness that plagues all of mankind and our silly, stupid little minds. Or something like that. I particularly enjoy the excitement of the announcer and his abundant use of the word “awesome” as the entire event unfolds. It is correct to admire when a peer succeeds at unveiling the absurd, and emotion and excitement are positive additions to any broadcast.
My first reaction to this nonsense was to dismiss it as impossible. Surely the umpire doesn’t even have the authority to enforce such a ridiculous notion. Except I guess that he actually does, it’s in the rule book and everything. Section 9.01 subsection (e) of the official MLB rulebook states the following:
Each umpire has authority at his discretion to eject from the playing field (1) any person whose duties permit his presence on the field, such as ground crew members, ushers, photographers, newsmen, broadcasting crew members, etc., and (2) any spectator or other person not authorized to be on the playing field.
Imagine that. So it’s airtight, this ejecting of music players whose audio choices clash with the ideology and pride of the umpires on the field. Seems reasonable, I suppose. At least the offending party, Derek Dye, appears to be taking it well.
So what to do about this? Nothing. Laugh. Remember this name, the name of the man responsible: Mario Seneca. I understand that umpiring baseball is extremely difficult. Umpiring baseball on a Wednesday night for a Class A game in Daytona Beach, Florida is probably it’s own special and soul crushing breed of difficult. But the actions of Mario Seneca have nothing to do with calling a baseball game or understandable and expected human fallibility, they have everything to do with arrogance and pride and spite and so many other unbecoming qualities all of us suffer from and no one likes to be reminded of. So maybe we see our own frailty in Mario Seneca and feel some pity and that makes us uncomfortable, but he’s the one with the funny little tool-kit on his waist and the chest protector around his mid-section and he’s the one pointing his finger skyward whilst casting down his final judgement on the peasant in the music booth, so let’s take note of his name and his behavior and use him as an example to be better. Also let’s laugh.