When I was a child, my father refereed high school and college basketball games. He was tough, but impartial. I hated watching him work, mostly because he couldn't please fans from either side. It's never fun to watch your Dad get booed. But his experience taught me to see the game in a different way and to respect those that try to enforce the rules.
As such, I've always had a curiosity and interest in the world of umpiring. Perhaps you have too? Imagine deciding whether each and every pitch of a game will be a ball or a strike -- or being responsible for those close calls that really impact the game.
On Wednesday, February 17th, you can get an inside look at umpiring during the Smithsonian's special presentation "Baseball Umpires: A Secret Society" at 7:00 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian.
During the presentation, fans will hear from writer Bruce Weber, Major League umpire Ted Barrett and retired big league umpire Jim Evans about how umpires manage to do everything all at once -- behind the plate and on the field.
They will also discuss umpire training and what it takes to get to the Majors.
The event will be moderated by Phil Hochberg, former Washington Senators announcer. As a special treat, Glenn Donnellan, National Symphony Orchestra violinist, will play his famous bat-violin.
Weber's book As They See 'Em will be available for signing.
Admission is $40 (or just $20 for Smithsonian Associates members) and tickets may be purchased online or by calling 202-633-3030