Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Train Delay: Umpires Stuck in Traffic, Game Stalled 16 Min

Today's Nats game was delayed because umpires were stuck in traffic, marking the first officiating-related transit delay in Major League Baseball since 2011. Tom Hallion's crew of umpires Phil Cuzzi, Chris Guccione and Ron Kulpa phoned MLB approximately 40 minutes before game-time, advising that although they were only a mile away, traffic was at a standstill. After a 16-minute delay, the White Sox won the inter-league affair, defeating Washington by a 5-2 score. No ejections resulted from the delayed contest.

CB Bucknor works in Cincinnati, 4/22/00.
On July 24, 2012, a three-man umpiring crew transformed into four mid-game as Triple-A call-up John Tumpane hustled through St. Louis to join Jeff Kellogg, Marty Foster and DJ Reyburn to replace Eric Cooper, who had taken ill. That game, however, did start on time and according to schedule.

On August 26, 2011, the umpiring crew of Jerry Layne, Bob Davidson, Brian Knight and Hunter Wendelstedt were ensnared in an accident-provoked 110-freeway traffic jam en route to Dodger Stadium. After arriving at Chavez Ravine at the originally scheduled first pitch time of 7:10 pm, the crew hurriedly donned their game gear in time for a 7:21 pm first pitch. Wendelstedt ejected Rockies Manager Jim Tracy that evening for arguing a no-step balk call.

In May 2000, Larry Young's crew wore Cleveland Indians hats and jackets when their gear, shipped from Seattle, got stuck in Detroit due to inclement weather, only arriving in Cleveland after the first pitch had already been thrown.

HP Umpire Eric Gregg wears a Cubs jacket.
In April 2000, lost umpires' equipment after a flight from Montreal resulted in a 27-minute delay in Cincinnati; plate umpire CB Bucknor wore Reds-loaned shin guards, a chest protector and mask as the crew dressed in black rain jackets and pants purchased from a local sporting goods store. Though the crew had arrived in Cincy from Montreal, their gear had mistakenly been shipped to New York. Also on this date, umpires in Chicago wore White Sox apparel because their equipment did not arrive.

However, perhaps nothing will ever top what happened in 1987, when an umpire lost luggage snafu delayed the start of an early-season game at Wrigley Field, and Eric Gregg's crew ultimately worked the game wearing attire supplied by the Chicago Cubs franchise.

HP Umpire Ed Montague in a Phillies jersey.
Or maybe a case of lost luggage in October 1982 takes the cake.

Picture the following umpires—all working the same game—yet wearing uniforms that didn't quite all.

Over at first base, Harry Wendelstedt wearing a Phillies cap, Phillies-red cardigan and tan khakis. At second base, Lee Weber wore a Phillies hat, Phillies windbreaker, and black slacks. 3B Umpire Randy Marsh also wore a Phillies cap and windbreaker, but wore gray baseball pants, looking  more like a third base coach than an umpire.

But the best make-shift uniform of the night was plate umpire Eddie Montague, whose full-on pinstripe uniform get-up truly gave the game a scrimmage-type feel to it.

Vintage/70s baseball uniforms were truly the best, right?

Back when the Houston Astros wore horizontal orange and yellow stripes, an unnamed home plate umpire was spotted officiating a Major League game in one of the team's off-field jackets used by the club from 1975-79.

MLB began using DHL as the official shipping company of umpires shortly after these and other incidents.


Lindsay said...

Yes! I remember the Hurdle ejection. Hunter kept hitting his leg to show the no-step balk, but Hurdle kept creeping out farther and farther. As soon as he got to the dirt circle, BOOM. I recall once Eric Gregg was the plate umpire at Wrigley Field and not surprisingly, the uniforms were stuck in the airport (it was a rain storm). I remember tuning into the game on TV and seeing Gregg wearing this tattered blue windbreaker with a big prominent Chicago Cubs logo on the pocket. I think it was in the early 90s.

I think these types of wardrobe malfunctions are missing a great photo opportunity: picture it, an umpire, wearing a jacket or coat with the New York Yankees logo, ejecting someone on the Red Sox. Boston would have a field day.

Lindsay said...

Tracy, not Hurdle. But still sweet toss :)

Lindsay said...

Ahhh, DC area traffic, don't miss it a bit. I'm surprised it hasn't happened more often in DC, LA and others with bad traffic.

Lindsay said...

Also back in the 90's Bruce Froemming and crew wore shorts and t-shirts in Atlanta when their equipment never came.

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