Friday, April 22, 2022

Review of "You’re Out and You’re Ugly Too: Confessions of an Umpire With attitude," by Derwood Merrill

 Review of

You’re Out and You’re Ugly Too: Confessions of an Umpire With attitude, by Derwood Merrill ISBN 0312969007

Five out of five stars

Loved the book, hate the title

The umpires of professional baseball have a unique perspective on the game. They have to make instantaneous decisions and believe in the old saying, “You have to be perfect your first day and improve over time.” Baseball also has the tradition where the players, coaches and managers can argue with the umpires. In many ways it is part of the theater of the sport. Nothing riles up the home crowd more than when the manager of their team and an umpire go face-to-face in what is commonly called a rhubarb.

 Longtime baseball umpire Derwood Merrill has written a book detailing his experiences on the field. One is struck with how poorly paid umpires are in the minor leagues and how dangerous it can sometimes be, especially in Latin America. Gunfire and police escorts are common there.

 The insight into the thought processes of umpires is very revealing, they understand that they will miss a call on occasion. It reminds you of the saying about cornerbacks in the NFL. When they get beat for a touchdown, they have to have a short memory, because there is always another big play coming up. Dwelling on a failure is a recipe for more failure.

 This is an enjoyable book for any fan of baseball. One of the best points made is that there has never been even one incident where an umpire’s integrity has been seriously questioned. When the gamblers that paid off the Chicago Black Sox were asked why they didn’t try to bribe the umpires, they responded by saying, “The price was too high.” When asked for specifics, the response was, “They were on a very high floor and if we had gone to them, they would have thrown us out the window.”

 Merrill has many stories to tell, and he has made the sports world richer for his telling them. However, the title is awful, personal insults like that get people kicked out of ballgames.

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