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Page 34

Dan’s Papers August 26, 2011 danshamptons.com Page 34

Umpire

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come out of the game. wire,” Juliet said. “So even if this is a blowout, In to pitch for the Artists was architect Joe stick around folks,” she said. Sopiak, who has been pitching for that team Lipton, usually very animated, didn’t seem to since the late actor Roy Scheider passed away. know what to offer. Joe put out the fire. To make matters worse, the Writers added Still the damage was done. After just one three more runs off of Sopiak in the bottom of inning it was Writers 5, Artists 0. the second. Now it was 8 to 0. Narrating the game to the crowd from behind I thought I did a pretty good job umpiring the backstop this year were television host the game, calling balls and strikes and making James Lipton and WINS radio reporter Juliet the other calls. State Supreme Court Justice Papa. Richard Lowe relieved me behind the mound in They were bantering away after that the bottom of the third. Lief Hope, the director disastrous inning about the raffles that would of the game, moved me over to be the umpire be announced further into the game. And then at first. I did come back to behind the mound it began to sink in. to finish up the game in the eighth and ninth. SHOE INN SALE 2011 WK 3 DAN'S Page 1maybe 500 good calls. But then I think “Usually, these games go right8/18/11 down to3:03 the PM I made

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I made a bad call in the top of the ninth or at least it was a call everybody in the entire place thought I had wrong. And I will get to that. I did stick to my guns about it though. Greg Bello led a comeback in the top of the fourth for the Artists by hitting a double that drove in two runs. That made the game 8 to 5. “Well folks,” Juliette said, “it looks like its finally going to be a ball game.” And she was right about that. In the top of the eighth inning, a huge rally by the Artists featuring a towering home run by artist Eddie McCarthy brought them to within one run of the Writers. They were now behind only by 11 to 10. Here are highlights I enjoyed from behind the mound and on the first baseline. In the sixth inning from my position along the foul line on first base, announcer James Lipton issued a warning from behind the backstop that everybody be careful because Richard Weise, the President of the Explorer’s Club, was a powerful left-handed hitter who often hit line-drive fouls down the first baseline. People moved back. I felt very much alone. Weise didn’t hit anything foul for the first three pitches, and the fourth pitch—this is a slow pitch game where the ball is lobbed in—he was hit on the arm. “Take your base,” Judge Lowe said from behind the mound. But Weise said he didn’t want to. He was fine. So everyone agreed it was just an “accident” and Sopiak pitched the next pitch, a ball, and then lobbed the next ball in which hit Weise again on the arm. Another “accident” Sax ruled. So he was still up. Weise never did hit anything hard down the first-base line though. Whew! From behind the mound just as I had called “Play Ball” for the beginning of the the top of the eighth, an infielder for the artists called to me and asked for time out. He pointed to right field. Out there, Artist Alec Baldwin had turned his back on the field to talk over the snow fence there with three admirers, one of whom was holding a baby. It was only 10 seconds until he turned around and trotted up a few feet to his position. So then it was time in. He later told me he had been called over by the fan because she said the baby had been named after him. Among those famous playing in this game this year was Jim Leyritz, the New York Yankee who during the World Series against Atlanta in 1996 hit the home run that turned the tide and gave the Yanks their last championship. In an interview after the game, a reporter asked him what it felt like to hit that blast. “I just got a single here,” he said. “Same thing.” And still another incident during this game was the collapse of an inflatable 12-foot-high Snapple bottle, which was attached to the snow fence in centerfield. I think it had something to do with “hit the Snapple bottle” and win a prize. There were lots of sponsors for this game. Anyway, it wiggled down to the ground all of a sudden. Later, the Snapple people inflated it back up as we approached the grand finale of the game. So here was the big mistake I apparently made. It was in the top of the ninth inning with two out and the Artists up. They had pulled to within one run in the top of the eighth with a (continued on page 42)

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