Alright … anybody who wants to be a Major League umpire, raise your hand. Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Which is why my flabber was fully gasted when I read about Jen Pawol. Not only does she wanna be an umpire, she’s a she — completely devoid of the Y chromosome that comes standard with every Major League umpire that’s ever donned a chest protector; a piece of equipment that takes on a whole new meaning when a woman is wearin’ it.
Jen isn’t the first female to make her way through the ranks to the Rookie Leagues, but she could end up bein’ the first to stand toe to painted toe nails with a manager who’d like to rearrange her face. This is something I have a hard time gettin’ my big fat head around. I mean, why would a woman wanna be an umpire? Why does anybody want that job? Seriously. Why subject yourself to the spittle-ladened Lou Piniella impersonations dished by the guys on the field, and the constant, unrelenting, mean-spirited kind from the average schmo sittin’ in the cheap seats?
For a woman it’s gonna be worse. No two ways about it. You’ll have all the usual seein’-eye dog insults, but on top of that you’ll get the kind that are specifically tailored to Susie U:
• Hey, who let you outta the kitchen?
• What the hell do you need a chest protector for?
• You’re gonna need a lot more perfume if you’re gonna make calls like that.
• After this inning, bring me another beer, will ya?
• Hey, nice job with the plate. How ’bout sweepin’ my floors after the game, too?
• I guess you got distracted when you dropped your nail file.
• How’d you like rubbin’ those balls down before the game?
Lord knows there’s no love lost between me and umpires, and insulting everything from their eye sight to intelligence falls under what I would call “proper etiquette” for baseball fans. But yellin’ at one that’s a woman ain’t kosher somehow. I mean, when you’re taught to respect women — and I was — barkin’ at one seems flat out rude. I make an exception for a certain presidential candidate, but then there’s no real evidence that she’s human, let alone a woman. She could be a teletubby in those pantsuit things, so I wouldn’t necessarily be violating anything in the official Schlombowski rule book.
No offense to women (although it’s probably waaaaay too late to say that) but I’m not convinced that they’d make the greatest umpires, anyway. Of course Helen Keller woulda been better than Joe West is, so I could be totally wrong about that. But take driving, for instance. Put a windshield in front of a woman … ka-flooey! … she goes blind. It’s un-friggin’-canny. Maybe a mask would have a similar effect. I don’t know. And then there’s the whole spacial relationship problem (which I think is loosely related to the driving thing). Bein’ able to decide if a ball is inside or outside of an imaginary zone relies on spacial relationships, pal. Personally — and you can call me whatever you want when I say this — I don’t think women can possibly be as good with that. Why? Cuz they’ve always been told that 4 inches is 6 inches … if you know what I mean. It’s distorted the whole spacial thing for the entire gender.
I would like to see Jen make it to the Bigs, though. I mean really … other than the kind made of horse hide and little red stitches, you don’t need balls to be an umpire. I’d also like to see how guys argue with her, cuz arguing with a woman is definitely not the same as arguing with a guy. And guys, you know what I’m sayin’, right? It’s like arguing with a wall. It’s got somethin’ to do with women’s logic, which seems like no logic at all, but because other women understand it perfectly, there must be somethin’ to it. The missus is shakin’ her head “yes.”
Anyway, good luck, Jen. Hope I get to yell at you and your dog in Chicago.