Tonight’s Mets/Phillies game had a short on-field delay in the first inning. What was the cause of this delay? It was not weather related or a pitching change and there were no injuries. Wait for it…
The game was delayed because the home plate umpire swallowed his dip and needed to go throw up. That’s right, a professional sporting event was halted because the man calling balls and strikes accidentally gulped down his chew. The offending home plate umpire Brian O’Nora left the game after the 1st inning.
Aside from this being disgusting, it’s pretty hilarious but it’s not even the most ridiculous umpire-related delay this season. Two weeks ago, the Nats/White Sox game was delayed 15 minutes because the umpires were stuck in traffic on the way to the ballpark. You can’t make this stuff up.
The real lesson here is that umpires are people too. Sometimes they make the wrong call, sometimes they’re stuck in traffic and sometimes they swallow their Big League Chew.
As baseball creeps more and more towards new technology with video replay and an automated strike zone, please don’t forget about the human element of the game and the role the umpires play. Where will our chewing tobacco and traffic-related delays will come from? Those can’t just go by the wayside, they’re just too funny.
UPDATE (4/30): It turns out Brian O’Nora actually did not swallow his dip as was previously reported but left the game early because he was feeling ill. He has since been diagnosed with an intestinal tear. I apologize to him and take back everything I said.
The umps getting stuck in traffic still really happened though and that’s still hilarious.