Friday night, I almost lost a job I don't have, which would have cost me nothing because I'm volunteering my time umpiring baseball for free.

In Tampa right now, Little League Baseball is hosting something called The All Star Tournament. They don't pay their umpires for this. I asked the guy in charge of our district why they don't pay their umpires.

He said, “We're a nonprofit organization. Everyone volunteers.”

My response: “Bullshit.”

He said, “Excuse me?”

I said, “Little League pays you, they pay their brass and everyone else on their staff. They collect money just like the Red Cross, which pays a whole shit-load of people?some more than six figures. That's a bullshit excuse. People in NPOs still get paid. You don't pay umpires so you can make more money.”

He changed the subject.

Now, I volunteered with the hopes that I would see some games that were worth a crap. I have not. These kids suck.

Anyway, while I was suffering through a 17 to 5 fiasco, I actually had fans yelling and screaming at me and coaches questioning my calls. And I was volunteering my time. And the coaches and fans were screaming about a game they lost by 12 runs. Folks, no umpire can make 12 runs happen. It's statistically impossible.

As I was escorted to the Umpire Changing Room by two Little League staff members and my friend and fellow umpire, Bobby (to protect me from the rabid fans of baseball's mental retards), rednecks screamed and threw stuff at me. I said nothing.

Well, until I got past the fence and in the parking lot. Then I said to Bobby, who was escorting me, “I've seen ten year olds play better baseball.”

And I said it loud enough that the fans of baseball's mental midgets could hear me. And the stupid rednecks responded as I thought they would. They said they were gonna wait for me in the parking lot.

When I got back to the Umpire Meeting Room, I had to explain to the district manager why I had a miniature riot on my field. After a few minutes of explanation, Ken (I think that's his name) told me that he would need me to “buck up” if I wanted to continue volunteering my time.

I laughed loudly.

“So,” I said. “My choices are, keep doing what I'm doing and enjoy my weekend off or kiss your ass and get to continue working for free?”

Again, he changed the subject.

After I had changed clothes and was ready to go, one of my fellow umpires, my friend Bobby, said, “Well, we better walk you to your car. There's about twenty people waiting for you in that parking lot.”

“Yeah. Twenty presumptuous people.”

“Huh?” asked Bobby.

“Bobby,” I said. “I know this neighborhood. I parked under the lights at the Boys and Girls club.”

“Shit,” said Bobby. “I wonder how long them fools'll stand there.”

According to Donnie, the umpire who stayed the longest that night, those fans were there for at least a few hours later than me. He even told me that those rednecks were openly planning what they were gonna do to me when I came out of the Umpire Room.

Said Donnie, “Nate, I told them that you were hiding in the room, totally scared, and that you weren't leaving until they did.”

“What'd they say?”

“Said they could wait forever.”

Stupid fucks. They could have spent that time teaching their kids how to throw strikes.

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