Thursday, August 16, 2012

Angel Behind the Plate

We tend to forget that coaches and players are people, too. We forget that they are capable of mistakes, have families and a life outside of their sport. What about the officials? We forget they’re human, too, which means they won’t get every call right. Furthermore, we forget they are also capable of greatness in their own way.

MLB umpire has been called one of the worst by various people throughout baseball. Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said “Angel is just bad,” reported by NBC Sports. Washington Nationals’ rookie sensation Bryce Harper got into a full-blown argument with him during a game. But what each of these Angel bashings failed to mention was Hernandez’s incredible charity work in south Florida.

Hernandez is the Chairman of the Board of the West Pembroke Pines Miracle League. The Miracle League was formed in 1998 to enable disabled children to participate in little league baseball. The Miracle League is a nationwide group started by the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association in Rockdale, Ga. The slogan of the league is “Because every child deserves to play baseball.”
“I am blessed with the opportunity of seeing children who normally wouldn’t have the chance to play baseball do just that,” Hernandez wrote on the Angel Miracle League website. “[This is] a cause very dear to my heart.”

Remember Dick Bavetta? Of course you don’t. Like most officials he is not known—until he really messes up. Let me jog your memory with the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. The race against Charles Barkley on TNT was a pretty interesting event. Ah, now you remember. Well that little race against the Round Mound of Rebound raised $75,000 for the Las Vegas Boys & Girls Clubs.

Despite grumblings Bavetta is a bad referee, he is 72 and has been an official for 37 years without missing a game. In addition to being the ironman of officiating, Bavetta established and finances the Lady Bavetta Scholarships for minority students, which he started in 1986. He has also volunteered with the Double-H Hole in the Woods Ranch which helps with childhood cancer and HIV.

It’s a shame that these are the conditions it had to come under, but Shannon Eastin is breaking history. If we can recognize in the great acts officials have done off the field, we should also recognize refs need to be taken care of financially and the NFL refs are on strike because they’re not satisfied with the money they’re receiving from the NFL.

Although the gloomy business side of the game has led to replacement referees, it has opened the door for Shannon Eastin to become the first woman referee. Thursday during the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers preseason game she made her debut on the NFL level. Eastin, an official in lower level college football for years, is one of the many replacement refs under scrutiny during the 2012 preseason.

With the news that the replacement refs may continue into the regular season many fans and players are less than thrilled, but it is nice to see these refs, like Eastin make their personal dreams come true by refereeing at the highest level.

I know it’s tough for us to remember, but the officials you want to call “idiot” “blind” or other derogatory terms are people, as well. They can achieve great accomplishments and are susceptible to downfalls, too. As much as we don’t care about refs and their personal lives, it’s nice to the human side besides the “stripes” and the good side behind “blue".


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  2. I really like your point here. People, including myself, easily forget that umpires and refs are human. They do their best and they have feelings. I had to force myself to take a step back and refocus during the "NFL replacement ref situation". As an umpire, you would think I'd know better.
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