If you had two umpires regulating a baseball game, as most lower level minor league games do, and one of the umpires had to leave in the middle because of injury or illness, what would you do? How about calling on a couple of players from the home team to be replacement umps.
That’s exactly what happened on August 11th in a South Atlantic League (A-ball) game at Delmarva. As the sixth inning concluded with Delmarva beating West Virginia 10-1, home plate umpire Dan Oliver started to feel the ill-effects of post-concussion syndrome— the result of a grade two concussion he had suffered a couple of days before. Oliver had to depart the game, leaving base umpire Tim Bretzke in a lurch. Instead of umpiring the rest of the game on his own, Bretzke decided to use a couple of players to cover for Oliver. According to West Virginia Power GM Andy Milovich, this incident had precedence from a year ago, and the officials of the South Atlantic League had informed umpires it was okay to use players to fill in if a situation like this should arise again. So, Bretzke delegated Delmarva outfielder Daniel Figueroa to umpire first base, and Delamrva pitcher Josh Potter to umpire third base.
At this point West Virginia protested, but not because of the Delmarva players being assigned as umps, but because they thought that Dan Oliver, still suffering post-concussion syndrome, was unfit to umpire the game in the first place. Supposedly, Bretzke was going to have one player from each team umpire, but West Virginia manager Ramon Aviles was so upset that Oliver had been allowed to work the game that he told Bretzke to just go ahead and have the Delmarva guys do the job.
There were no controversial calls for the rest of the game and Delmarva went on to win 12-3. While we are still awaiting word from the South Atlantic League Office on this
matter, according to a veteran minor league official scorer,
normally in this occurence the remaining umpire would finish the game
by himself. However, it should be noted that each league is independent
and has its own set of rules for situations like this.
Carl The Cabbie