Master Kushikimi-San's

Manager Fired after Kicking Dirt at Blind Kid

In Baseball, Humor, News, Satire, Sports, Tidbits on October 7, 2010 at 18:22

Master Kushikimi-San 

The Columbus Clippers should have considered the possibility of a pennant race when granting 12 year old Franklin Meyers his wish of being an umpire.  

The story begins eight months ago at the Ohio State School for the Blind in Columbus, Ohio, when little Franklin was called into the Principal’s office.  “Mr. Reynolds would like to see Franklin, he’s got some very exciting news to share with him,” said school secretary Madeline Rogers, “Something about a baseball game…”

“The minute she said the word baseball I knew it had to be the Dare to Dream Foundation on the phone, I just knew it!” Franklin exclaimed.  “I couldn’t wait to get to Mr. Reynolds’ office to hear the news!”  Mrs. Rogers told us that she had some trouble containing the boy, as it was necessary for her to carefully guide him down the halls and into the office.  “He was so excited, he almost bumped right into a water fountain!”

The Foundation notified Franklin that the Columbus Clippers, a minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, had agreed to let Franklin make one call from the field during their September 3rd meeting with cross-state rivals the Toledo Mud Hens.  Franklin was elated; he would finally get the chance to live out his dream of being a professional umpire, something his disability would never allow him to do. 

The problem arose when the Columbus Clippers found themselves in a heated race with the Louisville Bats for the International League West Division title.  Having already promised Dare to Dream, not to mention young Franklin, that they would grant his wish, there was little they could do in terms of trying to wiggle out of the deal.  Therefore, the team decided to let Franklin umpire for just one pitch; the very first pitch. 

At the start of the game the Clippers made their way onto the field, and so did Franklin, a smile from ear to ear, accompanied by his father.  What happened next, nobody expected.  Mud Hens second baseman Scott Snyder took the first pitch and rocketed it down the first base line.  The ball seemed to hook and land quite obviously to the right of the foul line, that is until Franklin exclaimed, “fair ball!'”

As the Clippers players looked on in disbelief, Snyder continued to round the bases, second, then third, until finally making it home for an inside the park home run.  Ron Warner, the Clippers’ manager bolted out of the dugout and over to Franklin.  “Are you kidding me?!  The ball was foul!”  Franklin, never known for being shy, shot back, “It was fair!  It was fair!”  Warner looked around towards the other umpires, none of whom had a good angle at the play, and none of whom seemed to want to tell a kid from the Dare to Dream foundation that he made the wrong call.

That was when things turned ugly.  Warner began cursing wildly.  “You little son of a bitch don’t you know we’re in a pennant race here?  How in the name of Jesus do you expect me to believe that you have any idea whether that ball was foul or fair?!”  Franklin leaned towards Warner and said, quite provocatively, “I saw, what I saw…” and threw Warner out of the game.

That’s when Warner decided it would be a good idea to kick dirt onto a blind kid.  “You little bastard!” he shouted as he continued to spray dirt all over Franklin’s shoes.

The Clippers ended up losing the game 5-3, and ultimately missing out on the division crown by just a half of a game.

As for Franklin’s shoes, his father later explained that he had purchased those shoes just one week prior to the game, as Franklin told him that he wanted to look like a professional umpire. 

When asked after the game if he had any regrets on what had transpired, or if he might at least consider buying the kid a new pair of shoes, Ron Warner stated, “big deal, he can’t see them anyway.”

The story, thankfully, has a happy ending. 

Ron Warner was fired the very next day.  Team owner John Standish told us that, “from a PR standpoint, there was no way we could continue with Ron as our manager.” 

The Clippers earned a wild card spot in the playoffs and ended up winning the whole damn thing. 

And as for young Franklin?  Well, he told us that the experience was better than he had ever hoped it would be, saying, “I got to live out my first dream of being an umpire, and my second dream of throwing a manager out of the game.”


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