Over the course of four years, prolific baseball writer and editor Bill Nowlin interviewed 72 major league umpires, another two dozen call-up and AAA umpires, and four umpire supervisors. The result is the most complete and intimate portrait ever done of a vitally important yet largely unappreciated aspect of professional baseball.
Nowlin’s deep knowledge of the game and of umpiring and his conversational interview style provide the perfect setting for the umpires to open up about themselves and their profession, and they do. From part-time call-ups to 30+ year veterans, the profiles that take shape transform the “men in blue” from anonymous background figures to fully formed characters—passionate, dedicated, driven, grateful.
Join all the big-name umpires and young up-and-comers as they describe the challenges, frustrations, and disappointments they have faced, while they speak to the excitement and honor of being at the pinnacle of their profession, all the while mixing in funny and poignant moments from their careers.
By the end of Working a “Perfect Game,” readers not only have a detailed picture of the day-to-day life of a major league umpire, but also an authentic understanding of the personalities and people hidden behind the mask of the game’s arbiters.
Bill Nowlin's book is divided into two parts: A collection of interviews, followed by a behind-the-scenes look at everything umpire, from school, to the minor leagues, to getting the call, to spring training, to favorite positions, to instant replay, and more. Read about
- The long, hard road to reaching the majors, from umpire school, to the low minors, onward to Triple A until getting the call – 10 years or more of grueling travel, cheap hotels, and low pay
- The passion that drives umpires – the pursuit of perfection and the love of baseball
- The variety of ways the umps got started and who helped them keep their eyes on the prize
- The never-ending logistics – airplanes, hotels, different cities, different ballparks
- Life under a microscope, with every ball and strike and every safe and out evaluated electronically, with results tabulated and reported and game tapes published
- Ejections – a necessary task, but one that is anything but relished, and why every umpire recalls the first time he gave someone the thumb
- The thrill of post season baseball, from the joy of getting the call to the intense pressure of the ultimate baseball spotlight
- The burden and privilege of being the ultimate upholders of the integrity of baseball, a responsibility that they take very seriously
Working a “Perfect Game” will give you deep insight into and understanding of the most important part of baseball no one knows about – umpiring. You’ll never watch a game the same way.
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