Stay Out of Shape the Major League Umpire Way

As someone preparing to watch a great deal of post-season baseball from the comfort of an easy chair, beer in hand, I find myself asking the question ”How do major league umpires manage to stay in such lousy shape all season long?”

The answer is, it isn’t easy.  You don’t get a body like former ump “Cowboy” Joe West overnight–it takes years of abuse and neglect.

West:  No performance-enhancing drugs were used to develop this major-league chin scrotum.

At the major league level, an in-season routine typically consists of a day of strength conditioning followed by a day of aerobic exercise.  On your “strength” day, tear the tops off ten small bags of potato chips, followed by ten reps of 12-ounce curls using lager beer bottles, and NOT “lite” beer.  If you want to develop an explosive style for the called-strike punch-out, you must use regular beer.

Oriole sandwich, hold the mayo.

On your aerobic exercise day, warm up with twenty-meter dashes from your car into a local McDonald’s franchise for an Egg McMuffin, followed by jump sprints from your living room couch to the kitchen to fetch pork rinds and more beer.  Remember to keep drinking–you need to stay hydrated!

West and Brian Gorman, umpire’s locker room, Fenway Park

The very nature of an umpire’s job makes it difficult to stay out of good shape–you’re out there in the fresh air and the sunshine every day getting exercise, for Christ sake!  To achieve your “personal best,” you need to force yourself to go back to the all-you-can-eat buffet for thirds or fourths.  It’s hard, I know, but the discipline will pay off.

Young ump wannabes who want to gain weight the Blue Crew way can train with a home exercise DVD approved by Major League Baseball.  “Stay Out of Shape the Major League Umpire Way” is a forty-five minute workout video that features some of the game’s greats putting a group of overweight boys through their paces to Pachelbel’s “Canon,” the slow-as-molasses classical piece made popular by the movie “Kramer vs. Kramer.”

Kramer vs. Kramer:  “Daddy, please make the music stop.”

It teaches kids to slow down.  Which is very helpful for the thoughtful, delayed ‘out’ call at first base.

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “This Just In–From Gerbil News Network.”

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