1990, Southern League, Memphis Tennessee, a hundred billion degrees with a hundred billion percent humidity. I’m on the AA Chicks and we’re playing the second game of a double header against someone. To add to the heat, our field is astroturf. And not just any astroturf. I think this might be the first piece of astroturf ever used on a baseball field. It’s so old, the green color has faded into a glaring and heat intensifying white. Fun times.
Anyway, like I said, it’s the second game of a double header and the umpire behind the plate is a guy named Bitchin’ Bud. I won’t use his last name. This guy was a nightmare. He honestly thought he was God’s gift to umpiring. He generally strutted around as if everyone in the stands had paid to watch him call the game.
So, it’s the second inning and super hot and I notice that Bud has stopped talking. He’s also missed a few pitches in a row, (which was nothing out of the ordinary) but the lack of chit-chat from his mouth has me a little concerned.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, our pitcher delivers a 2-0 pitch. The ball gets about half way to me and….the next thing I know, I’m face down in the dirt and Bud is on top of me mumbling for his Mom. I kid you not. I don’t know what the hell has happened so I roll him off me to escape. He’s still deliriously calling for his Mom to make him dinner or something and he’s bright red. Turns out he overheated and passed out on me – mid pitch. Classic. Couldn’t of happened to a better guy.
Apparently, they took him to the the hospital and hooked him up to some IV’s and revived him. And since he only went a couple of innings the day before, they decided to slap him behind the plate for the following night’s game, of which I’m catching again. I take the field in the first inning and put my glove up to catch the warmups, and in big black sharpie ink, just for Bitchin’ Bud to see, someone from our team (Kyle Reese) had written “IT’S NOT HOT BUD, IT’S NOT HOT!!!”