Umpire Realizes He is Piece of Advertising


In the late innings of a Friday contest between two Major League Baseball teams, a home plate umpire who shall remain nameless understood in a flash that, as far as television viewers were concerned, his very own head served interchangeably with the “o” on the “Mobile Bank” sign behind him. He would not be the same.

His eyes grew wide and his jaw set. He forgot the count. According to the catcher it’s 1-2.
Okay, sure, whatever. How long has my head been doing this?
He snuck a glance behind him. “24/7” it read.
All the time! This can’t be true. Do they do this for every board? In every stadium? No, don’t be an idiot. Well how would I know? Someone would say something, surely. Who? Marge doesn’t like to watch the games. I don’t keep in touch with anybody.
Slider outside. “Strike?”
The catcher turned around, “So… he’s out?”
“Huh? Uh, yeah. Batter out. One out in the inning.”
“Two outs, boss.”
This catcher might be playing you. I know, I know. That doesn’t matter, this game is a blowout. This Mobile Bank hogshit is driving me nuts. I don’t want to be complicit with that. Banks and their bailouts. It’s not a good time for me to be associating with, let alone promoting, banks. Everyone expects a bailout. One team gets a 50/50 call their way and the other team expects to get the next call. Happens all the time with the strike zone. Well I don’t give a hoot, I’m not giving any bailouts.
Fastball low. “Ball.”
The batter unfastened and refastened the Velcro straps on his gloves.
I’m emailing the union chief after the game. Well, I’ll get Ramirez to do it, he’s good with his sentences. Maybe I’ll send it to the whole union, see how many of them know about these godforsaken advertisements using our own damn shapes and silhouettes. Mobile Bank never asked me, and I’m not getting a dime to be their “o.” Just typical. In this country you gotta be thinking how to take money out of the next guy’s pocket, or you’re the next guy. The banks are mobile and they’re coming for us. Why didn’t I see it sooner?

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