Umpire Gary Cederstrom falls, does the splits and makes the right call

Mark Townsend

No, that wasn't Enrico Palazzo umpiring third base at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night. It was actually veteran umpire Gary Cederstrom, who's anything but a showboat. Still, for a few quick seconds during the Giants-Royals game, it was difficult to tell the difference.

As noted, Cederstrom was umpiring at third base, which isn't necessarily a night off, but is obviously far less active for an umpire than any of the other three stations. By the same token, many of the plays there are bang-bang calls and require the umpire to be in good position to see what happens.

That was the case on Friday when San Francisco's Joaquin Arias was caught wandering a little too far off the bag after Brandon Crawford swung and missed a pitch in the second inning. Royals catcher Salvador Perez jumped and snapped a throw to third in an attempt to pick Arias off. As Arias slid back into the bag safely, Cederstrom moved into make his call and the moment his foot hit the grass he looked like he stepped on a banana peel.

Down goes, Cederstrom!

And not just down. Down into the splits position, which will definitely test a man's limberness and could easily give him a negative attitude.

Not Cedestrom, though. He was a pro the entire time. He emphatically made a safe motion with his arms, which in and of itself was impressive, and then he made it with his legs.

More impressive? He got the call correct with what had to be a million things going through his mind related to how he was going to survive the landing.

He did, and the smile he cracked afterward sealed the deal.

(MLB.TV)
(MLB.TV)

Well done, well played and well called, Gary Cederstrom.

BLS H/N: Cut 4 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!