The home plate umpire for Wednesday's Daytona Cubs-Fort Myers Miracle game may have been figuratively "blind," but he wasn't experiencing any problems with his hearing.
It led to one of the funnier scenes we'll see from a minor-league game all season as umpire Mario Seneca took immediate objection to hearing "Three Blind Mice" playing after he had made a questionable call at Daytona's Jackie Robinson Ballpark. The umpire wheeled around and motioned to the press box that Derek Dye — a DJ intern on summer break from the University of Illinois — was getting the old heave-ho.
Dye said Seneca initially had trouble spotting him in the press area.
"I thought it was me though; I knew it was my fault," he said. "I didn't think he'd get angry. I just started laughing. I was shocked. Disbelief."
Daytona's PA announcer sat silently at his desk, while Dye was stunned.
"I think it's a pretty popular children's fable," Dye said. "He's umpiring the game tomorrow, so I don't think I'll be playing it anytime soon."
On his Facebook page, Seneca posted, "The good news is that I called my league president afterwards, and he said I did the correct thing. His opinion is pretty much the only one that matters, since he's my boss."
Did Seneca do the correct thing? Probably. While I've heard ballparks and arenas play "Three Blind Mice" in the presence of officials before, it's usually in a pregame setting and not in a heated and controversial moment. Officials have little tolerance for any actions they deem to be baiting the crowd. The most famous example occurred at Wrigley Field in 2001 when major-league umpire Angel Hernandez ejected former football player Steve "Mongo" McMichael during the seventh-inning stretch. The Monster of the Midway had caused the crowd of over 40,000 to roar when he yelled he was going to have a talk with Hernandez after a controversial play in the sixth inning. While it was a classic Chicago moment, it wasn't the safest environment for Hernandez and his crew to be working in.
Still, that doesn't mean that ejecting some kid getting class credit for suffering through a summer of Black Eyed Peas and Maroon 5 "songs" isn't funny as all get out. In fact, I think more minor-league teams should look into making random personnel ejections part of the gameday experience. Deejays, hot dog vendors, the old local man keeping score. I'd pretty much pay to see all of those people get the boot in entertaining fashion.
Well, as long as they also got the opportunity to argue with the umpire on-field.
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