Earlier today on Twitter, Kevin Comer(@kevcomer) indicated that he is looking for book recommendations. Comer is, as best I can tell in Extended Spring Training. The right-handed pitcher was acquired by Houston from Toronto last summer.
For Kevin and for anybody else who enjoys baseball and reading, here's some information about the latest book I read.
I just finished As They See 'Em by Bruce Weber. Weber, a sports writer for the New York Times, spent several years following and interviewing Major League and minor league umpires. Weber also attended umpiring school in Florida one year. This book is the product of his travels in the land of the umpires.
Personally, this book looked into an aspect of baseball that I found very fascinating. When I was growing up, my father was a high school basketball referee, and I officiated some basketball myself, so I have had some experience with officials. However, I have never heard much about baseball umpires.
Weber's chronicles includes insights and tales from many umpires who made it to the big leagues and some who never did. He shares stories from the umpire who called George Brett out in the pine tar game and the umpire who mistakenly kept the Royals alive in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series.
Weber also gives readers a look behind the scenes of the relationship between owners and umpires. The book includes an informative account of the events of 1999 that left several Major League umpires out of work.
The most intriguing aspect of the book is the discussion about the strike zone. I had never thought about the different factors that can affect the ball and strike call of an umpire. Mix this complexity in with QuesTec and numerous other factors, and I gained a new appreciation for umpires as I read this book.
So, Kevin and anyone else in the Farmstros Village, if you get a chance, I'd recommend reading As They See 'Em. I'd be interested to know what you, as a professional pitcher, think of it.