Someone Get Welke on the Horn!by Steve Everett 6/7/2011
On a hot and humid Monday evening, the Industrials and the Friars were dueling it out on the Oshtemo Township Park Wiffle Ball Field. After a grueling 9 inning game that was a hard fought pitchers match-up, the Industrials came out on top winning 1-0. But the real story came in the second game with the pitching match-up of Brian Meyers and Kevin Marszalek. The game was a wonderful game, but I don’t want to bore you all with the early innings, so let’s fast forward to the top of the 6th inning.
So it’s the top of the 6th, two outs, runners on first and second with “The Icon” Kevin Marszalek up to bat with his team down three runs. Brian throws a curveball to Kevin. Kevin swings and hits a long fly ball to left field. I follow the ball to the fence where I leap up in the air, stretch out my right arm and catch the ball. I held onto the ball, my butt hit the fence, and the momentum carried me over the fence where I landed flat on my back…yes that hurt.
The rest of my team started cheering because we felt that we had won the game because that catch was the 3rd out in the 6th inning, game over. The Friars were unsure of the ruling, so they kept running the bases as all three base runners had stopped in the base paths because they were unsure on what the rule was. Marszalek instructed his team to keep running the bases and to “touch ‘em all”. This is where all of the fun started.
Because nobody truly knew what the rule in the KWL was about a play like this, people started to pull out their phones and check the KWL website to see if there was a rule for this type of play. There was no rule in the KWL rulebook. So Brian Meyers pulled out his HTC Evo 4G and began to search google for the MLB ruling while Ben Gladysz searched through the full MLB Rulebook online. It was in that moment that professional cameraman, and fellow wiffle baller Ryan Winfield said these words, “I wish we had Tim Welke’s phone number.”
For those of you that do not know, Tim Welke is a MLB Umpire from Kalamazoo. His brother, Bill Welke, is also an MLB Umpire who resides in Marshall, Michigan. Bill Welke’s son is an athlete at Marshall High School where I am the Athletic Trainer. I was talking to Bill in February about getting ImPact Concussion Testing implemented in Marshall Athletics when he told me to e-mail him the cost of getting the ImPact program in Marshall, and his program that he founded in Marshall would pay for it. He then handed me his business card. Little did I know that this business card would come in handy for more than just high schooler’s safety…
After Ryan Winfield said, “I wish we had Tim Welke’s phone number,” I said, “Wait, I have his brother’s phone number!” I quickly went to my wallet where I had Bill Welke’s business card. Luckily, the card had his cell phone number. I then called Bill Welke not knowing what to expect. He answered, “Bill Welke.”
Steve Everett - “Bill Welke. Hi, this is Steve Everett, the Athletic Trainer at Marshall High School”
Bill Welke - “Hi Steve, how’s it going?”
S.E. - “Good. I have a baseball related question for you.”
B.W. - “Well, you’re talking to the right guy. I’m actually in San Diego with four other baseball umpires. Here, let me put you on speaker phone.” (He places me on speaker phone and says “Go ahead.” I then explain the situation to him and the other umpires.)
B.W. - “If a fielder catches a ball, then goes out of bounds it is then ruled a catch (out), and if there are runners on base, the runners move up one base. Right guys?” (I can then hear the other umpires confirming his call)
S.E. - “Well thank you very much Bill, I appreciate you answering this question for me. Good luck tonight at your game at San Diego!”
“B.W. - No problem Steve. Have a good night”
S.E. - “Bye Bill.”
B.W. - “Bye Steve.”
With this ruling, it gave the Indies a win over the KWL Champions and completed the sweep. So, thank you Bill Welke and the rest of the crew working the Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres games on 6/6/2011. It’s always great to have a Major League Baseball Umpire’s phone number at your fingertips.