College baseball umpire Reggie Drummer went viral for making a call that most people thought was outrageous and uncalled for.
Now, Drummer is saying that the reason he felt like he had to end the at-bat was, in part, due to the racial abuse he was receiving from the crowd.
The incident in question was an extremely questionable strike-three call that ended an early March game between New Orleans and Mississippi Valley State.
The batter, Davon Mims, had an animated response to the first awful called strike. Then Drummer rang him up on a ball down and away in the dirt, absurdly far away from anywhere close to the strike zone, and the game ended.
Drummer was suspended after the game for the call.
The umpire explained what happened on a recent appearance on The Plate Meeting podcast on CloseCallSports.com, saying that fans were verbally abusive and used racist language toward him.
Drummer, who is Black, said that Mississippi Valley State fans used specific racial slurs to show their displeasure with his calls.
“I’m not upset,” he said. “I’m more hurt because I’m getting all this from my people when I know I’m calling a good game, I’m calling a fair game.”
As for the offending at bat, Drummer said he wished he’d handled it differently and it was a lapse in judgment.
“I should have ejected him when he pointed,” Drummer said. “By this time, my lapse of judgment is through the roof because I was sitting here saying, ‘I can’t believe my own people have treated me like this for three hours.’ And I said to myself … ‘I feel like I’m on an island and I just want to get out of here.'”
He says he then told himself that he was going to call anything close to the plate as a strike to get out of there.
“I called a bad pitch, which I regret,” he said. “I apologize for doing that, but I just wanted to get out of a hostile environment because I’d never been in a situation like that.”
It’s unfortunate that the situation played out as it did, but it’s always worth considering there might be more to the story than what we initially see.
[ ABC News ]
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