Spring training turned into Little League for half an inning on Tuesday.
After home plate umpire Seth Buckminster broke his hand on and errant pitch by Wily Peralta, the Angels-Brewers game was left without a home plate umpire. Anthony Johnson scurried to the back to change into home plate gear, and veteran umpires Tim McClelland and Jim Joyce decided to keep the game moving. That meant McClelland would call strikes from behind the mound.
It was a reminder of the days of Little League when sometimes the equipment shed was locked and the game’s umpires had no choice but to work without padding. Or when someone’s dad had to call the game’s balls and strikes and he didn’t feel comfortable squatting behind the catcher.
Four batters went by with the unusual umpiring alignment before Johnson emerged from the dugout to cheers from the crowd. While McClelland was behind the mound, Josh Hamilton grounded out to end the top of the first, Norichika Aoki singled to second and Rickie Weeks hit a home run. From that minuscule sample size, it appears pitchers are hurt from having an umpire breathing down their neck.
Check out McClelland behind the mound in the video below.