Featured Member - July 2018

Tom Gibbons

Outside of umpiring, what do you do for a living?

"I work as an Inside Sales & Service Representative for TDI, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Tire Distributors.  TDI is the largest wholesale tire distributor in Central Maryland and Northern Virginia."

When and where did you begin umpiring?

"First time I ever strapped on the gear and stood behind HP was when I joined the Association."

In what year did you join Harford County Umpires Association?

"2012."

Where else have you umpired? 

"Only HCUA and Harford County.  I’ve never had a desire to work for another Association."

What's been your proudest achievement in umpiring?

"Drawing the plate for a Championship final is always nice.  Actually had the plate on Cal Sr for the opening game of the 2017 season.  That was cool.  But the proudest achievement?  Having a coach or parent from the LOSING team come-up to me after a game to congratulate me on the game I called.  Doesn’t happen very often, but it does make me proud.  And being able to step between the lines with my son, AJ, now in his fifth year.  As a Dad, working a game with your son couldn’t make you more proud."

What was the strangest situation you've ever been involved with while umpiring?

"This year, a night game on Cal Sr.  I was in “C.”  Runner on 2B broke for 3B on an attempted steal.  3B received throw as the runner slid into the bag.  Players’ legs became entangled and 3B goes down in agony.  Ran over to see 3B’s right ankle wasn’t properly aligned.  Had to stop the game as AFD was called.  They backed an ambo up-to the CF fence and rolled a stretcher across the field.  Pretty scary and surreal."

Funniest Heckle you've ever heard while umpiring?

"I can think of two:

Worked a game with AJ, who had the bases.  Not once, but twice, coach went out to argue calls at 2B.  In the first inning.  After his second unsuccessful argument, as he left the field, he turned ‘round and yelled at him: “YOU’RE A HOT MESS!” Granted, game-time temp was 99 degrees. That cracked me up.

Working the plate of a hard fought Championship final.  11-10, game was two hours plus old, bottom six.  I punch-out the lead-off hitter on a beautiful 3-2 curve.  I had inside corner at the knees.  A parent on the home side of the fence remarks: “What? Do you have a date tonight?”  That one was good, too."

Do you have a goal that you are hoping to achieve this year?

"Continue to work hard, draw more Sunday afternoon assignments and make the Association and its members proud of the effort on the field."

What's the best advice you would give to a new umpire?

"Learn the rulebook.  Learn how to apply and take constructive criticism from fellow Blue.  Ask for advice.  Communicate with your partner before, during and after the game.  Use hand signals.  Know your proper positions and rotations.  Hustle.  Always be moving to try and get the best angle.  Be humble.  Have thick skin and learn to keep quiet, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.  Interact with the players.  Try to make them smile.  Remind them it’s just a “game.” Have your equipment & uni’s clean.  Take pride in the fact you’re representing the Association.  Rely on your training, knowledge, and experience.  Be confident in your abilities.  Remember to always say “thank you.”  And above all, respect the game.  Always."

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Tom Gibbons, left, with his son, AJ, right.

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