The St. Paul Saints are no strangers to creative promotions, but they have may outdone themselves this time. They have scheduled what is being called an “umpireless game” for Saturday, May 11 when they take on the Gary SouthShore Railcats in an exhibition game.
In lieu of umpires, the Saints will have a judge in a robe stand behind the pitcher’s mound to call balls and strikes. Meanwhile, 12 little leaguers will serve as a “jury” to decide if runners are safe or out. Any ties will be broken by the judge on the field. Fans will also be able to take their disputes to a “judge” in the main seating bowl of the stadium. While this has the potential to be the longest game ever, the Saints believe that it will serve as an educational experience.
“We respect all baseball umpires and believe this promotion will allow our ‘jurors’ and both teams to realize how important they really are to the game,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer. “This is something that has never been attempted before and I think it will make for an interesting and intriguing nine innings of baseball.”
This might be worth going to, if only so you can yell, “Robot judges, now!”
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.