Tim McClelland, who has been a major league umpire for 31 years, will miss the entire 2014 season due to a back injury. And he sounds less than optimistic that he’ll be back for 2015 or ever again:
“I’m not working this year,” said McClelland, of West Des Moines. “I’m not retiring, I’m just on the disabled list. I’m going to rest, and we have to re-evaluate at the end of the year.”
When asked if sitting out a season had the potential to provide enough relief for a return to baseball, McClelland said he was unsure.
“Possibly. Possibly,” he said. “We don’t know.”
McClelland, whose most famous moment was almost certainly calling George Brett out in the Pine Tar Game, was the second most senior umpire in the majors after Joe West.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.