B.C. umpire has developed thick skin after 30 years listening to insults

Scott McLaren pays no mind to comments from the cheap seats

Just when you thought you’d heard it all.

After three decades of umpiring, Penticton’s Scott McLaren has heard it all when it comes to insults yelled from the stands by upset fans but every once in awhile…

“That is, unless they get really creative and then I find that enjoyable as long as it’s funny,” said McLaren, who was the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation Umpire of the Year and is the Sport B.C. official of the year finalist.

Related:Penticton residents in the finals for the Sport B.C. Athlete of the Year Awards

“You go to ballparks and hockey arenas and you hear the same old tried and true insults (I thought only horses sleep standing up, etc.) and you just find those lazy and not really impressive. But then you hear something funny and you go, ‘ah, alright, that’s pretty good.’

“You can’t say it, but that’s great. You do what you have to do but in the meantime, you’re excited to get back to the locker room to talk to your colleagues, ‘hey you can’t believe what this guy said.’”

McLaren started umpiring as a kid because: “I was a baseball and softball nerd so getting to watch games and getting paid for it was a pretty good job, and it beat working fast food.”

There was also the self-realization aspect for him, that where he wanted to go in terms of national teams and international competitions wasn’t going to be as a player.

“I seemed to be getting pretty good at this officiating thing, or at least people think I’m pretty good, and they keep sending me places and I keep getting invited back,” said McLaren.

In particular, it was his work at the WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Championship in Clearwater, Fla. last year which helped him garner the Umpire of the Year award.

He still remembers the call from South Africa, where the WBSC conference was, letting him know he had won the prestigious honour.

“Of course I did what every other person does when their phone rings and it says Botswana. You let it go to voicemail because I don’t know anybody there,” said McLaren with a laugh.

And about why anyone would want to be an official in any sport, knowing any or all calls may bring the wrath of fans showering down upon you? He thought for a moment and said:

“Really it’s love of the sport. You talk to every official and it eventually comes back to that. I absolutely love the sport.”

Overall he believes abuse of officials at most levels, especially by players and coaches, has improved but still has a huge impact on young people who are new to the job and have not yet developed the thicker skin.

“Fans aren’t getting better and it’s a constant challenge across all sports,” said McLaren. “It’s really a heat of the moment thing, everything coming from a biased perspective. People just get caught up in it and really, well you just live with it.”

 

Scott McLaren of Penticton keeps his eye on the ball during softball action last week a Simon Fraser University. Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics/Paul Yates

Penticton’s Scott McLaren behind the plate at a Simon Fraser University game last week. Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics/Paul Yates

Just Posted

Ladysmith Interact club students inspired and inspiring

Ladysmith Secondary School group making a difference in their community

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Windstorm topples tree onto townhouse in Nanaimo

Heavy winds have thousands of B.C. Hydro customers without power

Most Read