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

Crews successfully battle overnight house fire in Tie Lake

No injuries, home damage minimal thanks to quick response by crews

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

UPDATED: Pratt to be acclaimed as Cranbrook mayor

Mayor will serve another term after running unopposed in the upcoming municipal election

Eight cattle dead in tunnel crash

RCMP thanks agencies after cattle truck crash; investigates vehicle and thrift store thefts

Parlez-vous français? Fernie students do!

Francophone and schools offering French immersion popular among Elk Valley families

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Youth give back to community

On August 30, Eliora and William Vandersteen, Matthew White, Isla Vandersteen, Alexis… Continue reading

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read