In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 20, 2007 / 6 Elul, 5767

Diamond-hard integrity

By George Will

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | PHILADELPHIA — On a recent night here, as on most summer nights for 37 years, Bruce Froemming went to work. He performed for about three hours in front of a large, attentive and opinionated audience. His job involves about 290 snap judgments, any of which might infuriate thousands of people. He has done his job well if no one notices him doing it. His goal is anonymous perfection.

At less than 5-foot-8 and more than 250 pounds, Froemming, 67, looks like he might have siblings at Stonehenge. But in this summer of dismal developments in sports — a left fielder suspected of better hitting through chemistry; an NFL quarterback accused of dogfighting; an NBA referee guilty in a betting scandal; the Tour de France ruined by failed drug tests — Froemming is a sight for sore eyes.

Now in his 37th and final major-league season — after 13 in the minors — he holds the record for most consecutive seasons of big-league umpiring. His 5,127 games, through today, are second only to Bill Klem (5,374), who did not have in-season vacations. If Froemming had not had 28 days off each of the past 28 summers, he would have worked nearly 6,000 games. He has spent more than 46,000 innings and about 1 1/2 years on baseball diamonds, a well-spent life.

Pitch by pitch, baseball produces a rich sediment of numbers, such as: Every fourth day, Froemming is behind the plate. Over his career, the average game has involved about 290 pitches, so he has been behind the plate for more than 370,000 pitches. Has he given strict scrutiny — a Supreme Court concept is apposite when discussing baseball's judicial branch — to every one? Yes, he says. Really? His attention never flags during, say, a late inning in an August game in front of a small crowd in Tampa Bay? Never, he insists. "Every pitch is important to someone."


Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

Baseball now has an electronic system for grading home plate umpires' performances. Froemming says it shows that umpires are right 94 percent of the time, but "you get a lot of crap for the other 6 percent."

Early in his career, working behind the plate in a game involving Bob Gibson, the Cardinals' regal and ferocious Hall of Fame pitcher, Froemming made some calls that displeased Gibson. At the end of an inning, he quietly said to Froemming, "You're better than that." Froemming says, "I remember that like it was yesterday."

A story for Froemming: Rogers Hornsby, who averaged.400 over five years, was facing a rookie pitcher who threw three pitches that he thought were strikes but that the umpire called balls. The rookie shouted a complaint to the umpire, who replied: "Young man, when you throw a strike, Mr. Hornsby will let you know."

So, a question for Froemming: Is it true, as is said, that umpires give great hitters and pitchers the benefit of the doubt on close pitches? "Not one bit," he says.

Okay, then, another question: Suppose it is the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of a World Series, two outs, the potential tying run on third, two strikes on a right-handed batter. He starts to swing, tries to stop his bat and the home plate umpire calls the pitch a ball. But the catcher asks the home plate umpire to ask the first base umpire, who has a better vantage point, to say if the batter swung. The home plate umpire accedes to this request. You, Froemming, are at first. You think the batter did swing. But seriously: Are you going to end a seven-game World Series on a check-swing appeal call? "Yes."

He might. Consider Sept. 2, 1972, when Froemming was behind the plate and the Cubs' Milt Pappas was one strike from doing what only 15 pitchers have done — pitch a perfect game, 27 up, 27 down. With two outs in the ninth, Pappas got an 0-2 count on the 27th batter. Froemming called the next three pitches balls. An agitated Pappas started walking toward Froemming, who said to the Cubs' catcher: "Tell him if he gets here, just keep walking" — to the showers.

Pappas's next pitch was low and outside. Although he did get his no-hitter, the greater glory — a perfect game — was lost. Another kind of glory — the integrity of rules — was achieved.

The photographer Edward Steichen said that when G-d created his brother-in-law, the poet Carl Sandburg, G-d didn't do anything else that day. When the Intelligent Designer designed Froemming, He spent the rest of the day at a ballpark because He had done a good day's work by producing an archetype: The Umpire.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.


© 2006 WPWG