Umpires aren’t supposed to grab headlines. When they do—like when Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game, or when Brett Lawrie blew a gasket a few weeks back—it’s usually because they suck. However, every once in a while, an umpire grabs our attention because he is awesome. And usually, “being awesome” for an umpire means having a signature punch-out move.
Now, in case you’re new to baseball, a “punch-out” is when the umpire “calls” a pitch strike three as opposed to a batter swinging and missing. The play gets its name from the traditional punching motion an umpire makes when he decides a pitch is a strike. But many umpires—especially those officiating amateur games—like to spice things up. So instead of a simple punch strike three call, they get a little creative. And this is often either intentionally or unintentionally hilarious.
For today’s list, we bring you 15 awesome, comical umpire punch-outs. In the past, all these acts of umpiring bravado would only have lived on in the memories of those who witnessed them. But today, thanks to smartphones and YouTube, we can all enjoy them forever. God bless technology.