Umpires aren’t supposed to grab headlines. When they do—like when Armando Galarrago 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.
Quick poll: is this punch-out (A) premeditated, or was it (B) the result of a sudden burst of excitement? I'm going with (B), but you can decide for yourself. (Either way it's embarrassing for the ump.)
15. Hoppy the Umpire
Is it just me, or does it look like the umpire is praising God every time he calls a strike? That's cool, though. Most ballplayers thank God every time they do anything—step up to the plate, hit a home run, hit a bloop single, steal a base, or whatever. So why can't umps thank God when they punch out a batter? You think God isn't proud of them, too?
14. The Praise God Punchout
Kids, if you don't know what the Macarena is...google it.
13. Heeeeey Macarena
There are strikes in baseball and there are strikes in bowling.
12. The Bowler
The punch-out itself is pretty nice—both decisive and charismatic—but for me it's overshadowed a bit by the awesome strike two call that preceded it.
11. EEEEE YAHAHA
Sometimes a play is so close that the only way to call it is by punching the kid out not once, but five times. You know, just to make sure everyone got the call.
It's a shame he got this one wrong, though. That kid definitely hits the bag at the same time as the throw, and we all know that the unofficial rule is that the tie goes to the runner. (The official rule states, "A batter is out when after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base." It's the "before he touches first" part that led to the unofficial interpretation that a tie means he's not out.)
10. The Quintuple Punch-Out
This guy's punch-out move—in particular, the little hand gesture at the very end—kind of looks like the way professional wrestlers from the 80s used to talk to the camera and taunt their opponents. If you close your eyes, you can almost see Macho Man Randy Savage behind the plate here...may he rest in peace.
9. The Wrestler
The dude doesn't care if the kid is only 10 years old. He's gonna punch him out with authority.
Suck it up, kid. It's gonna be a long game.
8. The Humiliator
Some umps punch guys out with a little jab. This guy goes with a full-on uppercut. I mean, why not, right?
7. The Uppercut
Just back from a Jackie Chan film festival, this guy opts for the rare kick-out move rather than the more common punch-out. A bold choice, but it works.
6. Karate Ump
If I had the ability to channel lightning and make it do my bidding, this is exactly what I would do—punch little leaguers out like a boss.
Ever seen the New Zealand "All Blacks" rugby team do their "Haka" Maori warrior dance?
Yeah, so has this guy. I especially like how he turns to the batting team's dugout to perform the move. Really rubs it in good.
4. The War Dance
What do you get when you cross Adam Sandler and Michael Jackson, then put him in an umpire uniform? This guy.
If I were an ump, this is the kind of thing I would do. Of course, since I only dance when I'm drunk, I'd probably get fired my first day on the job. (Generally they want people who work with kids to be sober.)
3. The Happy Jackson
This is good. But how much better would it be if this guy could moon walk? I bet the guy in #3 could do it.
2. The Backpedaler
There's just so much to enjoy in this one. I mean, there's the way this guy's pants bisects his big flabby belly. There's the way he seems like he's just about ready to trip over his own feet and fall over. There's the way he starts doing a fancy, twirly "voila" gesture with his hands. And, of course, there's the way he appears to just say, "ah, f--k it" about halfway through said gesture.
All in all, it's a pretty classic punch-out. Thanks, for the laughs, dude.
funny, home plate umpire, punch-out, umpires,