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Umpire Tim McClelland’s career may be over

Apr 3, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

Tim McClelland

Tim McClelland, who has been a major league umpire for 31 years, will miss the entire 2014 season due to a back injury. And he sounds less than optimistic that he’ll be back for 2015 or ever again:

“I’m not working this year,” said McClelland, of West Des Moines. “I’m not retiring, I’m just on the disabled list. I’m going to rest, and we have to re-evaluate at the end of the year.”

When asked if sitting out a season had the potential to provide enough relief for a return to baseball, McClelland said he was unsure.

“Possibly. Possibly,” he said. “We don’t know.”

McClelland, whose most famous moment was almost certainly calling George Brett out in the Pine Tar Game, was the second most senior umpire in the majors after Joe West.

  1. vivabear - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    He’s aged better than George Brett.

    • genericcommenter - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      But he will never be a Royal.

  2. shawndc04 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Too bad. He always got the highest rankings from the players, although he drove the broadcasters crazy by not giving an emphatic strike sign.

    • spudchukar - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      Yeah, not to be crass, and all the best to Tim, but having Tim McClellan say we will have to wait to find out, is pretty much emblematic of his entire career.

  3. snarkk - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    The umps get way way too much attention, a lot of it they bring to themselves. He’s been in long enough, give the job to a young guyl…

  4. juuuuustabitoutside - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Isn’t there a new job he can do that requires watching a TV monitor and determining whether or not the replay shows the umpire on the field made a mistake?
    Not much standing or travel required…

    • phillyphever - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      No, that job’s the only thing keeping Cowboy Joe from umpiring a game.

    • gloccamorra - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      If baseball did replay right, there would be an umpire in the press box replacing the baseball writers as official scorer, ruling on close plays with or without challenges. It would be a lot cheaper and faster for an umpire to review the TV replays the fans at home are seeing and let the home plate umpire know his ruling with simple hand signals. A bonus would be better scoring of the “official” records of the game by getting rid of the “homers” hired by the local teams.

      • dmoas - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        The official scoring of plays shouldn’t be handled by an umpire. That part of the game is fine aside from the absurdity of some of the MLB rules. They also don’t get paid very much so there’s very little cost benefit in having an ump do it and worse it keeps him from focusing 100% of his attention on the game. Annnnd they aren’t hired by the teams. They’re hired by MLB.

        And real umps work the replays in NY. They have one singular set up for it instead of 30 different ones. Whether that’s actually better for the game or not is debatable (I’d side with you in wanting them in the park).

    • ickythump58 - May 23, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Now there’s a great AND intelligent idea. He would be great at that.

  5. Matthew Pouliot - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Given McClellan’s tendencies, it’s no surprise we’re not hearing about his decision until a couple of days after the season started.

  6. dowhatifeellike - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Too bad it’s him and not Cowboy Joe.

    • dowhatifeellike - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Or is it Country Joe? I wish I cared enough to remember.

      • gloccamorra - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        It’s Cowboy Joe. You’re thinking of Country Joe And The Fish, a rock group in the ’70s.

  7. dw3dw - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    Too bad. He was considered by most the best “balls and strikes” guy.

  8. drewzducks - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    At least we know he’ll take his time when making his final decision.

  9. matt14gg - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    IMO a very over-rated umpire. I always found his late indication of balls and strikes as nothing but arrogance. He would often do it in counts where the timing of his indication affected the play (i.e stolen bases, runners moving, catchers throwing, etc.) People that think his delay in indicating was nothing more than a nuisance to broadcasters are wrong. It had a tangible effect on the game, and it is that very arrogance that lies at the heart of the problem with poor umpiring in MLB.

    • s0krat3s - Apr 13, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      runners are moving LONG before a ball or strike call comes in. How in the world does that have any effect on baserunning?

    • dmoas - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      You do realize that he was generally quick to let the catcher/batter know and that it was only the hand signal that was slow, right?

  10. sanzarq - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    He needs to face reality & hang it up. Plus, I’m sick of his “delayed reaction” strike calls. Drive a school bus if you want to stay active, dude.

  11. s0krat3s - Apr 13, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Now if we could only get rid of Angel Hernandez…

    • lincolncityore - May 6, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      And Joe West and Laz Diaz after last nights mess!

      • cubb1 - May 16, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        C.B. Bucknor also needs to get canned.

  12. hoya33 - May 24, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    Thank God he is gone terrible ump however I hope his health rebounds for his retirement years.

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