Find a League In Your Area
One night not long after taking over as President of the Utah MSBL, I
went to the ball field to perform my presidential duties which included
picking up the bases, cleaning the bathrooms -- yup you read that right
– shutting off the lights and locking up the field.
Afterwards, I sat down in the parking lot to have a chat, and a
couple of beers, with the winning team – a process which put us close to
midnight. That is when I heard the story of the game that changed the
Utah MSBL forever – the Mother's Day Ball Game Debacle.
Every league has stories that are whispered and told by ballplayers
over the years. Surely this legend contained elements of fiction, I
thought -- but I had to find the truth.
Boy did I.
We ball players are ex-pros, has-beens, wannabes, never-weres, and we
all will play anytime, anywhere. For three hours on game day we aren't
married, we have no jobs, bills or mortgages. We are ball players. For
three hours we live in the moment. We live to be the pitcher or the
batter in the ninth inning with two outs, the bases are loaded and the
game on the line. That is the backdrop for this event that forever
changed our league. The names have been changed to protect the innocent,
the guilty and the dumb. And then again, maybe not.
It was 1992 -- four years after the birth of the Salt Lake MSBL now
known as the Utah MSBL. The league started with four teams and had grown
to six by this time. The players were a rag tag bunch of guys that have
never given up on the boyhood game of baseball, and they always want to
play as much as possible. The President at the time was Jerry Bogucki and he had a weekend coming up that was wide open with perfect weather –
He started calling around and found two teams willing to play on
short notice. The Pirates and the Yankees jumped at the chance to make
up a previous rain out.
The day was perfect, the field pristine, and the teams biting at the
bit to play. The Pirates had nine players, but the Yankees had eight
players and so the coach called every name on his roster with no luck.
And then he thought about Tim.
Tim had let it be known that he would play anytime anywhere, and that
he was always just a call away. The coach made that call and, true to
his word, Tim accepted the invitation. Twenty minutes later, on Mother's
Day 1992, they were playing a ballgame.
And oh, what a game. The lead went back and forth like a good game
should until the crucial sixth inning. That's when forces larger and
more powerful than baseball came into play.
With the scored tied and runners on first and second, the players
became distracted by the sound of screeching tires, a revving engine,
and the high-pitched whine of a transmission in desperate need of a
change to a higher gear.
The next thing witnesses recall is a car flying over the curb and
onto the grass. With brakes locked the car slid sideways and came to
rest next to the fence on the third base side.
At this point things went in slow motion. The car door opened a young
(40ish) lady stood up on the door well, and began shouting: "TIM! What
in the Hell do you think you are doing? You tell me you're going to the
store and after two hours I get worried and go to the store, but you're
not there, so I drive home thinking we crossed paths. I see your truck,
and oh boy here you are.”
As if the rubber shredding, high speed approach hadn't been enough to
get eager Tim's attention, the angry woman took off her wedding ring
and threw it over the fence into left field. She turned and looked at
the faces of Tim's many accomplices and was met by stunned, frozen
silence -- the kind you see on the face of kids when they're caught in a
She continued yelling: "When and if you find that ring then you can come home.”
At that point she climbed back into the car, rammed it into reverse,
and peeled out leaving two perfect tire ruts in the grass – an
exclamation point on her visit.
And then there was silence.
A quick glimpse into some of the minds of the players showed a diversity of reactions.
Doc – "Well, we know where it is kinda, and the score is tied, can't we look (for the ring) later? He's already in trouble.”
Jerry -- "Damn this was a bad idea.”
Randy -- "I wonder if my wife really didn't mean that it was okay to play”.
Umpire Terry -- "I need to buy flowers on the way home”
Umpire Jason -- "Glad I'm not married”.
Time was called after everyone came back to reality. The coaches and
umpires got together at home plate, while some of the players were
kicking their cleats through the grass in the areas they thought the
ring landed. At the conclusion of the meeting it was decided the game
would be played from the point of the time out and that the best thing
they could do would be to help Tim out and search for that ring. And so
it began, twenty grown men on their hands and knees running their hands
thru the grass just beyond third base near left field. All the players
from both teams and both umpires were searching for Tim's wife's wedding
ring. About an hour later it was safely in Tim's hand and he was on his
Another glimpse into some of the minds at the game: Doc; "man, he had them”.
Jerry; "Damn this was a bad idea”.
Randy; "Thank God, that's not me”.
Umpire Terry, "Wish I was a fly on that wall when he comes thru the door”.
Umpire Jason -- "Glad I'm not married”.
And that, friends, was the first and last game the Utah MSBL ever
played on Mother's Day. As for Tim? The episode apparently dampened his
enthusiasm for the game. I could not find anyone that could remember
whatever became of him.