As an umpire, or a referee in any sport, it’s probably best that nobody ever knows your name.
Unfortunately for college baseball umpire Reggie Drummer, it’s a bit too late for that now.
Drummer went viral recently when he made an extremely questionable strike three call to end a game between New Orleans and Mississippi Valley State.
Mississippi Valley State left fielder Davon Mims was at the plate with his team trailing 7-3. After a slightly low strike call, Mims expressed his displeasure with Drummer.
One pitch later, Drummer called a strike on a pitch that was nowhere near the plate, ending the game.
Millions of people have since seen the video of Drummer’s call, and now he’s taking the time to explain himself. The veteran umpire went on the “The Plate Meeting” podcast recently and revealed that verbal and racial abuse from fans helped lead to the call.
At the 9:00 mark of the interview, Drummer describes racial abuse he received from Mississippi Valley State fans. He later said that he regrets making the call against Mims.
“I called a bad pitch, which I regret,” he said. “I apologize for doing that, but I just wanted to get out of a hostile environment because I’d never been in a situation like that.”
But he also said that Mims probably should’ve never even gotten that far in the at-bat.
“I should have ejected him when he pointed,” Drummer said. “By this time, my lapse of judgment is through the roof because I was sitting here saying, ‘I can’t believe my own people have treated me like this for three hours.’ And I said to myself … ‘I feel like I’m on an island, and I just want to get out of here.'”
He noted that Mississippi Valley could have had a number of players ejected from the game.
“If I could do it all over, the game probably wouldn’t have finished because Valley wouldn’t have had enough players to be on the field,” he said.
Ultimately, it’s a bad look for all involved. But you can at least understand Drummer’s frustration given the scenario.