Rick Reed, 59, has been running around the fields of Toledo for the last few days, trying to prove he’s still a major league umpire after a stroke in May 2008 took him off the field and another stroke last February seemingly slammed the door on his 27-year MLB career as an umpire and crew chief.
However, if you remember anything about Reed on the field, he’s not one to argue with. Doctors tried; the league tried, knowing that all good deeds end in a lawsuit and increased insurance rates. Also, no one wants a repeat of John McSherry’s death. Still, the umpires’ union put down the gun pointed at its foot long enough to join Reed in arguing for his return.
MLB eventually acquiesced and will welcome Reed back May 21st in Chicago. Of course, if he’s going to stick in the majors, he’ll have to constantly pass monitoring tests and stop eating like … well, an umpire:
“The lifestyle isn’t conducive to good health,” he said as the other umpires ate barbecue sandwiches smothered in cheese following Wednesday’s game. “The meals they bring in, I can’t eat those.”
Even reading about them is a health hazard. What, did the barbecue joint forget to deep-fry the sandwiches? It doesn’t take a Marcus Welby to think a few habits might have to change.