B.C. umpire has developed thick skin after 30 years listening to insults

Scott McLaren pays no mind to comments from the cheap seats

Just when you thought you’d heard it all.

After three decades of umpiring, Penticton’s Scott McLaren has heard it all when it comes to insults yelled from the stands by upset fans but every once in awhile…

“That is, unless they get really creative and then I find that enjoyable as long as it’s funny,” said McLaren, who was the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation Umpire of the Year and is the Sport B.C. official of the year finalist.

Related:Penticton residents in the finals for the Sport B.C. Athlete of the Year Awards

“You go to ballparks and hockey arenas and you hear the same old tried and true insults (I thought only horses sleep standing up, etc.) and you just find those lazy and not really impressive. But then you hear something funny and you go, ‘ah, alright, that’s pretty good.’

“You can’t say it, but that’s great. You do what you have to do but in the meantime, you’re excited to get back to the locker room to talk to your colleagues, ‘hey you can’t believe what this guy said.’”

McLaren started umpiring as a kid because: “I was a baseball and softball nerd so getting to watch games and getting paid for it was a pretty good job, and it beat working fast food.”

There was also the self-realization aspect for him, that where he wanted to go in terms of national teams and international competitions wasn’t going to be as a player.

“I seemed to be getting pretty good at this officiating thing, or at least people think I’m pretty good, and they keep sending me places and I keep getting invited back,” said McLaren.

In particular, it was his work at the WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Championship in Clearwater, Fla. last year which helped him garner the Umpire of the Year award.

He still remembers the call from South Africa, where the WBSC conference was, letting him know he had won the prestigious honour.

“Of course I did what every other person does when their phone rings and it says Botswana. You let it go to voicemail because I don’t know anybody there,” said McLaren with a laugh.

And about why anyone would want to be an official in any sport, knowing any or all calls may bring the wrath of fans showering down upon you? He thought for a moment and said:

“Really it’s love of the sport. You talk to every official and it eventually comes back to that. I absolutely love the sport.”

Overall he believes abuse of officials at most levels, especially by players and coaches, has improved but still has a huge impact on young people who are new to the job and have not yet developed the thicker skin.

“Fans aren’t getting better and it’s a constant challenge across all sports,” said McLaren. “It’s really a heat of the moment thing, everything coming from a biased perspective. People just get caught up in it and really, well you just live with it.”

 

Scott McLaren of Penticton keeps his eye on the ball during softball action last week a Simon Fraser University. Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics/Paul Yates

Penticton’s Scott McLaren behind the plate at a Simon Fraser University game last week. Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics/Paul Yates

Just Posted

WATCH: Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 in Chilliwack trying to flee police

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Drugs and guns seized by Chilliwack Mounties in complex case

Drug trafficking investigations led to five arrests in three different locations across Chilliwack

Chilliwack RCMP trying to catch robbery suspect

Police hope someone will identify the person who appears in security camera footage

LETTER: Why is Jati Sidhu ashamed of his riding?

Lytton’s Christopher di Armani shares his dismay at the potential name change of the MP’s riding

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read