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April 30, 2006

Great moments in high school softball

On Thursday, Candice Thompson, the pitcher for the girls' softball team at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville was ejected from the game for smiling.

In case you think I'm making this up, the article in the Washington Post, linked above, reports the pitcher's version of the events:

"I usually just smile to get my frustration out," she said. "He came up to me and told me, 'If you don't get that grin off your face, I'm going to eject you.' And then I said, 'Sir, I can't smile?' And he said, 'You better cut that crap out.'"
The umpire said it was body language, kind of like belly dancing, I think:
The umpire, John Gretz, had issued a prior warning to Thompson and said the ejection was for "unsportsmanlike conduct," which included a "mocking laugh."

"Basically, she wanted some more close pitches to be called strikes, and the way she expressed that wasn't [only] smiling," Gretz said. "It was a combination of gyrations -- raising hands up in the air, an exasperated body language -- and comments like, 'Where was that pitch?'"
The RM team forfeited the game after the ejection.

Fortunately for everyone, cooler heads prevailed. The next day, the umpires' association announced that the ejection should not have occurred, and Thompson will not have to serve the automatic one-game suspension that goes along with an ejection. The forfeit, however, will stand.

The forfeited game could possibly have been rescheduled, but the solution the umpires came up with seems surprisingly reasonable.

:) Hey, wipe that smile off your face!