MLB Umpire Gerry Davis (3rd from left) with Little League World Series Umpires.
By Luke Ramirez
During the MLB Little League® Classic on Sunday, the Major Leaguers who came to Williamsport and spent the day at the Little League Baseball World Series (LLBWS) were not the only ones who had a great time. Gerry Davis, a 36-year veteran umpire at the professional level and who had the plate for the Classic, was also literally a part of the World Series experience earlier in the day.
Among the six-man umpiring crew (standard at the LLBWS), Mr. Davis worked second base for the first two innings of Game 14 between Southwest and New England on Sunday at Lamade Stadium.
“To be able to go on the field and actually umpire one of the games, which no [MLB umpire] has ever done before was fun and exciting,” said Mr. Davis.
Davis has umpired and all-time record 134 MLB postseason games, five World Series and four All-Star games in his illustrious career. While he might not have gotten the same amount of attention as the players on the Pirates and Cardinals who made their way around both Lamade and Volunteer stadiums, volunteering as an umpire like thousands of men and women do around the country was very special for him.
“It was a great opportunity for me to meet the umpires selected to work the event,” said Mr. Davis. “This is the pinnacle for them, and they’re all ecstatic to be here and rightfully so.”
Davis also took the time to share his respect and admiration for those willing to dedicate their time to Little League Baseball and Softball as volunteers.
“I don’t think they get anywhere near the credit they should because they aren’t doing this for the money or the glory, they’re doing it for their love of baseball,” said Mr. Davis. “It says a lot about them as people and for them to be able to experience something like this is a great thing.”
Davis has been to Williamsport a handful of times in the past as a fan and has a great understanding about what this event means to the game of baseball.
“About 15 years ago, I brought my son just as a fan and I fell in love with the atmosphere,” said Mr. Davis. “Anyone who loves baseball needs to make this trip.”
After Mr. Davis finished his two innings of umpiring in Lamade Stadium, he had to start preparing for his duties as crew chief and home plate umpire for the MLB game later that night at historic Bowman Field. Like the big leaguers players, umpires also have to work their way through the ranks in the minor leagues before earning a promotion to the Majors.
“It was kind of a throwback thing for me, and I was reminiscing on my days in the minor leagues,” said Mr. Davis. “Any chance we at the major league level have to promote the sport we should do it, and Little League International certainly did this in a big league way.”
The game’s conclusion was the end of a very successful day, with Little League and Major League Baseball joining to promote the game of baseball at the youth level. Mr. Davis was also hopeful that he and other MLB umpires may have the chance to work with volunteer umpires who officiate Little League games in the future.
“I would love to see that happen,” said Mr. Davis. “I’m hopeful that this can be a recurring event and we can bring more Major League [umpires] here too because I know it would be a wonderful experience for them.”