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

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District considers cannabis use

Public will have say on new rules in September, before marijuana use becomes legal

Fire crews ‘mop up’ Arbutus Ridge fire in Port Alberni

Smoky Skies Bulletin issued for Vancouver Island

Alberni’s Proteau back on top after another battle with Stouffer

Mount Brenton Ladies’ Amateur Golf Tournament has become a tale of two players

Battle for Alberni Valley Bulldogs roster spots begins

Main camp opens this week at Weyerhaeuser Arena

ARTS AROUND: Join watercolour workshops in Port Alberni

Victoria artist Joanne Thomas will provide beginner and advanced classes

REVIEW: MTV VMAs was a shocking event, for the wrong reasons

MTV Video Music Awards lacked star power and felt flat and some of the winners turned heads

4.6 quake detected off coast of Vancouver Island

The small earthquake happened early Tuesday morning

Puppies picked up by BC Wildfire crew to be returned to family

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

At least 14 illegal fires set in Fraser Valley this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

B.C. woman promoting ‘orange glow’ campaign to support firefighters

A Penticton woman is hoping an orange ribbon campaign will catch on throughout B.C.

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program

The deal would acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc

Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

Evidence found of Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups

Animal crackers break free from their cages

PETA pressures Mondelez International to show animals roaming in their natural habitats

Most Read