Three baseball umpires were having a beer at Tony’s Bar after a long day at the local ballpark. The first umpire was an older guy named Frank, he had been an umpire since he was a young man in the 1940s. The next umpire was named Alan, he was a bit younger. He had met Frank in the 1960s and despite their age difference they had a common love of the game. It was Frank who had got Alan his first job as an umpire. The third umpire was a young guy in his late 20s named Chris. Chris had stared umpiring last year. He had met Frank and Alan through the game and although they did not have much else in common he still liked coming to Tony’s bar on Saturday night to argue about the finer points of the game.
It was a quite night so when Tony the barman was delivering them a round of drinks he stopped to join in their conversation. The conversation had drifted to an obscure rule about a little known way a player can get ‘out’.
Tony had never been all that knowledgeable about baseball, so he had to ask how many ways there are to get a player out and how it did not get confusing for the umpire.
Frank was first to reply.
“Well, there are five main ways: strikeouts, ground outs, forceouts, flyouts and tag outs and I just call them as they are.” Said Frank.
“I agree with the first part but not the second” said Alan “There definitely is five main ways to get out: strikeout, ground out, forceout, flyout and tag out, however I call them as I see them.”
Chris was smiling it was clear he disagreed.
“For sure, the five most common ways to get out are strikeouts, ground outs, forceouts, flyouts and tag outs.” Said Chris “ but guys as I see it, until I call them they aren’t.”
I heard a version of this told to a multi-generational church congregation years ago but could not find it so I wrote my own version.