Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/445

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413
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

and when that began to affect the patronage of the sport, the evil had to be checked.

The establishment of the Supreme Court of Base Ball in the organization of the National Commission, or Board of Arbitration, has accomplished wonders in the way of eradicating this abuse. The rules have been greatly strengthened by requiring this enforcement. Managers who now interfere with umpires in any way are liable to severe punishment. Players who are guilty of offense against the presiding official at any game are subject to heavy penalties, and even spectators may not go too far in the way of personal abuse; for the presence of minions of the law is now required to preserve the peace.

In closing this chapter, I desire to speak a word for the umpire of the present and the future. As I have already said, he is essential to the game. There can be no Base Ball without his presence. His position at the best is not an enviable one. In every game there will need to be close decisions. He must give offense to somebody in each recurring contest. That every umpire will make mistakes is true. What, then, is to be done about it?

First, then, I answer, we must be fair to him. We, of America, pride ourselves upon love of fair play. Former President Roosevelt's claim for a "square deal" echoed throughout the land and found an answering echo in every true American heart. Each mother's son of us is ready to shout himself hoarse in approbation of a square deal for himself, his "sisters, his cousins and his aunts." But how about this square deal for the Base Ball umpire? Is he different? Is he outside the pale for those to whom