I’ll take a break from analyzing Blue Jays stats tonight to share with you my two new favourite Blue Jays – umpires to boot. I have to admit I love the “two umpires” act. My fiance called them the “Tumps” (Two umps – yeah, I didn’t get it either) and even she got a pretty good kick out of seeing the two of them going through the motions. The “Tumps” got the call tonight for the Toronto Blue Jays game versus the Minnesota Twins at the Rogers Centre with Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay on the mound. My first thought was “Roy is not gonna appreciate this!”.
It’s a guilty pleasure watching these guys call the game from the front row on TV. They call balls & strikes, foul balls & even (fake) throw the ball back to the pitcher on a foul back to the screen. It’s quite entertaining and the people around them in the same section all seem to love the act.
Toronto Natives Tim Williams and Joe Ferrell are the men behind the masks and they are already turning into a league wide hit! They have done this three times before at Rogers Centre in Toronto an the New York Yankees got quite the kick out them when The Bronx Bombers recently played Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Their act so unique and fun to watch that sometime the actual game played second fiddle (easy to do lately).
Back in June during a Nationals/Blue Jays game, a 2-1 Nationals win in extra innings, Washington team president Stan Kasten approaches Williams and Farrell to shake their hands and compliment their work. Scores of fans rush up during every half-inning to get their picture taken with the faux men in blue, while others take delight in either cheering or heckling their calls.
“We were out in the tent (a beer garden just across the street from the ballpark) having beers before the game, and we took 38 pictures with people,” the pair explains. “They thought we were the real guys going to get juiced up before the game. We were like ‘No, no, we’re not gonna be on the field tonight, we’re just fans.'”
Their appeal is undeniable.
“We love baseball, we love umpires, we love the Blue Jays and we like having fun. That’s it.” Williams says.
But the act doesn’t pass muster solely because of their enthusiasm for their fake job. Williams and Farrell have authentic umpire uniforms. They have the short-brimmed hats, the official major league umpire shirts with numbers stitched on the sleeves, gray slacks, masks (which they only don when the Jays are pitching), clickers to track the count, brushes, pictured right, to clear dirt off of home plate and ball bags saddled to their right hips. Every time the actual umpire behind home plate throws a new ball to the pitcher, they dig into their bags, pull out a baseball and follow suit.
The pair are leading the league in wFUR (weighted fake umpiring ratio) and are runaway leaders for most creative fan gig this season! Hey, I had to add some sort of stat to this post.