Hamline University's School of Law is joining the Saint Paul Saints for the first ever umpireless baseball game on Saturday, May 11 at 7:35 p.m. This unique twist on tradition will feature a courtroom approach to regulating and calling the game of baseball. Umpires have arbitrated games since 1876, but a game devoid of umpires is something entirely new.
“This is something that has never been attempted before and I think it will make for an interesting and intriguing nine innings of baseball,” Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer said.
Instead of an umpire, this game will be subject to the rules of the courtroom. A judge, in full regalia, will kick off the game by pounding a gavel on home plate. Throughout the game, this judge will determine strikes and balls, while a jury of peers, two groups of 12 little leaguers, will act as base umpires. The jury will use majority vote to determine if runners are safe or out, in the event of a tie, the judge will make the final decision.
The extent of the courtroom application doesn’t stop there; even fans will have the opportunity to join the action. Fans can approach a 'judge' to air any disputes over calls, allowing everyone to participate in the judicial process. The aim is to not only have some fun, but also to illustrate the importance of rules and laws.
“We respect all baseball umpires and believe this promotion will allow our ‘jurors’ and both teams to realize how important they really are to the game,” Sharrer said.
The Saints will play the Railcats at 7:35 p.m. at Midway Stadium, with gates opening at 6:35 p.m. Tickets are available by contacting the Saints ticket office at 651-644-6659, or for more information please visit the Saints website.