Dale Scott first came to national attention when he came out publicly as gay last year, the first Major League Baseball umpire to do so. He got his second moment in the spotlight today during the wild Game 5 American League Division Series won by the Toronto Blue Jays over the Texas Rangers, 6-3. I watched the game knowing Scott was doing the game, and never expected to see him get so much TV time.
During the surreal 53-minute seventh inning, that saw the Rangers take the lead and the Jays answer, Scott got as much air time as the players. For a time, he was Public Enemy No. 1 in Canada after a bizarre call at home plate caused the Blue Jays to protest the game.
With a runner on third base, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was throwing the ball back to the pitcher, but it hit the hand of Shin-Soo Choo in the batter's box. The ball then ricocheted into the infield and Rangers' Rougned Odor scampered in for the go-ahead score. As Odor was halfway to home, Scott called time out, saying, "No, no, no."
The play was reviewed at MLB offices in New York, with Fox's cameras focused squarely on Scott as he debated the play with replay officials. Unfortunately, Scott picked that time to start scratching his nose, which totally distracted me and probably every viewer. After an 18-minute delay, the run was allowed to score, which was the correct call.
Scott calling timeout had no material effect on the play, since Odor was going to score regardless, but that didn't stop Blue Jays fans from showering the field with debris,
Things then settled down until the bottom of the seventh, when the Rangers fell apart, committing three errors. Then Jose Bautista blasted a three-run home run that would have landed on Yonge Street had the roof not been closed and bedlam erupted. Jays' fans then started to throw more debris on the field and both benched cleared since the players apparently had to channel all their energy somehow. Scott once again got a ton of camera time as he calmed everyone down and the game finally moved on to a rather tame final two innings where Toronto closed out the series.
Despite the furor, Scott and his crew did their jobs and the right calls were made (Fox's announcer specifically mentioned Scott's consistent strike zone). Scott loves to spend much of his off-season in Palm Springs and I am certain he'll enjoy a glass of wine (or three) remembering his time in the spotlight, which is not what any umpire seeks.