The St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) are scheduling an exhibition game without umpires, with a judge in a robe calling balls and strikes.
The “Umpireless Game” is set for Saturday, May 11, with the Gary SouthShore RailCats in town for a preseason match. In this unique twist a judge in a robe will stand behind the pitcher’s mound calling ball and strikes strikes while a jury of both teams “peers” will act as the base umpires. The Killebrew Box Seats, which are designated seating areas on the first and third base side at field level, will have 12 Little Leaguers in each area deciding if runners are safe or out. There will be no hung jury, as majority will rule, but any ties will be decided by the judge on the field.
Instead of “Play Ball” hollered by an umpire, the judge will pound a gavel on home plate to signify the beginning of the game. The players on the field will not be the only ones who will have a judge and jury preside over the proceedings. Fans will have an opportunity to take their disputes to a “judge” that will be set up on the walkway in the main seating bowl of the ballpark.
“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,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer. “This is something that has never been attempted before and I think it will make for an interesting and intriguing nine innings of baseball.”
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