M. A.

They give as reasons for the decline and fall of baseball in the U. S. (TIME, Jan. 18), the public disapproval of professionalism, the conversion of sand-lot diamonds into building sites and the rise of Bobby Joneses, Paavo Nurmis, Vincent Richardses, Harold Granges. Men that have played the game a lot will add, with point, that there can be no good baseball without good umpiring. And umpires, unlike poets, are made, not born.

Wherefore baseball’s old guard viewed with pride and joy the announcement of a correspondence course for umpires, founded and conducted by Umpire Billy Evans, for 20 years a crouching, hawk-eyed figure of American League parks, in wintertime sport editor for the Newspaper Enterprise Association in Cleveland. Vendors still cry: “You can’t tell the players without a score-card.” But no one ever shouted, “You can’t tell Billy Evans.”

The course is based essentially on knowledge of the rules of the game. It contains a masterly tabloid exegesis of the law in such finical situations as a player’s throwing his cap at a passing ball, two runners on one base, premature decisions (e. g., a bunt declared foul rolls fair), infield flies, balls batted out of sight. There is a catachism of 51 articles: “Don’t be anxious, too quick, tactless, argumentative, vindictive, officious. . . . Remember the spectators. . . . Listen to reason. . . . Smile. …” The crouching and erect postures are compared. The double-and single umpire systems are explained. Anecdotes abound. Upon the students completing the course with distinction, Professor Evans confers the degree of M. A.— Master Arbiter.

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