BANGOR, Maine — Longtime umpire Chris Parker, who has been the Senior League World Series Umpire in Chief since it came to Bangor in 2002, left Tuesday for Williamsport, Pa., where he will make his umpiring debut in the Little League World Series.
The tourney runs from Friday through Aug. 30.
And the Bangor native said he expects to have some butterflies when he takes the field for the nationally televised tournament.
“[Umpiring] in front of 20,000 fans, I think there will be some nerves,” said the 46-year-old Parker.
Parker is in his 30th season as an umpire and has worked a Little League softball World Series in 2001.
He has also worked Little League regionals in both sports.
“It’s an honor [to be selected],” said Parker who is the third Maine native to work the Little League World Series and the first one from the Bangor area since Harry Dalton umpired at the 1964 Little League World Series.
“Those are big shoes to fill,” said Parker.
He intends to treat every game like any other game he umpires and he will be part of a seven-man crew.
In addition to the six on-field umpires, for the first time ever there will be an umpire in a booth monitoring instant replays.
The replays will be used for whether a ball is a homer or not and if it is fair or foul.
He wouldn’t mind being the replay umpire and has mixed feelings about instant replay.
“It doesn’t bother me. As long as it doesn’t take away from the game,” he said.
He drove to Williamsport with wife Lori and daughters Kristin and Megan.
Mansfield Stadium praised
The rave reviews are already rolling in for Mansfield Stadium and the job the stadium grounds crew is doing to keep it in optimum shape for baseball.
“It’s the best field we’ve played on,” said Jack Veronin, a pitcher for the West region championship team from Fremont, Calif. “There aren’t many bad hops.”
That’s good news for Bangor East manager Ron St. Pierre, who also oversees the Mansfield grounds crew all season.
Until this most recent stretch of hot and humid — but relatively rain-free — weather over the last week and a half, St. Pierre, David Utterback and other crew members have been tirelessly spreading quick dry and dirt to try and keep the field playable and relatively dry.
“I think we’ve lost two days all summer to rain, and that was only because it was raining at game time,” St. Pierre said while bringing out a few more bags of mound mix and Turface Athletics’ Pro League Red quick-dry infield dirt additive two weeks before the start of the series.
So, how much of the moisture-absorbing Turface additive have they had to put down this summer?
“Oh, lots! I don’t know how much we’ve ordered, but I know we’ve used four tons out there now and we probably use about one and a half during a normal summer.”
Fremont manager Perry Romero knew nothing of the field’s rain issues, but was impressed nonetheless.
“They really prepared this field beautifully. The conditions are awesome,” Romero said after Monday’s night’s 5-1 win over Southeast champ Greenville, S.C.
“Bangor Little League has done an awesome job preparing this field for every team out here,” he added. “After every game, I see five or six guys out there on the mound as soon as the game’s over, tractors out there redoing the infield, and I just want to tip my cap to Bangor Little League because they’re making dreams happen for a lot of kids.”
Aruba has own chiropractor
The Latin America champions from San Nicholas, Aruba, had more than just three coaches with them at the Senior League World Series.
They also had a chiropractor.
Dr. Sandy Roga traveled with the team and one of his jobs was to “adjust” the players before games.
He brings a training board with him.
“I loosen them up and get them good and ready,” said Roga, who has worked with Olympic athletes in Aruba.
He works primarily on their shoulders and legs and said he is cognizant of the way muscles are used in baseball.
“They’ll be standing still and then have to make a [sudden] burst,” said Roga whose treatments can help the players avoid muscle pulls and other ailments.
Aruba right fielder Cedrik Sint Jago said having Roga on board is beneficial.
“He loosens us up before games,” said Sint Jago.