Umpire Reggie Drummer, who was suspended after his game-ending call in a college baseball game went viral last month, said he regrets the call but also noted the way he was treated by players and fans caused a “lapse of judgment.”
Drummer was behind the plate for a March 10 game between Mississippi Valley State and the University of New Orleans. Drummer already had ejected two players and warned both benches by the time the game got to the ninth inning.
Drummer told “The Plate Meeting” podcast on CloseCallSports.com that fans were verbally abusive and used racist language toward him. He also described several animated discussions with Mississippi Valley State players and coach Milton Barney.
Drummer, who is Black, said that fans of Mississippi Valley State, a Historically Black College and University, used specific racial slurs toward him.
“I’m not upset,” he said. “I’m more hurt because I’m getting all this from my people when I know I’m calling a good game, I’m calling a fair game.”
With Mississippi Valley State left fielder Davon Mims at the plate in the ninth inning, Drummer called the final two pitches — both of which were well out of the strike zone — as strikes to end the game and complete New Orleans’ 7-3 victory.
Mims, upset after Drummer’s strike-two call, jumped up and down and then pointed at the spot where he thought the pitch was.
“I should have ejected him when he pointed,” Drummer told the podcast. “By this time, my lapse of judgment is through the roof because I was sitting here saying, ‘I can’t believe my own people have treated me like this for three hours.’ And I said to myself … ‘I feel like I’m on an island and I just want to get out of here.'”
Drummer said he told himself if any pitch was close, he was calling it a strike “so we can get off the field.”
“I called a bad pitch, which I regret,” he said. “I apologize for doing that, but I just wanted to get out of a hostile environment because I’d never been in a situation like that.”
Drummer said he wasn’t trying to “screw” Mims, but “my whole deal was I’m beaten to death, I just want to get to the locker room and whatever happens, happens.”
Drummer was suspended by the Southland Conference and did not umpire the final two games of the series. He said he has returned to umpiring and worked several games.
Asked about his thoughts now, Drummer said he wished he had managed the game better and ejected more players and fans before the contest reached the ninth inning.
“If I could do it all over, the game probably wouldn’t have finished because Valley wouldn’t have had enough players to be on the field,” he said.