LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — As a big league umpire, Dale Scott saw maybe 1 million pitches from the field. His final call, it turned out, was the easiest of all.
Rather than risk yet another concussion, Scott has decided to retire at 58.
“I’m done,” he told The Associated Press.
The veteran crew chief missed nearly the entire 2017 season after a foul ball off the bat of Baltimore slugger Mark Trumbo in Toronto on April 14 caught him hard in the mask, causing Scott’s second concussion in nine months and fourth in five years.
Within a few days, while undergoing treatment for head, neck and shoulder injuries, Scott realized it was the end of a major league career that began in 1985 and included three World Series assignments, three All-Star Games and 91 postseason games.
“In fact, it was pretty easy,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on this year being the last one. But I thought, this is a sign.”
Especially when he asked three doctors about the possible long-term effects if he got jarred again.
“They said, ‘We just don’t know,'” Scott said. “But they told me that the more times you get hit, the more probability that you’ll have issues.”
This summer, while on medical leave, he saw Bruno Mars and Green Day in concert, watched Fourth of July fireworks from a boat near his home in Portland, Oregon, and enjoyed more time with husband Michael Rausch.
They’ve been together since 1986 and were married in November 2013 in Palm Springs, California, by the city’s mayor.
Scott came out as gay after the 2014 season. The next spring training, Reds outfielder Marlon Byrd gave Scott a big hug while trotting to the dugout.
“You’re free, brother. I’m so proud of you,” Byrd told him.
Says Scott: “I did feel free. I am who I am.”
Scott’s decision will resonate, said Billy Bean, Major League Baseball’s vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. Bean came out as gay after his big league career ended in 1995.
“He has achieved everything in his umpiring career, and has carried himself with integrity and garnered the respect of his peers and MLB players,” Bean said. “I am filled with pride as I reflect on all of his accomplishments. He’s a pro’s pro, who’s been a wonderful example to the LGBT community and all sports fans.”
“Years ago, Dale reached out to me after my personal story went public,” he said. “If we had been able to have that conversation when I was still playing, I know it would have changed the course of my career. Dale’s legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire others to pursue their dreams, and I hope we see the results around MLB soon.”
Scott worked 3,897 regular-season games and was a crew chief for 16 seasons, half his career.
“I was fortunate enough to have Dale as my crew chief for 10-plus years. A gifted umpire and true professional, he ran the crew with a smile as he mentored many of today’s most successful umpires,” fellow ump Dan Iassogna said.
“The courage that he showed in coming out while still working on the field is as much of an accomplishment as his many World Series and postseason assignments,” he added.
Scott acknowledged his decision to retire might have been more difficult if his circumstances were different — say, he was 40 and hadn’t worked the World Series.
Now, he walks away with his health intact. And if there were any doubts, he keeps the video of that last violent concussion on his cellphone.
MLB provides long-term disability for umpires who cannot work because of permanent concussion effects, the same as it does for other lasting injuries.
Scott wonders about umpires who are cleared as part of the concussion protocol and then face the choice of continuing to work and risk further injury, or leaving the game.
“That needs to be addressed” in talks between MLB and the umpires’ union, he said. “Maybe my situation can be a catalyst for that.”
His future will include rooting like crazy for the Oregon Ducks and, having been a Top 40 AM radio DJ in high school, perhaps some voice work.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was in the dugout for Scott’s last game, when he was carried off the dirt at Rogers Centre on a spinal board. Showalter was there, too, the first time Scott worked the plate in the postseason, in a 1995 AL Division Series matchup between Seattle and New York.
That playoff game at Yankee Stadium went 15 innings and took more than five tense hours. Both sides were barking at Scott and at some point Showalter, then New York’s manager, walked out for a word with him.
“I said, ‘Dale, relax, don’t worry about it, it’s just a ballgame,'” Showalter recalled. “He said, ‘Easy for you to say.'”
“Good guy, good umpire,” Showalter said Tuesday at the winter meetings. “I’m very proud of Dale for a lot of things, on and off the field,”
Scott can look back on a lot of games. Among them, he was the plate umpire for Scott Erickson’s no-hitter, he worked a season-opening series in Australia, and was the last umpire to eject hot-tempered manager Billy Martin.
And there was that evening at old County Stadium in 1986, when a big crowd turned out to welcome the hugely popular Gorman Thomas back to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The first time Thomas batted, Scott called strike three. The fading slugger went 0 for 4 and when he got rung up in his last at-bat, it was more than Thomas could take.
“It’s my night,” he pleaded with the rookie ump, “not yours!”
App Store Official Charts for the week ending December 10, 2017:
Top Paid iPhone Apps:
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2. Minecraft, Mojang
3. kirakira+, Kentaro Yama
4. Plague Inc.,Ndemic Creations
5. Bloons TD 5,Ninja Kiwi
6. Toca Life: Pets,Toca Boca AB
7. Reigns: Her Majesty,Devolver Digital
8. Facetune, Lightricks Ltd.
9. iSchedule, HotSchedules
10. NBA 2K18,2K
Top Free iPhone Apps:
1. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream, Google, Inc.
2. Rush, Ketchapp
3. Snapchat, Snap, Inc.
4. Instagram, Instagram, Inc.
5. Messenger, Facebook, Inc.
6. Facebook, Facebook, Inc.
7. Rules of Survival, NetEase Games
8. Bitmoji, Bitstrips
9. Gmail – Email by Google, Google, Inc.
10. Amazon Mobile, AMZN Mobile LLC
Top Paid iPad Apps:
1. Toca Life: Pets, Toca Boca AB
3. Minds On Physics the App – Part 1, Physics Classroom, LLC
4. Procreate, Savage Interactive Pty Ltd
5. The Escapists, Team17 Software Ltd
6. Geometry Dash, RobTop Games AB
7. Affinity Photo, Serif Labs
8. Cover Orange 2: Journey, FDG Mobile Games GbR
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10. Toca Hair Salon 3,Toca Boca AB
Top Free iPad Apps:
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2. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream, Google, Inc.
3. Netflix, Netflix, Inc.
4. slither.io, Steve Howse
5. Super Mario Run,Nintendo Co., Ltd.
6. Words With Friends 2-Word Game, Zynga Inc.
7. Kick the Buddy, Chill Fleet
8. Amazon Prime Video, AMZN Mobile LLC
9. Google Chrome, Google, Inc.
10. ROBLOX, Roblox Corporation
(copyright) 2017 Apple Inc.
LONDON (AP) — America’s ambassador to Britain says he hopes US President Donald Trump will visit the UK next year despite his recent Twitter dispute with Prime Minister Theresa May.
Ambassador Woody Johnson told the BBC that Trump’s remarks to May were “probably misinterpreted.” He added that the president is not weak about tackling terrorism.
In a rare rebuke to Britain’s closest ally, May’s spokesman last month said that Trump was wrong to retweet videos posted by a leader of a British far-right group. Trump hit back, telling May to “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism” in Britain.
May’s Downing Street office has rejected calls from opposition lawmakers to revoke Trump’s invitation to pay a state visit to Britain.
Johnson did not specify Tuesday what kind of visit Trump might make.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks will not face any suspensions for the melee that broke out at the conclusion of Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville.
It’s the only upside for Seattle to come from the ugly, unflattering conclusion to the loss which will certainly result in hefty fines and another tarnished moment where the Seahawks showed they don’t handle losing very well.
“Everybody is remorseful,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that ever.”
The league is still reviewing the fracas that broke out in the closing moments of Jacksonville’s 30-24 victory for potential discipline, but no suspensions will be coming.
Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were all flagged for personal fouls. Jefferson and Richardson were both ejected, and all three will be expecting letters from the league for their involvement in the ugly conclusion.
Jefferson’s reaction was the most egregious as the defensive tackle attempted to climb into the stands after fans threw what appeared to be bottles at him as he was leaving the field. He was pulled back by team staff.
“That was wrong. He was wrong. I’ve talked to him about it,” Carroll said. “Professional athletes, people can say whatever they want to say and that’s kind of what comes along with it. You have to be able to deal with it professionally. He lost it. He feels terrible about it. It’s not the kind of kid he is. He emotionally got overrun and he lost it. Fortunately people restrained him and all that.”
The Jaguars issued a statement Monday they were reviewing video and were conducting interviews with spectators and security staff in the area to identify those involved. The Jaguars said they had identified four individuals throwing five objects and those involved may lose the right to purchase future tickets or have their season tickets revoked.
But that doesn’t excuse Seattle’s behavior in the closing moments and a continued pattern over several seasons where the Seahawks have turned end-of-game or end-of-half situations into skirmishes.
The most famous came in Seattle’s Super Bowl loss to New England when Bennett was involved in a scuffle in the closing seconds after Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception secured the victory for the Patriots.
But there have been others in games against Green Bay, Atlanta and Tennessee in the past couple of seasons.
What exasperated Sunday’s situation was Bennett continuing to hold the leg of center Brandon Linder after the initial swipe and setting off the first series of fights that ended in Richardson being ejected. Carroll said Bennett has been told to stop trying to swipe the ball from the center going forward.
“That’s something he’s tried before. That’s why he’s way down on the ground like that. He’s trying to time it up and hit it, trying to get the ball back,” Carroll said.
“So he winds up underneath the pile and stuff, and the stuff that happened after that was wrong. He was trying to get the ball. But after that, that got messy.”
The fallout from Sunday went beyond the impression the Seahawks left. Starting linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion) both left the game in the second half and did not return.
Wagner could be the more serious as Carroll said they won’t know the status of the potential defensive player of the year candidate until Saturday or Sunday. Wagner has been playing through a hamstring strain for weeks but aggravated the injury against the Jaguars.
Wright is in the concussion protocol, but Carroll said he was feeling better on Monday and was hopeful he’d be cleared.
“His impact couldn’t be any more obvious and we’re going to have to shore it up if he can’t go,” Carroll said of Wagner.
NOTES: Carroll and GM John Schneider met with injured rookie DT Malik McDowell on Monday following his arrest for disorderly conduct over the weekend in Atlanta. McDowell issued an apology on social media. “We’re going to work to help him in every way we can. We’ve already talked about that,” Carroll said. “Let’s hope this isn’t an indicator of things to come.” … Seattle had zero sacks of Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles. It was the second time this season Seattle failed to get a sack, both losses.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
NEW YORK (AP) — Citing a Comcast statement, the Wall Street Journal reported that the cable company is no longer in discussions to buy pieces of 21st Century Fox . That could open the door to a Disney bid.
Comcast declined to provide its statement to the Associated Press.
A person familiar with the situation, who was not permitted to discuss the matter publicly, confirmed the end of negotiations.
The Journal said Disney is currently talking with Fox and that a deal could be announced this week. Fox declined to comment.
Disney is planning to launch its own streaming services as a way of contending with changes in the entertainment industry and deep-pocketed tech companies that are building their own video divisions. Buying parts of Fox could give it more material to stream.
A woman making a long-planned trip with her parents and young son says Spirit Airlines kicked the family off the plane when she didn’t immediately stop breast-feeding the 2-year-old, who was restless after a long delay.
Mei Rui, a concert pianist and cancer researcher, says she asked for a few minutes to let her son fall asleep in her arms while the plane was still at the gate in Houston and other passengers were walking around.
A Spirit spokesman disputed the woman’s account on Monday. He said Rui repeatedly failed to follow flight attendants’ instructions to buckle her son into his seat after the plane’s door was closed.
The spokesman, Stephen Schuler, said that Rui told crew members they would have to drag her off the plane while she recorded them.
The incident is the latest in a growing series of confrontations between airline passengers and crews, some of which have been captured on video and posted on social media. The dragging of a United Express passenger from a plane in Chicago last April seemed to be a defining event that led to new policies on United and other carriers.
But those policy changes were mostly designed to reduce oversold flights and didn’t address situations like the one Friday at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Rui, who came to the U.S. from China at age 14 and has excelled in music and works at a prominent cancer clinic in Houston, said her family boarded Spirit Flight 712 around 5:45 a.m. for the scheduled 6:30 trip from Houston to Newark.
After sitting at the gate for more than two hours during a weather delay, everyone was ordered off the plane. Passengers then re-boarded, but Rui’s son was having trouble sleeping, so she started nursing him.
Two flight attendants told Rui her son had to be in his seat. She said she appealed to be given “a couple more minutes” so the boy would fall asleep, then she would buckle him in.
“I did not want to be that parent with the screaming kid,” Rui said in an interview.
Passengers were ordered off the plane again, by which time, Rui said, her son was back in his seat. It was too late.
While other passengers boarded for the third time, Spirit employees and several police officers blocked her family from returning to the plane, she said.
Schuler, the airline spokesman, said Spirit was forced to remove the passenger for refusing to follow crew orders to buckle in after the main door was closed. He said police were called when Rui tried to force her way back on board.
“Multiple reports from the crew and other passengers nearby confirm the doors were closed when the incident happened,” Schuler said in an email.
Rui called that “a blatant lie. We were stationary at the gate and the plane door was still open so people were walking around.” She also said police were called before her family left the plane — they saw the officers at the end of the jet bridge.
Rui said she was going to New York City for a recording with patients that is part of a cancer study. She never got there.
Schuler said as a courtesy Spirit refunded Rui’s entire trip and offered to book her on another airline, but she declined.
David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter