'Batman' gets his long-awaited signal

Long-time District 62 umpire Lee Batterman is one of 16 umpires who will work the Little League World Series.

August 17, 2011|By Mike Sciacca,
  • Lee Batterman
Lee Batterman

The thrill of advancing to play at the Little League World Series isn't solely reserved for an All-Star team.

Just ask Lee "Batman" Batterman, who had his reservation for Williamsport, Pa., verified at the start of the year, well before the Ocean View Majors All-Star team earned its spot Saturday.

Batterman will take the field this week as a tournament umpire. The Fountain Valley resident, 67, is one of just 16 umpires selected to work the World Series. Ten U.S. and six international umpires make up the 2011 crew working Williamsport.

"Like every umpire who sets the World Series as a goal, you wait and wait and wait to one day get that letter that tells you that you've been selected," he said. "I was thrilled when I found out."

Batterman said he came home one day in January to find his wife, Lauri, in the driveway, waving an envelope that contained the good news.


His wife's demeanor, he said, tipped him off.

"She was waving that envelope around with a big smile on her face," he recalled. "I think she was more thrilled than I was. We were both very happy. But it took me about four or five times to read that letter to have it really sink in."

Like Ocean View Little League — which has played in three Western Regional finals in 12 years but got its first championship Saturday in San Bernardino — Batterman has paid his dues to get to the World Series.

Batterman has been in the umpire business for many years — "I'm taking credit for 28 or 29 years," he said. For 23 of those years, he has been working games in District 62, which is home to Little League teams at Ocean View, Huntington Valley, Robinwood, Seaview, Costa Mesa American, Costa Mesa National, Westminster and Challenger League. For several of those years, he said his "standard" working partner in games was Gary Pitcher.

"We used to joked around about it, 'Pitcher and Batterman,' when we were introduced at home plate before games," he said.

Batterman credits his taking part at the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in 1998 for advancing his game. Evans, a 28-year umpire veteran in major league baseball's American League, runs one of two qualifying schools for umpires wishing to work in the professional ranks.

"I didn't attend Jim's academy with the intent of becoming a professional," Batterman said. "Rather, I went there to increase my skill level and knowledge, as well as add to my resume. That academy literally changed me and I give credit to Jim and his staff."

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