Mike Petterson is back in Carson City after being one of 13 umpires selected for the 2013 Big League World Series in Easley, S.C.
“I had a great time,” said Petterson, who was accompanied by his wife, Mary, to the event. “We (the umpires) stayed in the dorms at Southern Wesleyan College. The teams also stayed in the dorms, but on a different part of the campus.”
Petterson worked nine games in the week-long event, including getting assigned to second base in the semifinals and third base in the championship game. The latter game was televised by ESPN, and Petterson was part of history in the championship game.
Tena Bartlett became the first female to umpire a championship game in Little League history (Little League, Junior, Senior or Big League). South Carolina defeated Venezuela in the finals, 6-1.
“I give her two thumbs up,” Petterson said. “She had no problems and she had a good strike zone. She had troubles with the District 7 coach (South Carolina) earlier in the tournament, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. She did a good job.
“It was a great game until the sixth. A South Carolina player bunted, and the catcher, pitcher and third baseman from Venezuela charged and collided with each other. The pitcher hurt his chest and couldn’t continue. They brought in a pitcher and he faced only two batters. Then they brought in another guy.”
Petterson had two plate assignments, and like any umpire, he was hoping for a couple more. He said he two of the fastest games in the tournament, 1-hour 35 minutes and 1-hour 45 minutes.
“I have no idea how they decided things,” Petterson said. “None of us went to T.R. (Sloan, umpire in chief) and asked. I know my colleague from the West (Brad Pollard) never got assigned first base.
“I got the Chinese Taipei-Canada game behind the plate and the Southeast-East game. Getting to work Chinese Taipei was a dream come true. They have done so well (at all levels). I know how good they are. I was so happy to get that game.”
Petterson, whose paperwork was originally turned in for a possible assignment for the Little League World Series, said his colleagues were surprised to find out that Carson City had only started leagues for older players in the past two years.
Petterson has plenty of big field experience from his days working games for Carson City Babe Ruth and area high school games.
The only negative, if you can call it that, was that there was no evaluation process after games or at the end of the tournament. That surprised Petterson.
Petterson and his wife visited the campuses of Clemson and Furman universities, and he took time to go to Greenville to visit the home of Shoeless Joe Jackson.
“I think it was the home he died in,” Petterson said. “It was very interesting. They turned it into a museum. The person that took us through said that to this day they don’t know if he was involved in the (infamous Black Sox) scandal.”
Petterson said across the street from the museum was the stadium of the Greenville Drive, a Single-A team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. The team was out of town, however, while the tournament was going on.
Petterson did get a chance to see a game, however. When he and Mary drove back to Atlanta to catch their flight back to Reno, they went to an Atlanta Braves-Colorado Rockies game.
“We sat in the cheap seats,” said Petterson, who has been in nine MLB parks. “We were able to cross another park off our list.”
Petterson is still holding out hope that he may get a gig in Williamsport for the Little League World Series.
“I still have a chance,” Petterson said. “T.R. told us that we have to wait three years before we can be considered for another World Series.”