ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Ask Lary Bump how he became an official scorer for the Rochester Red Wings and he’ll say he was just the next guy up when someone fell out of a tree.
You might chuckle, thinking it was a curious reference. Then, Bump will tell you that’s actually the true story.
In 1969, Bump was interning at the Democrat and Chronicle just out of college. The official scorer for the Wings, at the time, decided some tree work was necessary.
“He was sawing some branches, fell to the ground and broke his leg,” Bump explained.
Three young reporters who knew baseball were chosen to finish the season at Silver Stadium sharing the role as the official scorer. Bump was one of the three.
Fast forward a half century later and Bump is still doing the job. This week, he gets to do it at the World Series.
Major League Baseball decided that this year’s Series would be held entirely at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. A mini-version of the bubble that worked well for the NBA and NHL.
Instead of flying in official scorers from the participating teams–who normally would work the games when the Series came to their home ballpark–the Texas Rangers scorers will split up the duties.
Bump has been a part of the Rangers team since 2012, but he only works about 10 of 81 home games a year. This season, that number was up to a dozen games in a schedule one-third the normal length. Despite the extra work, Bump was originally not going to be a part of the World Series crew.
“The other two scorers went to bat for me and said, ‘Hey, Lary’s been doing this for a while. He deserves to do at least one game’,” Bump said.
So, Friday night is Bump’s night. He will be the scorer for Game Three of the World Series.
He was a fixture in the Red Wings press box for nearly four decades. Bump was in Rochester’s regular rotation of scorers from the day of the fateful tree accident in 1969 until he moved to Texas in the mid-2000’s.
International League president Randy Mobley put in a good word for Bump with teams from the Double-A Texas League when Bump moved south. He’s been working with the Frisco Roughriders almost since day one.
In 2012, the Rangers ran out of scorers and a member of the Texas staff knew Bump could do the job. It was his major league call-up.
Friday will be the first World Series game Bump has attended since 1974 and his first ever as the official scorer. He’s not worried about being able to perform under the bright lights of baseball’s championship series.
“I think it’s kind of like anything else you do,” Bump said. “If you’re kind of worried about what can go wrong, then you’re not going to do it very well, or as you well as you would if you just went in going ‘I got this’. I think that’s the approach I’m taking and I won’t really know until Friday night.”
Bump graduated from Dundee High School, but lived in Rochester more than 30 years after graduating college. He now resides about 30 miles north of Dallas in McKinney, Texas.
He made sure to tell friends from the Red Wings and Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester about the World Series gig. College buddies have sent him emails saying they think “it’s the greatest thing they ever heard”.
Bump has a vital role in shaping the history that will be made Friday in Texas. He will decide if batted balls should be ruled hits or errors. He’ll make rulings on whether runs allowed by pitchers are earned or unearned. He also could decide which pitcher is deemed the winner and which is the loser for the game.
There will be various replays at Bump’s disposal to help him make decisions along with a group of smart baseball people that can offer assistance. At the end of the day, all the decisions will be made by Bump alone.
“You have to be flexible,” Bump said. “Major League Baseball gives us a lot of resources. Somebody says they disagree, I definitely want to hear them out. If I agree more with them than my original call, I would be likely to change it.”
Bump’s work with the Series will be done after Game Three, no matter how long the Series goes. That doesn’t mean it’ll be done forever. After more than 50 years in baseball press boxes, Bump has no intention of quitting.
“I love baseball and I do believe I have something to offer,” he said. “I’ve been scoring games ever since I was a little kid. I really enjoy being at the ballpark. I enjoy being with the people, the atmosphere. I guess I could go back on Marv Levy: where else would you rather be?”
He just might want to stay away from work in any trees.