Major League Baseball umpires have one of the toughest jobs in the sport. They never have a home game, and no fans come to the stadium to cheer them on. Maybe that should change, thanks an umpire like John Tumpane.
Tumpane was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays. He spotted a woman climbing over the railing on the Roberto Clemente Bridge near PNC Park.
He went over to the woman to ask what was going on, and soon realized he was speaking with a potential jumper. Stephen Nesbitt and Steph Chambers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more:
Tumpane mouthed to a passerby, “Call 911.” As they spoke, he said, the woman became more emotional. She cried and tried to slip from his grip. He locked both arms around her back. At times, she dangled both feet off the bridge’s edge, putting her full weight in his arms.
“I was thinking, ‘God, this has got to be a good ending, not a bad ending,’ and held on for dear life,” Tumpane said. “She said, ‘You don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘I care.’ She said, ‘I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.’ I said, ‘You’re going to be all right.’ ”
Eventually, authorities arrived on the scene and the woman was taken away in an ambulance, but not before Tumpane tried to comfort her some more.
After umpiring major league games off and on since 2010, Tumpane became a full-time major league umpire in July 2016.
It’s not often you hear an umpire’s name in the news, and it is usually for something negative, at least in the eyes of one of the two teams involved in the game. Just two days ago, Tumpane was singled out in the Kansas City Star for getting 28 pitches wrong while working behind the plate for a Kansas City Royals game.
So seeing an umpire in the news for something positive like Tumpane’s heroism on Wednesday, is heartwarming to say the least. He even offered more perspective, per Nesbitt and Chambers:
“You never know what somebody’s day looks like,” he said. “It’s a nice day, everyone’s out for a walk, and somebody’s not having the same day you’re having. I was just glad to help.”