Alumni as Base Ball Umpires.
Let us take up the objections to this paln in order. It will be urged that alumni would be rusty in the old, and ignorant of the new rules. But the men chosen would be those who take an interest in such matters, and who would make it their business to keep posted. The changes in rules from year to year, are not so numerous but that a recent graduate could readily pick them up.
Further, it will be urged that college men in the position of umpires would either be so prejudiced as to show favoritism to their own team, or else so zealous to guard against such favoritism as to give all doubtful decisions to the opposite side. This objection ignores the fact that in the proposed plan the umpires are alumni. The majority of undergraduates would be biassed in their decisions. But a man who has been out of college for a year or more is too far removed from the scene of college activities to be warped by prejudice or enthusiasm. Moreover, no college would elect a man as umpire whom, after a trial of four years within its walls, it had found to be liable to the least suspicion of partiality or worse motives in judging. For the honor of the college would be at stake to choose a representative who would not jeopardize its reputation. Again, compare the alumnus with the professional umpire. Is it reasonable to suppose that there is less honesty and impartiality in a leading college man who is thoroughly known and has borne an honorable name in the college world, than in a professional umpire, who is employed simply on recommendation, who looks upon his task of umpiring purely as a means of money-getting, and who is often the cast-off of the league corps of umpires for offences discountenanced even in professional circles? College games are rarely umpired by men in good and regular standing.
This plan has the advantages that the colleges could safely alter their rules in such a way as to give the alumni discretionary power to enforce the rules and order on the field, in cases where they could not give a like power to such professional umpires as are usually employed. We think by its adoption that not only could the sole objectionable feature in college contact with professionals be removed, but also more cordial relations would be promoted among the colleges. For the colleges would be relying upon each other's honor."