July 16, 2018 07:26 AM
Former Major League Baseball umpire Tim Tschida spent 27 years calling balls and strikes behind the plate and making calls in the field before retiring after the 2012 season. Now he's come out of retirement, and traded in 'Play Ball' for 'What'll you have?' He's a part-time bartender at Mancini's Char House in St. Paul.
"I bartended all through college," Tschida said. "All through my minor league career I'd come home and bartend all places around St. Paul."
The Cretin-Derham High School graduate spent two years at the University of St. Thomas before leaving to go to umpire school in 1981.
It turned out to be a good career move. Tschida umpired thousands of Major League games, including two All-Star games, three World Series, and two no-hitters as a home plate umpire, including Nolan Ryan's 7th and final no-hit game.
"What most people don't know about Nolan Ryan," Tschida said during a recent interview at the Mancini's bar, "Everybody raved about his fastball, but his curveball was devastating and it was 95 miles per hour."
That's just one of many baseball stories you might be treated to when Tschida serves you a cold drink.
He'll also tell you he really doesn't miss the bright lights of 'The Show,' as Major League Baseball is often known as.
"I miss the guys, I miss the umpires, I miss the camaraderie...and the locker room banter and all that sort of thing and I miss the action on the field to a certain degree. Yet overall, I don't miss the traveling one bit," Tschida said.
Tschida was the youngest umpire in baseball when he was first called up in 1986 at age 25. He remained the youngest umpire for the next 13 seasons.
After five years in retirement, Tschida's friend Pat Mancini talked him into taking a part-time bartending job when he had trouble finding a replacement for a daytime bartender who quit. The next thing you know, Tschida was back in the bartending 'show.'
"Gets me out of the house and still leaves me enough time to play golf during the week," Tschida said. "I get down here you know and chit-chat with the boys and have some fun. It's been a great gig. I love every minute of it."
The "boys" are a group of regulars who stop in many afternoons for a beer and some baseball stories.
"What you didn't know about baseball, he tells you," said Mancini's customer Mike Dwyer, wearing a Minnesota Twins t-shirt. "So there's always questions coming up and he'll always answer it."
One game Tschida gets asked about a lot is the 1987 'Emory Board" game when he had to eject Minnesota Twins Pitcher Joe Niekro. Tschida was just 27 years old and the youngest umpire in the league when he had to approach the 42-year old pitcher and ask to inspect his glove and his hands.
Tschida and the other umpires in the game had already collected a dozen baseballs that were badly scuffed up and allowed Niekro to get more movement on his pitches.
"We didn't really want to eject him," Tschida said. "We didn't want to embarrass him. We didn't want to do anything like that. I was hoping to get by with just an inspection and then say alright, clean it up from here on out."
But when umpires saw Niekro reach into his back pockets and try to toss away evidence, including sandpaper and an emory board, they had to toss him out. Niekro later served a 10-game suspension.
Tschida is more than happy to share any of those stories in his latest job that he loves. Between bartending and umpiring, he says he's never actually had a job because he has loved doing both.
"I worked in a lot of loud places for a lot of years, but I still to this day, including this job, I've never worked a day in my life," he said.
Updated: July 16, 2018 07:26 AM
Created: July 13, 2018 07:21 PM
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