Lance Barksdale was the Madison Lions Club guest speaker on January 14, 2020.  Lance mentioned as a young boy he loved playing baseball.  He played Little League, middle and high school baseball.  However, in college, he hurt his arm and he knew any advancement after college was gone.

This temporary setback did not slow him down.  His baseball involvement turned to umpiring.  Lance said in the minor leagues you did not make more than $1,200 per month.  A small salary to support a family.

Lance finally received his big break to the Major Leagues in the early 2000’s.

Lance Barksdale

His expertise has progressed to the point that he was one of the umpiring crew for the 2019 World Series.  An incredible honor!

During his presentation, his wife showed video clips of Lance behind the plate during Major League games.  One incredible event was while he was home plate umpire.  The batter fouled off a pitch, the catcher missed the ball completely, but the ball went into Lance’s from his right jacket pocket.  Lance never felt the ball end up there.  He assumed the foul ball went to the

(l-r) Rob Hembre and Lance Barksdale

backstop screen, either picked up by the on-deck batter or ball boy.  Lance reached into the same pocket grabbed a baseball and threw it to the pitcher.  He thought this was a brand new ball!  It was the same ball that had just been pitched.  After the game was when he learned what really happened.

One scary moment for Lance was caught on video.  The pitcher and catcher miscommunicated.  The thrown pitched was missed totally by the catcher.  The pitch hit Lance in the protective mask ripping it off his head.  He quickly sat down near the batter’s box.  Other umpires and medical personnel rushed to Lance to determine the situation.  Fortunately, Lance was fine, but the episode could have ended much worse.

One funny story from Lance.  It happened on a hot and humid day.  He was behind the plate, calling balls and strikes.  About the seventh or eighth inning he decided to go to the player’s locker room to use the bathroom.  All went well unit he grabbed the door handle out of the bathroom and it came off in his hand!  After several poundings on the door and yelling,

(l-r) Lance Barksdale and Ronnie Walters

a trainer heard Lance and let him out.  The manager in the dugout wondered why he was in the restroom so long.  The pitcher, catcher, batter, and fans were ready to begin play but had to wait for Lance’s rescue to continue play.