COOPERSTOWN, NY – His grandfather was an umpire’s worst headache. When a close call went against his team he would get in the umps face, before kicking dirt on their pants. That was four decades ago. It is now time for the family to make amends.
Billy Reed Martin III was recently in New York to attend the MLB Umpire Camp which was held inside of Maimonides Park, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. He wasn’t there to apologize to the umpire hopefuls for his grandfather’s bad boy antics, Billy Reed was there to hopefully join their team.
The grandson of the Yankees five-time manager has a burning desire to don the blue and shout the words, “Out!” or “Safe!” As a former utility baseball player for Fellowship Academy High School in Kennedale, Texas, the 23-year old Martin misses the game and this is his way back.
He attended Texas A&M as an engineering major, but baseball is his burning passion. Billy Reed’s desire is to join the new breed of umpires and make the game better, and to make sure he stays invisible. When I asked how he would handle a manager who winds up imitating his grandfather kicking dirt he responds, “I’ll be the first empire to kick dirt back at him.”
Major League Baseball needs to position Billy Reed Martin III on the diamond for his family roots alone. As the game puts America to sleep on a nightly basis with its ANALytical style, having a Martin wearing blue is like having John Dillinger’s kin working as a bank teller.
When the four hour camp was over, Billy Reed took a walk over to Nathan’s Famous where he gulped their famed hotdog. He was introduced to a couple of guys wearing Yankees caps and got a taste of royalty. He feels the love from the fans whenever he’s in New York, and listens to their stories about his grandfather. He loved the MLB Network documentary, “Billy” and appreciates what his grandfather meant to the blue collar fans.
Outside of Maimonider Park he came across the statue of Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson. A smile came across Billy Reed’s face as he recited the stories he heard about the friendship his grandfather developed with both of the Brooklyn Dodgers players. The 9/11 memorial was another eye-opener for him as he silently prayed.
Somewhere up above George Steinbrenner’s favorite manager is looking down and nodding his head, while smiling at the thought of future home plate umpire, Billy Reed Martin III.