Fake umps raising money for charity

Fake umps raising money for charity

BOSTON -- While umpire Ted Barrett may have been behind third base for Saturday's Dodgers-Red Sox game, it became impossible for him to miss two men sitting directly behind home plate wearing what he was wearing.

The men, Tim Williams and Joe Farrell, dressed as fake umpires, could be seen in the first row behind home plate at Fenway signing autographs and taking pictures with fans before the game.

"When they are behind the plate we can usually see them and try and give a glance every one in a while. I get a kick out of watching their shtick," Barrett said. "They look and sound legit and try and mimic what we do."

Williams and Farrell received national attention in 2009 when they dressed up in full Major League umpire outfits, sitting in the first row behind home plate and mimicking umpires calls on the field. While both men planned to retire their act after the 2009 season, at the request of umpires and their UMPS CARE Charities, they decided to partake in a four game road trip entitled "Four Games for Bears."

From Thursday through Sunday, with their last stop Sunday in Toronto, both men will raise money for the Major League Baseball Umpires children's hospital program that brings Build-A-Bear Workshops to the bedside of children with cancer and other illnesses.

"We enjoyed it a lot last year and came back out of retirement this year for the charity angle," said Williams.

Thus far, the fake umpires have raised over $7,000 beforehand and will pledge $10 to the charity for every strikeout recorded in all four games. Williams and Farrell are also covering costs in all four cities: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston and their hometown of Toronto.

"For these guys to get out and give their own time and energy," Barrett said. "I am really touched that they would do that. This is our charity and they decided to get involved with it."

Both Williams and Farrell understand that doing this road trip only a few times a year makes it more entertaining and interesting for fans and people helping to raise money for UMPS CARE charities.

"It is a novelty act, so we know that if we were doing it 40 times a year in the same stadium that it would not be the same," Williams said. "If we had a charity angle, then we would potentially do it next year, but as of right now, you won't see us for a while past the Toronto game."

Even if the fake umpires do not dress up and raise money for charity during the 2011 season, both have enjoyed the ride they have been on the past two baseball seasons.

"We are just huge baseball fans. We get great seats, get to have fun like this, be umpires and raise money for charity," Farrell said. "What is better than that?"