Pat Borzi, NY Times
ST. PAUL — The left-handed batter tried to check his swing in the first inning. In a reflex honed through thousands of innings behind the plate, Dwight Childs, a catcher for the St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association, pointed up the third-base line, appealing for a swinging strike call.
But there was no umpire there — or at second, or at first or even behind the plate at Midway Stadium. The game’s final arbiter, a man in a flowing black robe that flapped in the breeze, stood with his arms folded behind the mound. He pumped a fist, signaling a strike.