The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) could not have chosen a better person for induction into its National Hall of Fame than our own John Dye. John, who now serves as the Maryland State USSSA Fast Pitch Umpire in Chief and is also the Chairman of the USSSA Fast Pitch National Umpire Committee, will be inducted at the National Convention to be held this November at the Omni Orlando resort in Osceola County, Florida.
John Dye is not only one of the great umpires, but he is also one of the great people in sports. He was recognized here in 2009 when he was inducted into the Community Sports Hall of Fame. In 1992 he was honored with a membership in the "National Indicator Fraternity," a national certification recognition of the Amateur Softball Association.
For those unfamiliar with the USSSA, it is the world's largest multi-sport athletic organization and was founded in 1968. It now has more than 3.7 million participants competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports, including slow pitch softball, baseball and fast pitch softball.
John is more than a nationally recognized umpire. He is a teacher, a mentor and a friend to all those who sought his counsel. I know few better than John Dye.
Swimmers need pools
The Columbia Association has a number of pools, but the requests for more space by lap swimmers, Masters swimmers and competitive swim teams is overwhelming. To put it mildly, there simply isn't enough pool space to accommodate everybody. So CA is looking at a number of plans to help alleviate the problem, including putting a structure over an existing outdoor pool so that it could be used year-round. Swimming is a great way to stay healthy and you can swim your entire life, so it's understandable that the list for those needing more pool space just keeps getting longer and longer.
McFadden flying high
Clarksville's Tatyana McFadden is on another tear, winning the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13.
She is now more than halfway to the second grand slam of her career. In an interview with a Chicago television reporter following the Chicago race, Tatyana claimed that she was nervous because her competitors were just 10 seconds behind halfway through the race. But she picked up the pace and won in typical McFadden style.
The race in Chicago probably held more significance for her because the 25-year-old McFadden was a recent graduate of the University of Illinois and she was one of three fellow Illini to finish in the top 10. "I feel on top of the world," the Atholton High School graduate stated. And why not? The sky is the limit for her with a second grand slam a real possibility. Next up is New York on Nov. 2.
Birds fall back to earth
I sat in stunned silence watching the Baltimore Orioles play like robots in the American League Championship Series. They just appeared to be overwhelmed by the Kansas City Royals in every phase of the game. Still, who expected the team to get this far in the first place? Most writers either picked Boston or Toronto to win the division and the Orioles to finish near the bottom. They lost Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis and still won the division, and beat the Tigers in the first round of the playoffs only to wilt against the Royals.
We really don't have a great deal to complain about. They won 96 games during the regular season and gave Baltimore hope, and that is exactly what Orioles fans needed.
Judging from the reception that manager Buck Showalter got prior to the Ravens-Falcons game on Sunday, I would say that Orioles fans appreciate what they saw this year. Besides, there's always next year.
Correction: The Oct. 16 Bits & Pieces column incorrectly identified NPR newscaster Korva Coleman.