By: Graham Reinbold
JEFFERSON CITY, MO—Most little league umpires don’t leave the field covered in blood, but Jefferson City’s Brett Sullivan isn’t most umpires. After spending five years as one of Missouri’s most sought after officials in fourteen and under baseball, Sullivan turned his attention to the stands. The 48-year-old has found a new passion reffing the fist fights breaking out between day-drinking dads at little league games.
“Drunk parents getting into brawls is a quintessential part of youth sports, always has been, always will be,” said Sullivan, wiping dried blood off his forehead. “Reffed a good fifteen, twenty scraps by now between all types of fighters. You got your Tommy Bahama wearing dads, usually bearded with a more robust build. Your tech-savvy, start-up dads. A little more on the wirey side, but the apple watches provide great wrist support for punching. Then you got my personal favorite, the newly married step-dad. You love a good step-dad cause they got something to prove, they’re hungrier than your standard blood related parent.”
Reflecting on the lessons he’s learned working in youth athletics, Sullivan had this to say: “Something about Coors Light at 10 a.m. and watching your kid try not to concuss himself with a wood bat just gets people riled up something fierce.”
Despite his grizzled appearance, Sullivan didn’t always thirst for the fight. “Just wanted to be your everyday ump. Then one morning, Jaden Pinkus, a 12 year-old pitcher with a cannon for an arm, drills some poor bastard in the thigh. The dads start chirping at each other which leads to popcorn tossing, then drink dumping. You know it’s serious when they’re dumping out fourteen dollar concession stand drinks on each other.”
When asked about the best fight he’d ever seen, he didn’t have to think hard. “Oh, Nate Jordan’s dad taking on Matthew Druffel’s dad no question. One’s an astronomy professor at the local community college and the other’s an accountant, but that morning you’d a thought they were a couple methed up baboons in heat. It was like watching two Spartan warriors humiliate their children in public.”
“They’re having a rematch in an IHOP parking lot next week. It’ll be my first time reffing outside the bleachers, but I think I’m ready to move to the next level.” Sullivan revealed he has dreams of reffing drunken fights in bars, and music festivals one day. “Could end up on Worldstar if I play my cards right.”
At press time, Sullivan was seen loading a keg of Labatt Blue into the hatchback of his Kia Forte to “grease the wheels” a bit. “Playoffs are coming up, and parents are gonna be crazier than ever. It’s an exciting time for baseball.”