MANCHESTER, NH – There are few things more American than baseball, and this week, the city of Manchester served as a backdrop for one man sharing his love of the American pastime across America itself.
Alan McCullough is on a mission to umpire at least one Little League game in every state, and he reached 47 states in total thanks to a game in Manchester on Tuesday night.
McCullough reached out to Manchester Little League president Timothy Pike in the fall about umpiring a game in the Queen City. Persuaded by the enthusiasm of Manchester’s Little League officials, McCullough also found utility in the city’s proximity to Massachusetts, making it easier to also umpire a game in the Bay State, which he did on Sunday.
For McCullough, Little League baseball provides an important way for children to interact with positive adult role models and learn life lessons, but it also provides them a way to engage in safe and productive fun, something he saw in abundance on Tuesday night.
“There was one point during a pitching change where a baserunner was joking around the with the fielders, they were all friends,” he said. “At points like that I think it’s important to remember that sometimes we as adults have to step back and just let the kids have fun. That’s what I saw out there, the kids had a lot of fun.”
A resident of Sacramento, CA, McCullough has umpired in several regional Little League tournaments but has not yet umpired at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. While he’s certainly qualified to do so, his main goal is give back to the community.
McCullough also frequently encourages others to give back as well through the act of umpiring Little League games, something that allows baseball fans to not only give back through volunteering, but also hone their skills if they’re potentially interested in umpiring at higher levels of play, with Little League working with a networking of Major League umpires to help prospective umpires develop.
“It’s the best seat in the house,” he said. “Little League is free training.”
On Wednesday night, McCullough umpired a Little League contest in Bangor, Maine. Following that game and his recent games in Massachusetts and Manchester, he now only has Pennsylvania and Tennessee left among states where he has not yet umpired.