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Baseball umpires

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36:46

Covering The Plate: A Baseball Catcher Tells All

Brad Ausmus has been called one of the best catchers in baseball. He spent 18 seasons in the big leagues, playing for teams like the Dodgers and the Padres. He details what it's like to couch behind home plate, deal with umps and make pitching calls.

19:46

A Writer Enters The 'Land of Umpires.'

To understand what it takes to be a professional umpire, journalist Bruce Weber became one himself. His adventures with fans, players and other umps are described in his book, As They See 'Em.

This interview originally aired April 9, 2009.

37:07

Bruce Weber: How To 'See 'Em' Like A Pro

In his new book As They See 'Em, the journalist provides an insider's perspective on the dedicated umpires who face angry fans, disgruntled coaches and poor pay for the game they love.

14:47

Former Major League Umpire Ken Kaiser

Ken Kaiser's new book, co-written with David Fisher, is called Planet of the Umps: A Baseball Life from Behind the Plate. A 1986 Sporting News poll called Kaiser the most colorful umpire in the American League. He left the major leagues in 2001, after calling balls, strikes and outs for more than 3,000 games.

39:59

Luciano Hits a Home Run.

Former Major League Baseball Umpire Ron Luciano was known for his flamboyant style. His book "The Umpire Strikes Back," was a hot, and Luciano has written a follow-up "Strike Two." He shares humorous stories about his career in MLB and discusses some of the colorful characters working in the sport today.

54:27

An "Umpire Strikes Back"

Ron Luciano worked as a baseball umpire before joining NBC as a sportscaster. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the ins and outs of the game, what makes a great player, and his switch to television broadcasting.

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